Meaning of NATIONAL CURRICULUM in English

Frequently written National Curriculum (People and Society) In the UK, a programme of study provided for in the Education Reform Act of 1988, to be followed by all pupils in the maintained schools of England and Wales, and comprising core and foundation subjects to which appropriate attainment targets and assessment arrangements are to be applied at specified ages. Etymology: Self-explanatory: a curriculum to be followed on a national basis (though in fact the schools of Scotland are not statutorily included, since education is separately administered there). History and Usage: As originally proposed, the national curriculum was intended to provide higher and more uniform standards of education across the various schools and parts of the country at a time when there was serious public concern over the content and standards of British education. National Curriculum Councils were set up for England and Wales to co-ordinate proposals for the content of the curriculum, standards, etc., but the Act gave final responsibility for specifying the attainment targets and programmes of study to the Secretary of State for Education and Science. The early proposals were quite ambitious in their scope and were based on the premise that all pupils should study certain subjects (the 'core' subjects) up to a certain age, their level of attainment in those subjects being assessed by organized testing at the 'key stages' of ages 7, 11, 14, and 16--the testing was to be based on standard assessment tasks, or SATs. As these proposals were implemented from 1990 onwards, it became clear that the original scope had been over-ambitious, and the number of subjects in which testing was to take place was reduced accordingly. This autumn, 25 Hampshire schools and colleges will be taking part in trials using CA material for teaching of maths and science under the new National Curriculum. Which? Sept. 1989, p. 413 The Department of Education and Science said: 'An increased workload in the short term will bring long-term benefits for teachers and pupils as the national curriculum brings a clearer framework for teaching. The Government is pacing its vital reforms and deferring appraisal to meet concerns about teachers' workload.' Financial Times 3 Apr. 1990, p. 12

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