Cameron: focus on core school subjects

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A return to the days when history and foreign languages were compulsory for all children up until the age of 16 could be on the cards if the Conservatives win the next election.

The Tory leader David Cameron said his policy review group on education was studying the idea in the light of new figures showing GCSE performance in core academic subjects, including English, maths, science and a language, had fallen in the past decade.

Much of the decline was due to a slump in the take-up of languages following the Government's decision to make the subject voluntary for 14 to 16-year-olds three years ago, according to the Conservative education spokesman David Willetts. Mr Cameron said he wanted changes to the curriculum "to ensure a proper focus on the core subjects of English, maths, history and modern languages". He said this was "the birthright of every child".