Michael Gove brings back 12 times tables in new curriculum

 

Children will be taught fractions from the age of five and will once again have to learn the 12 times tables under a controversial new national curriculum to be announced today by the Education Secretary Michael Gove.

The emphasis on a more traditional academic curriculum has already provoked critics to warn that it will damage children’s education.

At present, pupils have to learn times tables up to 10 by the age of 11, but Mr Gove wants them to learn multiplication sums up to 12 by heart by the age of nine.

In English, he is expected to press for pupils to have to study a pre-20th century novel from the likes of Dickens, Austen or Thackeray, after research showed most pupils were shunning the great authors of the past.

In history, Mr Gove will stick to his guns, insisting that pupils learn their UK history chronologically – rather than focus on topics such as the Nazis or the Tudors, the most popular option in recent years. The curriculum will concentrate on key characters from history such as Queen Elizabeth I, Oliver Cromwell,  Queen Victoria and Winston Churchill.

However, in a concession to his critics, he will insist that – while the emphasis will be on British history – every pupil will have to study events in world history, too. History teachers criticised both Mr Gove and Prime Minister David Cameron’s original “gung ho” attitude that they should be teaching about British history “in all its glory”.

Mr Gove came under fire again last night. Professor Terry Wrigley of Leeds Metropolitan University, one of the organisers of a letter to The Independent signed by 100 academics opposing the plans, said: “My own feeling is that Mr Gove is simply not listening to anyone.

“To think you rely on memorisation is simply a delusion,” he said. “It strikes me the way that Gove’s mind works is he thinks you raise standards by getting nine-year-olds to remember their 12 times tables and five-year-olds to do fractions. It is not the direction other high-performing countries have taken.”

Kevin Courtney, the deputy general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, added that the proposals “are being rushed through with little thought given to the practicalities of implementation – never mind the content”. They were confronting schools with “an unprecedented amount of change”, coming as they did on top of GCSE and A-level reforms.

Stephen Twigg, Labour’s education spokesman, said they represented Mr Gove’s third attempt to rewrite the curriculum. “He should listen to the experts and not try to write it himself based on his personal prejudices,” he said.

The Department for Education said last night it would concentrate on “getting basics right”. Mr Gove added: “This curriculum is a foundation for learning the vital advanced skills that universities and businesses desperately need – skills such as essay writing, problem-solving, mathematical knowledge and computer programming.” He said it would aim to halt what he called England’s “disastrous” slide down international league tables from 24th to 28th in maths, 17th to 25th in reading and 14th to 16th in science between 2006 and 2009.

Computer programming and electronics will be given more emphasis, while evolution will be taught to primary school pupils for the first time.

Mr Cameron said: “This curriculum marks a new chapter in British education... This is a curriculum to inspire a generation – and it will educate the great British engineers, scientists, writers and thinkers of the future.”

The new curriculum will be taught in schools from September 2014.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
news
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
tvChristmas special reviewed
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Sport
sport
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Recruitment Genius: MIS Officer - Further Education Sector

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Operating throughout London and...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: Project Manager

£35000 per annum + Pension+Bupa: The Jenrick Group: We are recruiting for an e...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K - £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been we...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all