From Austen to e-mails: everything your child needs to learn at school

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The Independent Online
COMPULSORY LESSONS in citizenship, the 20th-century authors J G Ballard and David Hare, and the scientists John Logie Baird and Marie Curie take their places for the first time in the new national curriculum published yesterday.

The curriculum aims to strike a balance between preparing pupils to cope with life in modern Britain and ensuring that they are taught about their heritage.

English will continue to feature Jane Austen and Dickens, and history will retain Boudicca and Nelson, but a new subject, citizenship, will be compulsory in secondary schools and recommended for primary children.

From the autumn, a new website and a series of leaflets will give details of the curriculum and advice on books to read, exhibitions to see and museums to visit so that parents can help their children.

David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Education, said yesterday that citizenship lessons would teach children to have more pride in their own culture while respecting that of others. "Americans reinforce their identity in ways we never have. We have tended to down-play our culture and we need to reinforce our pride in what we have," he said.

Mr Blunkett emphasised that he did not intend to promote a "little England" view of the world. Children would "welcome other people's cultures because they have strength and confidence in their own".

Secondary school pupils will learn not only about proportional representation and how Parliament works but also how to resolve moral dilemmas and take part in community service.

For primary schools, citizenship lessons will be part of existing courses in personal, social and health education. From the age of five, children will learn the differences between right and wrong. The changes will reduce the details prescribed in the curriculum by around a third.

Mr Blunkett wants primary schools to concentrate on literacy and numeracy, which are at the heart of the Government's campaign to raise standards. Teachers will have more freedom to decide what they teach in subjects such as history and geography. Ministers also want to make it easier for secondary schools to release disaffected pupils from compulsory subjects from the age of 14 so that they can pursue more work-related studies or spend time in the workplace.

About 500 schools have already applied for some 10 per cent of their pupils to pursue vocational alternatives.

Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said the curriculum was still too overloaded. "If the Government wants to add to it, it must stipulate other subjects to be dropped," he said.

Mr Blunkett retorted that when teachers' leaders read the proposals, which will be the subject of consultation, they would "eat their words".

Leading article,

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Malcolm Bradbury,

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AGE 5-7

Read and write, listen and speak. Use words to explore imaginary worlds.

AGE 7-11

Different uses for writing and speaking. Read and write fiction and non-fiction.

AGE 11-14

Formal writing and public speaking. Study Shakespeare play, and other classic literature.

AGE 14-16

Study another Shakespeare play; writers from Christopher Marlowe to Stevie Smith and David Hare.


Count, read and write numbers up to 100. Learn to add and subtract.

Multiply, divide and learn times tables. Start on fractions and decimals

Percentages, ratios, algebra, graphs, working with data and probability.

Powers, roots and standard numbers. solve equations and understand proofs.


Ask questions, find answers about animals, plants, electricity, light and sound.

Gather evidence to test ideas: Try melting, boiling, dissolving and evaporating.

Experiments: Reproduction and photosynthesis to a home-made Thermos flask.

Inheritance to cloning, atoms to reactions; and X-rays to the universe.


How everyday objects work. Mark, cut and make things from cloth or food.

Test things to make them better. Use computer to control a robot or lights on a model.

Use wood, metal, plastics and composites, computer-aided design and manufacture products.

Enterprise and industry, production lines and product development. Design, manufacturing and marketing.


Use a computer purposefully and with confidence. Start to do work on screen with text, tables images and sound.

Operate E-mail, web publishing, video-conference, spreadsheets.

E-commerce to computer modelling: The legal, political, economic and moral impact of 21st Century technology.


Local history through real people, story-telling, buildings, photographs and events

From the Romans to the Tudors, Brunel and the Blitz, ancient Egypt, Assyria or the Aztecs.

Domesday Book, Normans, Churchill, the Holocaust or the Cold War.

Not compulsory. Children can choose a GCSE including in-depth topics like the poor law, chartism, race relations in the USA and the Cold War.


Local landscapes, jobs and weather. North, south east and west, globes, maps and plans.

One home area, one abroad: commuter town development, hedges, drought.

Maps, volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, climate and landslides.

Not compulsory: Children can choose a GCSE including topics like people and urban change, the physical environment and leisure and tourism.


Practical painting, prints and sculptures, craft, design and digital media.

Sketching, sculpture or wallhanging. Learn about artists.

Medieval, Renaissance, and more modern art.

Not compulsory. Children can choose a GCSE, which includes advancedartwork using textiles, photography, printing or a range or other techniques.


Songs, chants and rhymes. Learn to play an instrument and perform a concert

Choral singing in unison and in parts. Tempo, timbre, texture.

British music from classical, folk, and jazz to styles of pop.

Not compulsory. Children can choose a GCSE including composition, study of composers, history of music and performing on one or more instrument


Competitive mini-games, gymnastics and dance. Swimming optional.

Swim 25 metres. Competitive games and athletics; running jumping and throwing. Have a personal best.

Competitive games, strategy and tactics dance or gym, athletics or outdoor adventure. Swimming, strokes and water safety

Advanced sport skills. A non-competitive, dance, games gym or swimming option for those "turned off" sport.


Optional, but new Government guidelines due out.

At least one European language. Use a dictionary, learn vocabulary. Visit the country, have a pen pal abroad.

Optional, but new Government guidelines due out.

E-mail, read foreign newspapers and watch TV. How to start a



Right and wrong Hold class discussions. Saving the environment.Right and wrong Hold class discussions. Saving the environment.Legal and human rights and responsibilities. Government, elections, race and the World community.Parliament, courts, consumer rights,free Press, Europe and UK's ethnic groups.PERSONAL, SOCIAL AND HEALTH

Safety, play and work with others. Showing respect. Exercise, diet. Risks of tobacco and drink. Racism and bullying.Managing money. Drugs and risks. Sex education, relationships and HIV. First aid. Role of parents.Alcohol, sex, drug abuse. Parenting. How to settle arguments.