Curriculum in primary schools 'should be cut': Outgoing council chairman says testing and courses need fundamental review - UK - News - The Independent

Curriculum in primary schools 'should be cut': Outgoing council chairman says testing and courses need fundamental review

THE GOVERNMENT'S chief curriculum adviser yesterday urged his successor to reduce the national curriculum to 70 per cent of teaching time in primary schools.

David Pascall, who has only two weeks left as chairman of the National Curriculum Council (NCC), said that both the curriculum and testing need to be reviewed fundamentally by the Schools Curriculum and Assessment Authority (SCAA).

The curriculum and testing are administered by two authorities - the NCC and the Schools Examination and Assessment Authority. Sir Ron Dearing, former chairman of the Post Office, is taking them over on 19 April and will run them in parallel until SCAA starts up in the autumn.

Mr Pascall had expected to run the new authority and has, therefore, limited some of his strongest views about the development of the curriculum to private advice for ministers.

But, having been passed over for the job, he yesterday used a primary education debate at Oxford Brookes University to 'go public' on his belief that testing and the curriculum must be better linked.

His speech heralds an intense public debate over Easter on the future of testing and the curriculum. The three biggest teaching unions will all be debating boycotts of tests at their annual conferences, while the curriculum council publishes its revised English proposals, and new guidance on moral and spiritual education. John Patten, Secretary of State for Education, will be outlining his own plans at next week's Association of Teachers and Lecturers annual conference.

Teacher union plans to boycott this summer's tests were 'unprofessional and irresponsible', Mr Pascall said. 'I would urge the new authority to stand back and look again at the balance between curriculum and assessment, to look again at the structure of the national curriculum and what the tests are telling us, and to look again at the balance between external tests and teacher assessment.'

Few disagree with the principle of a national curriculum, he said. Doubts centred more on the pace of change, and on 'the collective weight' of material which the law requires in each subject. Most primary teachers say that the legal requirements of the national curriculum take up all the teaching time available.

The council had provided support and advice to teachers 'but the fact remains that the national curriculum at primary level is overloaded and that quality and depth of teaching is being sacrificed in order to achieve the necessary curriculum coverage'.

He rejected the idea of reducing the number of compulsory subjects, because it risked a return to 'an excessively narrow curriculum'. He advocated 'significant reductions' in the content of each subject, so that it occupied roughly 70 per cent of teaching time. The spare teaching time could be used to develop spiritual and moral education, and to introduce other options.

Pupils at Archway comprehensive school in Stroud, Gloucestershire, are boycotting compulsory Standard Assessment Tests for 14-year-olds after 88 per cent of parents voted not to allow their children to sit them.

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
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 General

Energy Markets Analyst

£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...

Junior Web Analyst – West Sussex – Up to £35k DOE

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Nursery Manager

£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...

Web Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k - London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week