Prime Minister praises 'rigorous, engaging and tough' national curriculum, following Michael Gove's education overhaul

But teachers are warning that the government could be creating chaos in classrooms next year

Prime Minister David Cameron has hailed Michael Gove's curriculum reforms as “rigorous, engaging and tough” and critical to Britain's future economic success.

Mr Cameron described the changes proposed by the Education Secretary as a “revolution in education”.

But school leaders warned the timeframe and lack of resources to prepare for the significant shake-up, at the same time as exams and assessment are being overhauled could create classroom “chaos”.

History as well as design and technology (D&T) are undergoing the biggest rewrites after experts and education leaders raised concerns about the draft syllabuses of these subjects.

Pupils will be asked to learn a complete chronological history of Britain, though primary pupils are expected only to have to learn about events up to 1066.

Changes to the D&T syllabus follow claims it focused more on “life skills” like cookery, bike maintenance and gardening than science-based subjects like engineering which are required by industry.

It has been reported that climate change is now set to feature explicitly in the geography curriculum, after a campaign raising concerns that it was not specifically referenced in the syllabus garnered widespread support.

Hailing the changes, Mr Cameron said: “We are determined to give all children in this country the very best education for their future and for our country's future.

“New national curriculum is a vital part of that.

“The curriculum marks a new chapter in British education. From advanced fractions to computer coding to some of the greatest works of literature in the English language, this is a curriculum that is rigorous engaging and tough.

“As a parent this is exactly the kind of thing I want my children to be learning and as Prime Minister I know this revolution in education is critical for British prosperity in the decades to come.

“This is a curriculum to inspire a generation-and it will educate the great British engineers, scientists, writers and thinkers of the future.”

Brian Lightman, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said he understood that ministers had listened to points raised by the union and others about these subjects, but warned that the curriculum reform involved huge changes within a very short amount of time. 

“Our biggest concern is with the timeframe and the lack of resources to prepare for such a major change,” he said.

“Pupils and teachers in 2014 are going to have to cope with new GCSEs, new A-levels, new vocational qualifications, new ways of tracking pupil progress once levels are abolished, on top of new curriculum content in all subjects. This is a massive change."

Dr Mary Bousted, General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers said there was a “complete disconnect” in Mr Gove's thinking, risking leaving education providers confused as to what they need to be planning for.

“He fails to understand that curriculum changes and exams need to be considered together as they are interlinked. Yet we still have no details of how the primary curriculum will be assessed and the Government is carrying out separate consultations on how young people should be assessed at ages 16 and 18," she said.

Mr Cameron was also a guest on ITV1’s This Morning programme, where he argued that such reforms this dramatic are necessary because British pupils are in “a global race” with other children across the world.

During the interview, he said: “We are in a global race. Our children are competing against children in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore, and we need to make sure our national curriculum - the standards we set - are as rigorous, as tough, as those on the other side of the world.”

The Prime Minister said the previous curriculum had been “a bit woolly”.

“The criticism people are making of this new curriculum is 'You are asking too much, can you really get young children to do algorithms?' I think we have to make that change. If that's what they are doing in China and India and some of the countries with the best educational standards in the world, we have got to do that here."

The new subject structure for primary and secondary schools in England is due to be implemented in September 2014.

Voices
voicesThe Ukip leader on why he's done nothing illegal
Arts & Entertainment
artYouth club owner says mural is 'gift from the sky' so he can prevent closure of venue
Life & Style
Democreativity, a project set up by the Swedish government, is aimed at producing the 'most unlikely video game ever' as a way of promoting democracy to the world
tech
Arts & Entertainment
tvCreator Vince Gilligan sheds light on alternate endings
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
people
Life & Style
The new low cost smartphone of Motorola, 'Motorola Moto G', is displayed in Sao Paulo, Brazil on November 13, 2013. The smartphone, with dimensions 65.9mm W x 129.9mm H x 6.0 - 11.6mm D is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 with quad-core 1,2 GHz CPU, a 4.5-inch display and Android Operating System 4.3 and a suggested price of $ 179 USD.
techData assessing smartphones has revealed tens of millions of phones are at risk of being harvested
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Pare as Megan Draper and Jon Hamm as the troubled, melancholy Don Draper
tvAnd six other questions we hope Mad Men series seven will answer
Arts & Entertainment
Cody and Paul Walker pictured in 2003.
film
News
David Beckham is planning to build a stadium in Miami’s port for a new football team he will own
news... in his fight for a football stadium in Miami's port area
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

NGO and Community Development in Cambodia

Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: There are many small development projects in ...

Graphic Design, Social Media and PR or Permaculture Internships in South Africa

Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Work in Cape Town, South Africa for an NGO co...

Teach music or performing arts abroad

Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Schools in developing countries struggle with...

Sports coaching volunteer jobs

Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Kaya Responsible Travel offer a variety of sp...

Day In a Page

Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal
Supersize art

Is big better? Britain's latest super-sized art

The Kelpies are the latest addition to a growing army of giant sculptures. But naysayers are asking what a pair of gigantic horse heads tells us about Falkirk?
James Dean: Back on the big screen

James Dean: Back on the big screen

As 'Rebel without a Cause' is re-released, Geoffrey Macnab reveals how its star perfected his moody act
Catch-22: How the cult classic was adapted for the stage

How a cult classic was adapted for the stage

More than half a century after it was published 'Catch-22' will make its British stage debut next week
10 best activity books for children

10 best activity books for children

Keep little ones busy this bank holiday with one of these creative, educational and fun books
Arsenal 3 West Ham United 1: Five things we learnt from the battle between the London sides

Five things we learnt from Arsenal's win over West Ham

Arsenal still in driving seat for Champions League spot and Carroll can make late charge into England’s World Cup squad
Copa del Rey final: Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right

Pete Jenson on the Copa del Rey final

Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right
Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

With the tennis circus now rolling on to the slowest surface, Paul Newman highlights who'll be making the headlines – and why
Exclusive: NHS faces financial disaster in 2015 as politicians urged to find radical solution

NHS faces financial disaster in 2015

Politicians urged to find radical solution
Ukraine crisis: How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?

Ukraine crisis

How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

A history of the First World War in 100 moments
Fires could turn Amazon rainforest into a desert as human activity and climate change threaten ‘lungs of the world’, says study

New threat to the Amazon rainforest:

Fires that scorch the ‘lungs of the Earth’
Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City: And the winner of this season’s Premier League title will be...

Who’s in box seat now? The winner of the title will be ...

Who is in best shape to take the Premier League prize?