Letter: The curriculum, as seen from the top

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The Independent Online
Sir: The article 'Uneducated, but no empty head' (22 April) gave useful insights into my approach to the task of reviewing the national curriculum and to simplifying testing.

Unfortunately, there are two substantial misinterpretations in the summary on the front page, 'Tests chief promises to listen to teachers'. I am aware of the strong view that the curriculum is overloaded and I am looking forward to talking to teachers about proposals to give them more room to make their own curriculum decisions and ensure the national curriculum does not take up all their time. I have not, however, come to the view that the content of each of the 10 national curriculum subjects should be reduced. That is something I must consider in the light of forthcoming consultations.

Your feature notes my acknowledgement that some areas of the curriculum, such as English literature, might be better assessed through coursework than through formal tests. I would not like readers to conclude that I thought the existing tests are simplistic. Nor would I wish them to think, as reported on page 1, that I believe English as a whole should be tested solely though continuous assessment.

Yours sincerely,

RON DEARING

Chairman

National Curriculum Council

York

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