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The STF response to the National Curriculum review


The Department for Education’s National Curriculum Review consultation has now closed. The Review team will now consider the responses and submit recommendations to Ministers by the end of 2011, with final proposals to be subject to a further public consultation in 2012. The new National Curriculum for the four core subjects (English, Maths, Science and PE) is expected to be available to schools by September 2012, and maintained schools will be required to teach it from September 2013.


This will then be followed by the second phase of the consultation which will look at new programmes of study for all remaining subjects which are not included the core curriculum. This phase will commence in early 2012 with final proposals subject to public consultation in 2013. The new National Curriculum for all remaining subjects will be available to schools by September 2013, with maintained schools required to teach it from September 2014. However, academies and free schools will not have to teach the national curriculum as they are outside of local authority control.


In it's submission to the DfE Curriculum review the School Travel Forum has argued that it is not only important to review what is taught, but of significant importance to review how subjects are taught.

The Department for Education published a consultation on its review of primary and secondary National Curriculum (5-16 year olds) in January of this year.

 As outlined in the Coalition Programme of Government, Micheal Gove has pledged to make the curriculum less prescriptive, outlining only the ‘essential knowledge’ that children should have, as part of its drive to give greater freedom to professionals. The main proposals include a slimming down of the curriculum to only four core subjects, English, Maths, Science and PE. Currently schools must teach 14 compulsory subjects for pupils aged 7-14 including ICT, PSHE, Citizenship and modern foreign languages. The review will decide on whether any other subjects should also be required study for different age groups.

The STF have responded by saying that the curriculum should not only specify subject content but also the full range of teaching & learning methods which will ensure that all pupils and students can actively engage with the curriculum to enable them to achieve the highest possible standards, including a requirement for outdoor education opportunities to be considered across all subjects within the curriculum. They welcome the inclusion of English, Maths, Science and PE as the four core subjects within the new curriculum; but would also like to advocate for the inclusion of modern foreign languages and the humanities, including history and geography.

Ian Pearson the STF's General Manager comments:

"We would like to highlight the importance of outdoor learning in enhancing the curriculum. The known benefits for pupils of learning outside the classroom are many and varied. They include: improved engagement and attendance; the development of learning and thinking skills; and the strengthening of personal, social and emotional development, such as confidence, self-reliance, and management of risk.

Ofsted strongly supports the value of outdoor learning experiences as part of a full and rounded education; it would be a missed opportunity to overlook the importance of this".

Full details of the STF's submission can be found here.