New National Curriculum in England

The draft new national Curriculum in England is now
out for consultation.

It available at

At last, now we know what the game is.

Firstly, I must admit to punching the air and shouting with glee! At
long last, after spending 17 years at the CBA arguing with government
that prehistory should be part of the curriculum, as soon as I leave
and have no voice in it, the government makes prehistory a statutory
part of the history curriculum. Perhaps I should have kept quiet all
these years!

But then, I did groan aloud in disappointment and anger that yet again
the government have failed to make history compulsory at 14-16.

Anyway, although museums only feature once (and archaeology not at all
by name), there is plenty – simply on a cursory read through – for
museums to get their teach into. As always, too much of a focus on
history is not healthy. Here is what I have gleaned from my very quick
read of the document –

Year 5 and 6
The skills of information retrieval that are taught should be applied,
e.g. in reading history, geography and science textbooks, and in
contexts where pupils are genuinely motivated to find out
information, such as reading information leaflets before a gallery or
museum visit or reading a theatre programme or review.

Art and Design
Pupils should be taught
about the greatest artists, architects and designers in history.
about the history of art, craft and design, including major movements
from ancient to the modernist periods (e.g. Art Nouveau, Impressionism,

Citizenship KS4
Pupils should be taught about
the different ways in which a citizen can contribute to the improvement
of their community, to include the opportunity to participate actively
in community volunteering

Design and Technology
investigate the rich history of design and technological innovation in
Britain and further afield, from the Industrial Revolution onwards, as
well as current innovations.

early Britons and settlers, including: the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages,
Celtic culture and patterns of settlement
(But notice the shear amount of chronological learning squeezed into
Key Stage 2)

Pupils must be taught to
develop an understanding of the history of music.
develop a deep understanding of the music that they perform and listen
to, and its history.

But, remember this – the national curriculum is only statutory for
local authority schools. Academies do not have to follow this
curriculum. A press release from the DfE says “54 per cent of secondary
schools are either already academies or in the pipeline to become

About donhenson

I am freelance consultant archaeologist specialising in public archaeology, interpretation, education and the media.
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