Magazine article English Drama Media

Secondary Curriculum Review in England

Magazine article English Drama Media

Secondary Curriculum Review in England

Article excerpt

The consultation on the Secondary Curriculum Review closed at the end of April and final proposals are due to be submitted in early June. The new curriculum will be online in September 2007, and will be implemented over three years from September 2008. The first assessments using new assessment criteria will be in May 2011. Meanwhile, the drafts of the proposed Programmes of Study for English at KS3 and KS4, and other details of the curriculum review, may be seen online at www.qca.org.uk/secondarycurriculumreview.

The Programmes of Study for English at KS3 and KS4 are now--somewhat confusingly, given the amount of overlap between the two--two separate documents. In contrast with the new curriculum proposals in Scotland and Wales, they are cluttered documents, and maintain elements of prescription, such as the controversial lists of authors from which texts for literary study must be chosen, as championed by secretary of state Alan Johnson. Despite much rhetoric heralding the proposals, in most respects they are not significantly different from the previous curriculum. (See the last issue of EDM for further comment on the proposed KS3 programmes, and Barbara Bleiman's comment in the TES recently on the lists of authors--'Frustrating puzzle of the literary lists'.)

Assessment arrangements at KS3 and KS4 are also being reviewed. Again in contrast with Scotland and Wales, the government is refusing to concede the need for a greater emphasis on teacher assessment. Instead, at KS3, there is a proposal that SATs at 11 and 14 might be replaced by shorter statutory assessments, available twice a year, which students will sit when they are ready. As they will still be linked to league tables etc., this is unlikely to make much difference. Indeed, a greater frequency of tests, and the need to choose when they are to be taken, may exacerbate the current situation further. …

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