'Jury still out' on new curriculum
The Government's new national curriculum is "unlikely" to ignite a passion for learning in the England's schoolchildren, it has been suggested.
One teachers' leader warned that the revised curriculum, described by Prime Minister David Cameron as a "revolution in education" is simply based on memory tests, while another said it may still not be fit for the 21st century.
Under the far-reaching changes, pupils will begin learning simple fractions in their first year of school, while primaries will be expected to give lessons on evolution and computer programming.
Secondary school pupils will be expected to read at least two plays by Shakespeare and in maths youngsters will have to master their tables up to 12 times 12 by age nine.
Education Secretary Michael Gove said that the new "rigorous" curriculum focusing on the basics will help England's children to perform well internationally.
Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said she was "vastly relieved" that some changes had been made to the proposed curriculum, such as putting spoken language skills back into the English syllabus, but added the document still contained "major flaws".
"Much of the curriculum is still not age appropriate - teaching children fractions at age five is problematic if they don't fully understand whole numbers. Insisting on teaching history in strict chronology means many children will not be old enough to understand some of the more complex issues at the time they are introduced."
She added: "Michael Gove's fixation on a curriculum based on memory tests is unlikely to foster a passion for learning in children."
Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said: "We are pleased that that ministers have listened to some of our concerns about content in some subjects and have revised the earlier drafts. However the jury is still out as to whether the new curriculum will really give children the skills and knowledge they need for the 21st century."
Prime Minister David Cameron described the changes as a "revolution in education" saying that a new "rigorous, engaging and tough" national curriculum is critical to Britain's future economic success.