Written statement to Parliament

Education reform: new national curriculum for schools

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Secretary of State for Education announces the publication of the national curriculum to be taught in England from September 2014.

The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP

On 8 July 2013, I launched a statutory one-month consultation seeking representations on the draft legislative order – the Education (National Curriculum) (Attainment Targets and Programmes of Study) (England) Order 2013 – required to bring the new national curriculum into effect from September 2014.

The consultation was accompanied by the publication of final proposals for the new national curriculum for all subjects and key stages (except for key stage 4 English, mathematics and science). A further consultation on the programmes of study for key stage 4 English, mathematics and science will follow, in line with the timetable for the reform of GCSE qualifications.

Officials in the Department for Education have received 750 responses to the consultation which have been carefully analysed. Yesterday, we published a summary of the responses received.

The new national curriculum that we published yesterday has been developed with due regard to the views of subject experts and teachers and to the findings of international best practice comparisons. In response to representations made during the recent consultation period, changes have been made to improve clarity, precision and consistency of the content.

The new national curriculum will provide a rigorous basis for teaching, a benchmark for all schools to improve their performance, and will give children and parents a better guarantee that every student will acquire the knowledge and skills to succeed in the modern world. It has been significantly slimmed down and will free up teachers to use their professional judgement to design curricula that meet the needs of their pupils.

This new national curriculum represents a clear step forward for schools, ensuring that all children have the opportunity to acquire a core of essential knowledge in key subjects. It embodies rigour, high standards and will create coherence in what is taught in schools. It sets out expectations for children that match the curricula used in the world’s most successful school systems.

The majority of the new national curriculum will come into force from September 2014, so schools will now have a year to prepare to teach it. From September 2015, the new national curriculum for English, mathematics and science will come into force for years 2 and 6; English, mathematics and science for key stage 4 will be phased in from September 2015.

Copies of the new national curriculum have been placed in the library of the House.

Published 12 September 2013