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Beyond the basics to the core

It is disturbing that primary headteachers continue to equate the "basics" with the "core subjects" of the national curriculum (TES, September 13). The basics are, in particular, the skills of numeracy and literacy. The core subjects - English, maths, and science, involve far more than these skills.

Indeed, it can be argued that it is these subjects above all that eat into the time said to be required for the "basics". It should be stressed that the foundation subjects, not least geography and history, should equally be seen as contributing importantly to the development of basic skills. The crisis engendered by the Government, media and right-wing critics should not divert us from the return of a broad and balanced national curriculum.

BILL MARSDEN Professor of education University of Liverpool

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