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Call for richer learning diet

Schools need to start designing their own curriculums and to tailor learning to the needs of individual pupils, the Government's leading adviser on the subject said this week.

Mick Waters, director of curriculum at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, wants his organisation to start working with teachers to develop their own approaches to learning.

Too often, he said, the QCA's predecessors have been seen as top-down organisations which have told schools what to teach since the launch of the national curriculum 20 years ago.

The QCA is to produce guidance to help schools to develop their curriculums over the next 12 months, a document setting out its plans said this week.

It hopes that the move will enable pupils to receive a more "inspiring"

learning diet than at present.

The pamphlet reiterates the QCA's concerns - voiced frequently in recent years - about the unintended consequences of the Government's emphasis on raising standards.

Many schools, it said, were concerned that the emphasis on key stage 2 test results and league tables narrowed the curriculum.

In Year 6, teaching to the test and pre-test coaching discouraged primaries from taking risks and limited curriculum innovation, the document said. At KS3, pupils were missing out on visits and fieldwork because of the emphasis on the core subjects of English, maths and science.

A consultation on English last year revealed that, although teachers said it was important to teach children the basics, the subject also needed to capture pupils' imaginations.

The pamphlet says that three-quarters of schools monitored by the QCA were concerned about the transition from primary to secondary school.

Some 64 per cent said that data setting out pupils' achievements in their KS2 tests arrived late in secondary schools.

For more information, see www.qca.org.uk

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