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'Grange Hill' creator calls for curriculum rethink

The creator of cult television series Grange Hill has called for the national curriculum to be scrapped.

Phil Redmond spoke this week at a conference for progressive independent schools, hosted, appropriately, by The Grange School in Hartford, Cheshire. Mr Redmond, who returned as producer of the BBC series in 2003, is now honorary chair of media at Liverpool John Moores University.

He told the conference that there was no need for the national curriculum and that once children were able to "read, write and learn", the education process could be accelerated. Mr Redmond has said in an interview that children should spend less time studying Henry VIII and his six wives and more time finding out about businesses that have carved out a path for the future, such as Cunard Lines in Liverpool.

"At the moment, if you look across education, there isn't a cohesive policy any more," he said last month. "We're looking at whole swathes of the population who are being forced to follow a national curriculum with absolutely no relevance to their life or their future prospects."

Independent schools associations last week promised they would create a more traditional alternative to the national curriculum.

But the Grange's headteacher, Christopher Jeffery, has commissioned separate research on the kind of "modern, forward-thinking" curriculum needed to equip children for changes to the global economy, technology and the natural environment.

Mr Jeffery commended alternative curriculums such as Opening Minds, designed by the Royal Society of Arts and and the new Enquiring Minds, which is designed by Futurelab, a Bristol research centre, and expected to be used in more than 100 schools.

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