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Mixed outlook for weather;Curriculum 2000

PRIMARY children will no longer have to learn about that great British obsession - the weather. Study of the elements will be optional under plans put forward by the Government's curriculum quango.

Pupils may go through primary school not learning why rainbows form or what lightning is. Lists of towns and countries to be studied could also be a thing of the past if ministers accept proposals for a streamlined geography curriculum.

But meteorologists need not be alarmed. Although the teaching of weather will no longer be a compulsory part of the curriculum, the subject is unlikely to disappear altogether from British classrooms.

Speaking at the annual conference of the Geographical Association, the association president, Roger Carter, said: "How can you teach geography without reference to the weather? Teachers will go on teaching it as they always did."

At key stage 3, schools will be free to spend more time on British issues and lists specifying which foreign countries should be studied will be abolished. However, it is expected the subject will remain largely unchanged at key stage 4, when the changes come into place as part of the curriculum review in 2000.

The association has published a policy document calling for primary children to spend at least one hour a week studying geography and for the post-14 curriculum to be made more flexible, allowing more time for the subject.

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