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QCA plans for 11-14 year-olds

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority last week launched proposals for a review of the subjects studied by pupils aged 11-14 in England, saying its aim was to make pupils "successful learners", "confident individuals" and "responsible citizens" - mantras familiar to those involved in A Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland.

* English: out go fashionable authors such as Alan Sillitoe and J G Ballard, and in come Philip Pullman, Michael Rosen and Dodie Smith. There is a greater push for international fiction and ethnic minority writers, hence the inclusion of Maya Angelou, Meera Syal and Benjamin Zepheniah, pictured, but pupils must still study a minimum of one Shakespeare play.

Jane Austen and Charles Dickens stay; Shelley and Byron have been dropped.

But teachers said this week they would not be using classic novels because they were a "turn off" for young teenagers.

* Maths: content has been cut and pupils will be expected to learn applied maths in areas such as plumbing, engineering and new technology. Pupils will also be required to learn about "mathematics from different cultures"

and discover how to make sense of facts and figures in websites and newspapers.

* Languages: schools are no longer required to offer at least one EU language; instead they can select a language based on their needs, opening the door to more teaching of Mandarin and Urdu.

* History: the world wars and the Holocaust remain on the curriculum, despite complaints two years ago from the QCA about the "Hitlerisation" of history courses. Pressure from ministers has led to a greater emphasis on the slave trade and the after-effects of colonisation.

* Geography: climate change will debut.

* Science: teachers have shown concern that the slimmed-down curriculum omits crucial details.

* Citizenship: a large chunk of the new curriculum is dedicated to "identities and diversity: living together in the UK". Schools are also asked to involve pupils in real-life citizenship by getting them to take part in school elections, charity and voluntary work.


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