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Rise and rise of the literacy hour;Curriculum 2000;Core subjects

Government releases final proposals for new curriculum. Sarah Cassidy reports.

THE core subjects of English, maths and science are largely unchanged, primarily to prevent disruptions to the national tests taken by seven, 11 and 14-olds.

Primary English and maths are to be aligned with the literacy and numeracy hours. This is expected to have little impact on schools that will have been running both strategies for a year when the regulations come into force in September next year.

At secondary level, traditional works such as Shakespeare's sonnets, Henry James and Mary Shelley are no longer recommended in order to make way for modern writers.

Other pre-1900 literary giants on the curriculum departure list include Anthony Trollope, Lord Byron, Christina Rossetti and Elizabeth Barratt-Browning.

Boy-friendly authors have been added for secondary pupils at the personal insistence of David Blunkett.

Contemporary writers such as Alan Bennett, Willie Russell, Susan Hill and JG Ballard are now on the list.

However the requirement to study Shakespeare's plays, drama by major playwrights, two works of major fiction and four major poets from both pre-1914 and post-1914 writers remains for secondary schools.

The recommended list of 20th-century authors has been extended to include George Orwell, Evelyn Waugh, William Trevor, Katherine Mansfield and Aldous Huxley.

Speaking and listening requirements have been strengthened. Drama is given a more prominent position.

The key stage 4 maths programme of study has been divided into a foundation and a higher programme to interest disaffected pupils and stretch the more able. The foundation route will include more data-handling skills and realistic situations for using maths.

The consultation document says the choice of programme should not affect students' choice of tiered maths GCSE paper.

The topic, known as using and applying mathematics has been merged into the other sections of the programmes of study. It does, however, survive as an attainment target. This should ensure that the application of maths is preserved.

In science, the quality of experiments is to be improved by tightening up the planning and teaching of investigative science.

Requirements to relate science to everyday life, formerly in the introduction to the programme of study, have been integrated with other sections to ensure they are covered.

At key stage 4, single science has been aligned with double science by making content more consistent and ensuring the single award contains half the content of the double course.


Writers joining the recommended list include: Oscar Wilde, Harold Pinter, Wilfred Owen, Sylvia Plath, Stevie Smith, Tennessee Williams, Maya Angelou, Ernest Hemingway, Doris Lessing as well as George Orwell, Evelyn Waugh, Katherine Mansfield and Aldous Huxley.


John Bunyan, Wilkie Collins, Elizabeth Gaskell, Matthew Arnold, John Dryden, Edmund Spenser and Henry Vaughan are among other literati who have been dropped along with Henry James and Lord Byron.

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