Skip to main content

Schools not ready for new national curriculum

Most schools are not ready for the new national curriculum, a union survey suggests.

More than six out of 10 teachers said their school was not “fully prepared to teach the new curriculum” – which is supposed to be introduced this term – in the poll of 618 primary and secondary teachers carried out by the the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL).

Just two out of 10 respondents said their school was fully prepared for the changes, while more than eight out of 10 said they did not think teachers had been given enough time to implement it.

Nansi Ellis, ATL assistant general secretary, said: “It is shocking, but not surprising, to find that fewer than a quarter of teachers feel that their school is prepared to teach the new curriculum that starts in September.

“The government has rushed through the biggest change to the national curriculum in a decade, with key changes to English and maths at primary level.

“Removing assessment levels from the curriculum is also worrying teachers.”

The tight timetable and lack of support for the new curriculum has been a consistent concern among teachers ever since former education secretary Michael Gove began the reform in 2011.

The survey, carried out last week, found that nine in 10 teachers described the way the Department for Education approached the changes as either “chaotic” or “flawed”. The vast majority felt that it had not properly considered teachers’ views.   

The ATL said staff were often unaware of the help that was available.

“The support the government offers, in the form of funding small numbers of schools to develop resources that can be shared, has happened too late in the day,” Ms Ellis said.

“Many teachers tell us that they don’t even know this support is available. Children going back to school next week face an uncertain time as their teachers are still trying to make sense of the new curriculum.

“It is extremely unfair to jeopardise young people’s education through what seems to be national mismanagement of change.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said of the survey: “Our own figures [from an NFER survey of     1,430 school leaders] reveal that 96 per cent of primary school leaders and 85 per cent of secondaries were already preparing to teach the new curriculum by May.

“The final programmes of study were released in September 2013 - well before their introduction this term.”


Related Stories:

The new national curriculum is too 'vague and nebulous' to implement, heads' union warns - March 2014

Only one in six primary schools planning to scrap national curriculum levels - March 2014

With Pisa around the corner, heads warn: new curriculum won't help England catch up with world's best - December 2013


Related resources:

Download teaching resources for the new national curriuclum here


Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you