Mourn the loss of curriculum input

15th February 2013 at 00:00

When Michael Gove abolished the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency in 2010, there was hardly a murmur from the educational establishment. This surprised me at the time, considering the long history that teachers and educational professionals had in forming the national curriculum.

The Secondary Schools Examination Council was set up in 1917 to advise the relevant minister on policy connected with exams in secondary schools. In 1964, this was replaced by the Schools Council, a body that oversaw a rethink of the curriculum being taught in many subjects. In 1984, Margaret Thatcher replaced this with the Schools Curriculum Development Council. This only lasted four years until, on the introduction of the national curriculum, Kenneth Baker formed the National Curriculum Council. In 1993, this was replaced by the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority, which in turn was superseded by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority in 1997. In 2009, the regulatory role of the QCA was separated off as Ofqual, and the remaining organisation was renamed the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency.

At a stroke, Gove curtailed 93 years of teacher and professional involvement in the development of the curriculum for English schools. We now have a curriculum planned and imposed by a faceless (apart from Gove) Department for Education. The consultations with teachers, lecturers, exam boards, universities and employers are gone. What our children are taught is decided by the diktat of a journalist-turned-politician.

If there were one exam board, what controls would there be on the imposition of a radically politicised curriculum? Would we trust Parliament to provide them? God help my grandchildren.

Laurie Mansfield, Wigton, Cumbria.

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