Orders give scope for judgment

9th December 1994 at 00:00
The questions Henrietta Dombey asked about the revised English curriculum show she has not yet understood two fundamental aspects of the new Orders (TES, November 25).

First, the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority has defined what should be taught in terms of a minimal statutory framework. It is up to teachers how they teach, so it is absolutely right for the Orders to contain "far fewer useful ideas for classroom practice". Professional judgment will determine the curriculum flesh on the bones of the Orders.

Second, the purpose of level descriptions is to aid overall, summary judgments at the end of the key stage. Level descriptions do not, therefore, specify curriculum activities; rather, they describe the overall performance which is characteristic of a child at a particular level.

To reinsert "give instructions" or "do a draft" takes us back to jumping hurdles of statements of attainment.

Teachers have already proved far more welcoming of the revisions than Dr Dombey allows.

NICHOLAS TATE.

Chief executive.

School Curriculum and Assessment Authority.

Newcombe House.

45 Notting Hill Gate.

London W11.

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