National Curriculum - Children, Schools and Families Committee Contents


1. As a map of what young people should be taught the National Curriculum is central to education provision. This Report is the result of one of three inquiries undertaken by this Committee into the fundamentals of our education system, each prompted by the twentieth anniversary of the 1988 Education Reform Act. We have already published a Report on testing and assessment,[1] and in December 2008 we announced the Terms of Reference for an inquiry into school inspection and performance reporting.[2] While not part of the 1988 Act, school inspection represents an extension of its emphasis on school accountability and the provision of information to support parental choice.

2. We announced our call for evidence on the National Curriculum in February 2008 and began taking oral evidence in June 2008. We held a related evidence session on the Early Years Foundation Stage in May 2008.

3. During the inquiry we took evidence from Ministers, government agencies, trades unions, subject associations, employer representatives, research organisations and prominent academics. A list of those who gave oral evidence appears at the end of this Report. In addition we received nearly 50 written memoranda, which have helped us with the inquiry.

4. We would like to extend our thanks to our Specialist Advisers, Professor Alan Smithers, Director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research, University of Buckingham, and Professor Geoff Whitty, Director of the Institute of Education, University of London and, in relation to the Early Years Foundation Stage session, our Specialist Advisers Dame Gillian Pugh, Visiting Professor at the Institute of Education, University of London and Professor Kathy Sylva, Department of Educational Studies, University of Oxford.[3]

5. We set out below a list of acronyms used in this Report.

DCSF    Department for Children, Schools and Families

ELG    Early Learning Goal

EYFS    Early Years Foundation Stage

GCSE    General Certificate of Secondary Education

IAG    Information, Advice and Guidance

ICT    Information and Communications Technology

ITT    Initial Teacher Training

NDPB    Non-Departmental Public Body

Ofqual    Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator

Ofsted    Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills

PFLM    Primary Framework for Literacy and Mathematics

PNS    Primary National Strategy

PSHE    Personal, Social and Health Education

QCA    Qualifications and Curriculum Authority

QCDA    Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency

QTS    Qualified Teacher Status

SEAL    Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning

SEN    Special Educational Needs

SNS    Secondary National Strategy

1   HouseofCommonsChildren,SchoolsandFamiliesCommittee,ThirdReportofSession2007-08,TestingandAssessment,HC169-I. Back

2   The Terms of Reference can be found at Back

3   Dame Gillian Pugh is Chair of the Cambridge Primary Review Advisory Group and adviser to various sections of the Department for Children, Schools and Families. Professor Kathy Sylva was a contributor to the Effective Provision of Pre-School Education (EPPE) project, which ran from 1997-2003 and the Effective Pre-School and Primary Education 3-11 (EPPE 3-11) project, which ran from 2003-2008, and is a contributor to the Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary Education (EPPSE 3-14) project, which runs from 2007-2011. Back

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