The Vision: Curricula and assessment are stabilised and support excellent teaching and learning.
Since the National Curriculum was introduced in 1989, there have been at least 10 reforms to the curriculum and national assessment in England alone. In Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, wholesale changes to the national curricula have taken place during the past 6 years and a new National Curriculum is being introduced in England from this September.
Frequent changes in curriculum and assessment absorb the time and energy of teachers better spent preparing more inspiring lessons or on professional development to improve teaching and encourage innovation.
These changes have resulted in teachers feeling disempowered and disillusioned and increased pressure to ‘teach to the test’, ultimately compromising young people’s educational experience.
National curricula in science and mathematics should be the collective responsibility of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) community, politicians of all mainstream parties and other relevant agencies.
The expertise of the STEM professional bodies, under a strong overarching body, should be used to stabilise the curriculum and assessment, providing a platform for excellent science and mathematics teaching.
- Establish new, independent, expert bodies in England and Wales, and enhance existing structures in Northern Ireland and Scotland, to provide stability in curriculum and assessment and allow teachers space to innovate in their teaching
- Commit to invest in these bodies long term to enable STEM experts, including employers, to contribute their knowledge and experience
Key developments since 2014
- Major curriculum reform in Wales, including a Digital Competence Framework and a new STEM curriculum plan for schools
- Reformed GCSE and A-level qualifications for maths and science have been introduced in England. The Government is committed to make no further changes in the medium term