Curriculum farce21 January 2011
Sir, Camilla Cavendish (Opinion, Jan 20) writes that she has changed her mind about a prescriptive "national curriculum" for English schools. She used to oppose it but now supports it after learning that only 16 per cent of pupils achieve good GCSEs in the main academic subjects. May I suggest to her that her logic is the wrong way round?
The national curriculum was created in 1988 with the intention of guaranteeing a good academic education for every child. That only one in six pupils do so, two generations of school children later, shows that scepticism is the right attitude. Good academic schools in England, both independent and government-funded, run their own curriculum and will continue to do so. The national curriculum is at best a waste of time and effort, and at worst a depressing influence on educational expectations.
This Government is keen on the national curriculum, particularly in improving history teaching. It should reflect that history is repeated once as tragedy and the second time as farce.