HC Deb 22 November 1979 vol 974 cc300-1W
Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he proposes to issue a consultative document on the curriculum; which bodies and individuals he proposes to consult on possible changes to the curriculum; which subjects should form a core curriculum; if he will list those local authorities which systematically collect information on what is taught in their schools; whether he will take steps to legislate if a national framework of studies to be taught in all state schools cannot be agreed between all the relevant parties; what steps he is taking to increase the supply of teaching staff in the areas of maths, science and modern languages; and which areas of the curriculum need improvement, and in what way.

Dr. Boyson

My right hon. and learned Friend hopes to issue a document at about the turn of the year, and to consult the local authority associations, teachers' unions, Schools Council, churches, both sides of industry, and a range of specialist bodies. It will discuss the place of various subjects in the curriculum, including those mentioned in the Department's recent report on local authority arrangements for the school curriculum as needing improvement. The report was designed to build up a national picture, and it would not be appropriate to name authorities reporting particular activities. In the forthcoming consultations, the Government intend to seek the widest possible measure of agreement among the parties on a framework for the curriculum: it would be premature at this stage to speculate on the outcome. Teacher training institutions have already been asked to give shortage subjects priority within the reduced training system, and the present scheme for the retraining of teachers in certain shortage subjects will continue in 1980–81.

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