HC Deb 20 March 1985 vol 75 cc491-2W
Mr. Christopher Hawkins

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when Her Majesty's Inspectorate's discussion paper on the school curriculum is to be published; and if he will make a statement.

Sir Keith Joseph

Her Majesty's Inspectorate has published today, in the "Curriculum Matters" series, its discussion paper "The Curriculum from 5 to 16". It raises, for comment not only by those professionally involved in education but also by the many others who have an interest in the work of the schools, some important issues about the ways in which a broad, balanced, relevant and differentiated curriculum can be provided for all pupils in the compulsory years. The paper is a further step towards establishing broad agreement on the objectives for the curriculum which is provided in our schools.

The purpose of the paper is to stimulate discussion: Her Majesty's inspectors will be glad to receive views on both the general approach and the detailed considerations set out in the paper. Views may differ on some of the difficult issues raised by the paper. For example, I am not myself satisfied that the discussion of the humanities and social studies gives sufficient prominence to the influence of ideas and beliefs nor to social or political systems, as distinct from impersonal environmental and economic forces. Differences of opinion such as this need to be tested in debate.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I hope that commentators will give particular attention to how broad principles on the content and organisation of the curriculum can best be translated, within the resources available, into reality, how the curiosity, originality and creative talents of pupils can be developed so as to enrich their achievements as individuals and as members of society making free but responsible choices, and to make them aware of the importance of ideas and beliefs in human activities; the range of personal qualities and competence needed to equip young people adequately for employment in a world which increasingly demands versatility and enterprise; and the means of securing appropriate differentiation for pupils of differing ability and aptitudes without detriment to the requirements of breadth, balance and relevance in the curriculum of all pupils.