§ Mr. Bowis
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) when he expects to publish a draft order to introduce a short course in geography within key stage 4 of the national curriculum;
(2) when he expects to publish proposals to put into effect his policy of permitting pupils to take either history or geography at key stage 4 of the national curriculum.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
I have today published for consultation a draft order with an associated document setting out attainment targets and programmes of study for a short course in geography in the national curriculum for pupils at key stage 4, as I am required to do by section 20(5) of the Education Reform Act 1988. Copies have been placed in the Library.
In publishing the initial statutory order and document for geography before Easter, I announced that I would be bringing forward shortly this further draft order, which builds on advice sent to me by the National Curriculum Council last November.
I have accepted the basic structure of the course recommended by the council, although I have made changes to reduce its content to make it more manageable and to provide an element of choice within the material relating to physical and human geography.
Therefore, in accordance with section 20(5)(a)(ii) of the Education Reform Act 1988, I have published a statement of my reasons for departing from the council's advice. Copies have been placed in the Library with those of the draft order.223W
The period for consultation on the draft order will end on 31 July 1991. I intend to make the final order in October 1991 in time to allow for the planning of syllabuses and courses for pupils at key stage 4 which will begin in the autumn of 1994. The draft order applies only to England. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales will be publishing separately for consultation a draft order to introduce a short course in geography in Wales.
The National Curriculum Council, as required by section 20(3) of the Education Reform Act 1988, has today given notice of my proposal for making the full history and geography courses alternatives for pupils at key stage 4. I announced my intention of issuing such a proposal in January. Copies of my proposal have been placed in the Library.
My proposal is that pupils who elect to follow fie full course in history at key stage 4 of the national curriculum should be excepted from the provisions of the national curriculum for geography and that, similarly, pupils who elect to follow the full course in geography should be excepted from the provisions of the national curriculum in history. Pupils will thus be able to meet the minimum requirement of the national curriculum by taking the full course in either history or geography, or by taking the short courses in both subjects.
It is our view, however, that virtually all schools should offer both the full and the short courses in both subjects and should give pupils a choice between full history, full geography or short history and short geography. I expect many schools to offer pupils the opportunity to study history and geography in ways that exceed the minimum requirement.
The period for the submission of evidence and representations in the proposals to the National Curriculum Council will end on 31 July 1991. The council will then report to me. I intend to publish draft regulations, as required by section 20(5) of the Act, in October 1991. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales is separately directing the statutory consultation process in Wales.