HC Deb 13 January 1998 vol 304 cc174-6W
Mr. Fitzpatrick

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what further plans he has to ensure that priority is given to the basics of literacy and numeracy within the primary curriculum. [22798]

Mr. Blunkett

I am announcing today plans that will free up primary teachers' time so that they can give a clear priority to the teaching of literacy and numeracy and to meeting our literacy and numeracy targets. From September 1998 the priorities in the primary curriculum will be English and mathematics. The position of science, information technology and religious education will remain unchanged.

Schools will still need to offer a balanced and broadly based curriculum and to that end will be required to have regard to the other National Curriculum subjects of art, design and technology, geography, history, music and physical education. Key stage 1 and Key stage 2 statutory requirements will be modified so that primary schools have more flexibility in how they teach these subjects. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) will give schools advice shortly after Easter on how they can achieve this.

I have asked QCA to conduct consultations on these proposals this term; and intend to lay new statutory Orders for the six non-core subjects in the summer.

Sir Richard Body

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list the universities in the United Kingdom which now provide tuition in remedial English for students unable to write to an appropriate standard. [22614]

Dr. Howells

Individual universities and colleges are responsible for assessing the skills and tuition needs of their students. Information on supplementary tuition for students who need to improve their communication skills is not available centrally. The Department is committed to improving literacy and other key skills at all levels of the education system, and has supported a number of projects to develop key skills in higher education.

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