It is urgent we modernise our regressive, Edwardian curriculum - by Lord Baker - 30.07.22

Incredibly, the school core curriculum has barely altered since it was first implemented in the reign of Edward VII, according to Lord Baker in an article for the Telegraph.


The former Education Secretary says urgent, whole-scale reform is now required if Britain is ever to catch up with its rivals and compete as a leading power in the 21st century.


As ever, skills lie at the heart of any new educational programme and the widespread shortage of skilled trainees is now having a direct and detrimental effect on the wider economy:


“76% of 6,000 employers said that the biggest constraint upon their growth was the lack of data analysts. The Nissan Skills Foundation said that it was “disastrous” that design and technology was not a compulsory part of the curriculum.


Indeed, in recent years we seem to have gone backwards not forwards:


“The teaching of computing in our 11-16 schools has fallen by 40% since 2016 because all schools up to GCSE are expected to teach and be assessed on eight academic subjects – exactly the same eight as those announced by the Schools Secretary in 1904. It is time to bring an end to this Edwardian curriculum. We must replace it with a career-led and technical curriculum which recognises this digital age of artificial intelligence and net zero.”


Lord Baker’s proposals involve a fundamental shake-up of the existing curriculum:


“Instead of these 8 academic subjects, schools at 11 should teach a basic core of 5 – English, maths, two sciences, and digital skills. Then they could choose a wide range of other GCSEs such as engineering, business studies, design & technology, health and social care, sports science, economics, biosciences, and all the cultural and creative subjects needed by our burgeoning entertainment and streaming industries with creative writing and the performing arts.”


So far as grammar schools are concerned, any new ones should be located in areas of special need. And in relation to those who do not take or pass the 11+


“We must overcome that by ensuring that alongside a new grammar school there is also a new technical, cultural, or specialist school covering the wide range of specialisms needed to meet the rapid technical advances that are expected to create 400,000 jobs by 2030.


These schools would cover subjects which are not yet in the curriculum – AI; virtual reality; net zero sciences of alternative energy sources – wind, solar, tidal, hydrogen; technologies to cope with temperatures of 40-50°C; saving species from extinction; and e-technologies for transport and infrastructure.”


The full article can be read below with a link to the original here:




Article for the Telegraph by Lord Baker - It is urgent we modernise our regressive^J Edwar
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