Education-line Home Page

 National Foundation for Educational Research

School Curriculum Differences across the UK

Joanna Le Métais

Rhys Andrews

Robyn Johnson

and Thomas Spielhofer

2001

 

C O N T E N T S

Acknowledgements
1. INTRODUCTION *
1.1 Background
*
1.2 Project Aim and Scope *
1.3 Methodology *
1.4 Challenges Involved in the Review *
1.5 Sources *
1.6 Structure of the Report *
2. Educational structure *
3. Curriculum Structure *
3.1 Formulation of the Curriculum *
3.2 Information Technology Within and Across the Curriculum *
3.3 Variations in the Curriculum Structure *
4. Curriculum content *
4.1 Variations in Curriculum Content *
5. Impact of differences on materials development *
5.1 Educational Structure *
5.2 Curriculum *
5.3 Curriculum Reform *
6. Conclusion and recommendations *
Bibliography *
APPENDIX 1 Curriculum Tables *
 

Acknowledgements

We should like to thank the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (Northern Ireland), Learning and Teaching, Scotland, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (England), and the Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales for their willingness to supply relevant documentation and advice.

We appreciate the comments received from BBC Northern Ireland, BBC Scotland and BBC Wales.

We are grateful to NFER colleagues John Ashby, Greg Brooks, Tandi Clausen-May, Felicity Fletcher-Campbell, John Harland, Jenny Loose, Catherine Micklethwaite, Marian Morris, Robat Powell, Claire Sargent, Caroline Sharp and Monica Taylor for advising and commenting on individual curriculum areas, and to David Sims for his comments on drafts of the report.

Finally, we should not have been able to complete this review without the assistance of our secretarial colleagues Vivien Cannon, Julia Rose and Jill Ware.

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background

The BBC has produced and piloted interactive digital course materials for geography, science and mathematics, and aims, over the next 5-6 years, to develop similar materials to support the 4-16 curriculum in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. In order to inform its planning, the BBC needs to identify the extent to which the curricula overlap (allowing for the joint production of materials) or diverge (requiring nation-specific materials to be developed).

1.2 Project Aim and Scope

The BBC commissioned the National Foundation for Educational Research to conduct an analysis of the curriculum requirements for the period of compulsory education in the four nations (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales). The review identifies areas of similarity and difference between England and each of the other nations in terms of educational structure, organisation, curriculum content and methodology, and examines the impact of any differences to the production of interactive digital teaching materials.

The review has covered, for each of the four nations involved,

1.3 Methodology

This review was carried out between 16 July and 31 August 2000 and comprised the following steps:

  • preparation of a conceptual framework for analysis of the curriculum content in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, in consultation with subject specialists and curriculum specialists from the four nations, to ensure that the framework is compatible with, and allows for the accurate reflection of, differences

  • collection of information from Curriculum Orders and other relevant documentation issued by the Curriculum Agencies (QCA, ACCAC, CCEA, Learning and Teaching Scotland and SQA(2)), such as schemes of work

  • preparation of comparative tables showing curriculum content for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales respectively

  • analysis of the educational context, to identify aspects which have an impact on the preparation of curriculum support materials

  • analysis of the data, and preparation of the report.

  • 1.4 Challenges Involved in the Review

    School starting and pupil transfer ages differ between the four nations. Curriculum expectations are also outlined differently, in terms of:

  • status (statutory or advisory guidelines)

  • ‘location’ of knowledge, skills and understanding within different subjects or areas of study

  • conceptualisation of the learning process and organisation of the guidelines.

  • These differences have made it difficult to identify a common format. In order to make the information manageable and comparable, two strategies have been adopted:

    a) the information in the curriculum documents/guidelines has been summarised. In some cases (e.g. English language) knowledge, skills and understanding in the programmes of study for younger pupils have been subsumed into those for older pupils.

    b) in order to facilitate comparisons of approaches and content across the nations, the information relating to Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland may have been re-ordered. This has generally been limited to the relocation of whole units (e.g. extracting the elements of the Scottish guidelines for Environmental Studies and inserting them in the tables for science, history, geography, technology and personal, social and health education respectively), but sometimes involves relocating elements of a subject.

    These strategies have necessarily resulted in simplification, which may disguise some of the differences between the curricula. However, some differences have been highlighted in this report, and matters of detail will emerge, and should be addressed, as part of the materials development process.

    The subject tables for Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have been sent to the respective curriculum agencies and to the BBC Education Officers for comment. The timing has coincided with administration of public examinations and/or annual leave of some of the key staff in these agencies and therefore few comments have been received for incorporation into this draft.

    1.5 Sources

    Relevant contextual information was obtained from three published sources (EURYDICE, 1998, Holt et al, 1999, O’Donnell et al, 2000), from colleagues at the EURYDICE Unit for England, Wales and Northern Ireland (based at the NFER), and from the EURYDICE Unit for Scotland (based at the Scottish Executive Education Department).

    The details in the subject tables are based on the most recent curriculum orders and guidance documents for each nation, namely:

    England:

     The National Curriculum: Handbook for Primary Teachers (QCA, 1999a) and The National Curriculum: Handbook for Secondary Teachers (QCA, 1999b).

    Wales:

     The Revised National Curriculum Orders, the Personal and Social Education Framework and the Work-Related Education Framework (ACCAC, 2000).

    Northern

    Ireland:

    The Northern Ireland Curriculum (GB DENI, 1996). The curriculum review involves a significant change in approach, which will be carried through into teaching content and style and therefore into the selection and use of materials.
    Scotland:

     There is no statutory curriculum, but the Scottish Executive Education Department 5-14 Curriculum and Assessment Programme (GB SOED, 1991-1993), monitored by HM Inspectors, lays down guidelines for the progress and performance of children at different stages through primary and early secondary school. These guidelines are currently subject to review. The researchers have received drafts of the revised versions of the guidelines for Environmental Studies, ICT, Health Education, Modern Languages and the Structure and Balance of the Curriculum(3), with the following advice: ‘It is anticipated these will be published in Autumn 2000. The information in this report is drawn from the consultative drafts of these guidelines, with an assurance that an analysis conducted on the basis of the current ‘drafts’ will correspond closely with final guidelines.’ The curriculum in Scottish secondary schools is not laid down by law but advice on the curriculum of the secondary school is given to all schools in Curriculum Design for the Secondary Stages: Guidelines for Schools (SCCC, 1999a). Course content for S3 and S4 is determined by Scottish Qualifications Agency (SQA) Arrangements for National Qualifications(4).

    The above documents cover the prescribed or recommended subjects for pupils aged 4/5 to 14 in all four nations. However, as indicated in Table 3, the number of compulsory subjects is reduced for pupils aged 14-16. In these cases, schools may follow the requirements of external examination syllabuses (e.g. history and geography in England and Wales), or adapt outlines programmes of study (e.g. political studies, environmental studies in Northern Ireland).

    The timescale of this project has not allowed for an analysis of examination syllabuses for GCSE. However, such detail would not be helpful because of the range of examination offerings in the UK and the fact that syllabuses are periodically updated.

    This web based version of the report has been enhanced by adding links to relevant web pages as at November 2001. It should be noted that these web pages may have been compiled after the completion of the original report.

    1.6 Structure of the Report

    Sections 2-4 of the report outline areas of similarity and difference between England and each of the other nations in terms of:

  • structure (i.e. the phasing of learning cycles and timing of assessments)

  • curriculum (i.e. scope, breadth and emphasis of the curriculum at different ages)

  • curriculum content.

  • These factors, together with the nature of teaching and learning materials available, and the preferred learning styles of pupils, affect what is taught and how. Teaching styles may therefore differ between nations, but also between teachers within nations and schools.

    The educational and legislative traditions of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland mean that they share many similarities in terms of educational and curricular structure and terminology. This convergence is reinforced by the fact that pupils from the three nations traditionally take General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) and GCE Advanced Level examinations at age 15-16 and 17-18 respectively. However, the devolution of responsibility for education to the Assemblies, and the emergence of alternative forms of external accreditation of learning, may result in greater divergence over time.

    The education system in Scotland has always been separate. The comparisons between Scottish Levels and Key Stages used in this report have no official status, but have been created for convenience, based on the learning expectations outlined in Section 3.

    Level A          Key Stage 1

    Levels B-C    Key Stage 2

    Levels D-E    Key Stage 3

    The information in this report is presented in the order: England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and then Scotland, to reflect the gradually increasing divergence from the English system.

    Section 5 summarises the extent to which these differences affect the production of interactive digital teaching and learning materials, and Section 6 provides conclusions and offers two recommendations.

    The Appendices provide detailed information to support the report.

    Appendix 1 Tables of curricular structures, outline the subjects which are compulsory for pupils at different stages (KS 1 and KS 2; KS 3, and KS 4) and the way in which they are conceived (integrated or discrete). The fourth table outlines cross-curricular subjects, common requirements, key/core skills and personal, social and health education.

    Appendix 2 Tables of individual subject requirements, available as separate files, as follows:

    Art and Design
    English
    Geography
    History
    ICT
    Mathematics
    Modern Foreign Languages
    Personal, social and health education (including Citizenship)
    Religious education
    Science
    Technology

    2. Educational structure

    Table 1 below outlines the structure of educational provision for 4 to 16 year-olds in the four nations. There are differences in the duration of compulsory education, in the starting and transfer ages, and in the extent to which secondary schools select pupils by academic ability.

    Duration

    Compulsory education lasts 11 years in England, Wales and Scotland, and 12 years in Northern Ireland. As a result, pupils of a given age in Northern Ireland have received an additional year of education as compared with their peers elsewhere, which may affect the depth/breadth of their learning during the compulsory period.

    Table 1 Educational provision

     

    England

    Wales

    Northern Ireland

    Scotland

     

    GCSE

    GCSE

    GCSE

    Standard Grade

    15+

    Year 11 ) Secondary

    Year 10 ) KS 4

    Year 11 ) Secondary

    Year 10 ) KS 4

    Year 12 ) Secondary

    Year 11 ) KS 4

    S4 ) Middle

    S3 ) Secondary

    14+

    13+

    Year 9 ) Secondary

    Year 8 ) KS 3

    Year 7 )

    Year 9 ) Secondary

    Year 8 ) KS 3

    Year 7 )

    Year 10 ) Secondary

    Year 9 )   KS 3

    Year 8 )

    S2 ) Lower

    S1 ) Secondary

    12+

    11+

    P7 ) Primary

    10+

    Year 6 ) Primary KS 2

    Year 6 ) Primary KS 2

    Year 7 ) Primary KS 2

    P6 )

    9+

    Year 5 )

    Year 5 )

    Year 6 )

    P5 )

    8+

    Year 4 )

    Year 4 )

    Year 5 )

    P4 )

    7+

    Year 3 )

    Year 3 )

    Year 4 ) Primary KS 1

    P3 )

    6+

    Year 2 ) Primary KS 1

    Year 2 ) Primary KS 1

    Year 3 )

    P2 )

    5+

    Year 1 )

    Year 1 )

    Year 2 )

    P1)

    4+

    Nursery/Reception

    Nursery/Reception

    Year 1 )

    Preschool

    School starting age

    Pupils in Northern Ireland start school one year earlier than in the other nations. Although many pupils elsewhere receive pre-compulsory education in nursery, reception class, or other settings, this cannot be assumed to be universal. The prior knowledge/experience of pupils in a given age group may therefore differ between, as well as within, nations.

    School transfer ages

    Pupils in Scotland and Northern Ireland have an additional year’s primary education (seven years) before transferring to secondary school, as compared with those in England and Wales (six years). For this reason, elements that are studied in upper primary in Scotland and Northern Ireland may not be taught until lower secondary in the other two countries. However, because Scottish pupils are aged 12+ on transfer, they have only four years of secondary education before external examinations (Standard Grade) as compared with five years elsewhere (GCSE).

    Selection at secondary school

    Northern Ireland, and a few areas in England, operate a selective secondary school system, where admission to grammar schools is governed by the 11+ examinations. This may affect teaching at the upper primary stage in terms of additional focus on assessed subjects and skills. At secondary level, pupils who attend selective grammar schools may be expected to cover the curriculum faster, in greater depth or with greater breadth.

    Assessments and examination syllabuses

    Curriculum documents do not always indicate the topics to be studied at ages 14-16, especially for those subjects that are not compulsory for all students (e.g. history in England and Wales). In this case, external assessments and examination syllabuses generally determine the subject content.

    The ‘backwash’ effect of statutory and external assessment on teaching is well known. This would affects teaching in the classes leading up to Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 assessments in England and Wales, the 11+ in Northern Ireland, and external examinations at 16+ in all four nations. In some cases, the desire to raise standards in specific areas may result in a decreased focus on other areas. This change of emphasis may be formalised, as in the curriculum exemptions granted for Key Stage 1 and 2 pupils to accommodate the literacy and numeracy strategies in England(5). The non-statutory frameworks for literacy and numeracy in Wales have had a similar influence.

    In contrast to the educational structure, the curriculum structure, outlined in the next section, includes numerous points of similarity.

    3. Curriculum Structure

    3.1 Formulation of the Curriculum

    Curricula are formulated in terms of aims and objectives, including ‘general teaching requirements’(6) or ‘common requirements’(7) and educational cross-curricular themes,,(8,9) programmes of study, targets of attainment and exemplary schemes of work.

    Programmes of Study

    England The Programmes of Study set out, for each subject, the ‘matters, skills and processes that should be taught to pupils of different abilities and maturities at each Key Stage.’ Together with the four general teaching requirements, they provide the basis for planning schemes of work. It is for schools to choose how they organise their school curriculum to include the programmes of study. The national frameworks for teaching literacy and mathematics, published by the DfEE, and the exemplar schemes of work, jointly published by the DfEE and QCA, show how the programmes of study and the attainment targets can be translated into practical, manageable teaching plans.

    Wales The Programmes of Study set out, for each subject, the ‘matters, skills and processes that should be taught to pupils of different abilities and maturities at each Key Stage.’ It is for schools to choose how they organise their school curriculum to include the programmes of study. A Focus Statement is provided for each subject at each key stage. This encapsulates what each pupil should be taught at that key stage.

    Northern Ireland The Programmes of Study set out the opportunities which should be offered to all pupils, subject to their age and ability, in terms of the knowledge, skills and understanding at each Key Stage. Teachers use the Programmes of Study as a basis for planning schemes of work. At Key Stage 4, the subjects that are selected from within options, for example, geography or history, are defined by Outline Programmes of Study. These Programmes of Study provide the basis for the development of courses such as GCSE.

    Scotland Structure and Balance of the Curriculum 5-14: National Guidelines Consultation Draft (Learning and Teaching Scotland, forthcoming) provides guidance on the rationale and principles underpinning the curriculum and lays down the areas of knowledge that pupils should cover as part of their education. Within the (non-statutory) curriculum guidelines, programmes of study show some of the ways in which teachers can help pupils achieve and develop the knowledge, understanding, skills, and informed attitudes outlined in the attainment targets.

    Attainment targets and level descriptions

    In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the curriculum for each subject (area) is formulated in terms of attainment targets and levels. Attainment targets set out the knowledge, skills and understanding which pupils of different abilities and maturities are expected to have by the end of each Key Stage(10). The number of attainment targets depends on the subject. Attainment targets consist of a series of level descriptions(11) of increasing difficulty. Each level description describes the types and range of performance that pupils working at that level should characteristically demonstrate, and they provide a basis for making judgements about pupils’ performance at the end of Key Stages 1, 2 and 3. Teachers select the level description that best fits a pupil's performance over a period. At Key Stage 4, national qualifications are the main means of assessing attainment.

    In Scotland, attainment targets provide specific statements of what pupils should know and be able to do at each of six levels of progression (A to F) for each of the attainment outcomes.

    ‘The characteristics which underpin the expected progression from level A to level F are that:

  • knowledge will become more detailed

  • relevant vocabulary will be widened

  • the ability to see patterns and to generalise will develop

  • new knowledge and understanding and skill development will not only add to, but will enrich, previous learning

  • understanding of abstract ideas and principles will increase

  • the number and range of contexts and examples will widen in space and time

  • pupils will demonstrate increasing independence in their learning.’ (GB SOED 1991-1993)

  • The levels within which the great majority of pupils are expected to work are defined below. However, pupils may be working within a range of up to four levels around the mode for the key stage/age group.

    England and Wales

    At the end of Key Stage 1, it is expected that the majority of pupils will be working at Level 2

    At the end of Key Stage 2, it is expected that the majority of pupils will be working at Level 4

    At the end of Key Stage 3, it is expected that the majority of pupils will be working at Level 5 or 6

    Northern Ireland

    At the end of Key Stage 1, it is expected that the majority of pupils will be working at Level 2

    At the end of Key Stage 2, it is expected that the majority of pupils will be working at either Level 3 or 4

    At the end of Key Stage 3, it is expected that the majority of pupils will be working at either Level 5 or 6

    In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the eight-level scale does not apply at Key Stage 4, where external qualifications are the main means of assessing attainment. Approved qualifications are determined by the Department for Education and Employment (for England), the National Assembly for Wales, and the Department of Education, Northern Ireland, respectively.

    Scotland

    Level A should be attainable in the course of P1–P3 by almost all pupils

    Level B should be attainable by some pupils in P3 or even earlier, but certainly by most in P4

    Level C should be attainable in the course of P4–P6 by most pupils

    Level D should be attainable by some pupils in P5–P6 or even earlier, but certainly by most in P7

    Level E should be attainable by some pupils in P7–S1, but certainly by most in S2

    Level F should be attainable in part by some pupils, and completed by a few pupils, in the course of P7–S2

    External assessments are determined by SQA Arrangements for National Qualifications.

    3.2 Information Technology Within and Across the Curriculum

    In all four nations, pupils are expected to learn about and use information and communication technologies (ICT), in context, across the curriculum. The curriculum documents and guidelines make frequent references to the use and application of ICT, for example, word-processing and spell-checking facilities in written work, electronic sources of information for history and geography, spreadsheets to collect data, and modelling and control in science, design and technology.

    In addition, separate curriculum time is allocated to the subject in England (ICT) and Wales (IT). In Scotland, schools may embed ICT across the curriculum or use part of the school’s flexible curriculum time.

    3.3 Variations in the Curriculum Structure

    (see also Tables 1-4 Appendix 1)

    Medium of instruction

    In England, the medium of instruction (except for foreign language learning) is English, there is generally little provision for bilingual teaching, and non-English speaking pupils are assisted to develop a command of English as soon as possible.

    In Wales, the first language spoken by children may be English, Welsh or another language. The study of Welsh is compulsory (as a first or second language) from age 5 to 16, but English is not compulsory for pupils in Welsh-speaking schools during KS 1. Between 25 and 33 per cent of pupils are taught through the medium of Welsh.

    In Northern Ireland, the first language spoken by children may be English, Irish or another language. The learning of Irish language is not compulsory but, in Irish-medium schools, its assessment is compulsory at KS 1 and KS 2. As all learning in these schools is through the medium of Irish, the assessment of English is not compulsory during Years 1-3. A separate Programme of Study exists for Year 4 pupils, to prepare them for the KS 2 Programme of Study in English, which begins in Year 5. Some 1,200 pupils learn through the medium of Irish.

    In Scotland, the first language spoken by children may be English, Scots, Gaelic or another language. There are currently about 2000 children in Gaelic-medium primary and secondary education(12). The National Guidelines for Gaelic 5-14 (GB SOED, 1993a) state that Gaelic-medium primary schools:

    should aim to bring pupils to the stage of broadly equal competence in Gaelic and English, in all the skills, by the end of P7. To facilitate this, schools should produce a policy for language which embraces both Gaelic and English [which] allows for the development of all the language skills in both languages by the end of P7 and, having given primacy to Gaelic, should recognise that skills acquired in Gaelic may be expected to transfer readily to English. The integration of English into Gaelic-medium or bilingual schools will be dependent on pupils’ abilities and needs. In general, English should not be introduced until pupils have attained Level A targets in the four language outcomes for Gaelic.’ (GB SOED, 1993a, p. 6)

    The use of a language other than English as the medium of instruction requires more than literal translation of learning materials. A language may facilitate concept development, for example, where the words for numbers indicate their composition. Conversely, where a language does not have a word for a feeling, thing or idea, it may be very difficult to conceive of it. Examples of foreign words, for which English has no adequate translations, include the German, schadenfreude, the French sympathique, and the Dutch gezellig. On a broader level, different languages promote different thinking patterns.

    Bilingual education creates additional needs for those who come to English as a second language. For example, children in Northern Ireland who begin their study of English in Year 4 (age seven) will need support not only in English lessons, but also in any other activity that involves reading or writing in English.

    Language variation

    A further dimension, raised in curriculum documents of all four nations, is the place of national/regional accents (pronunciation and intonation) and dialects (vocabulary, syntax, idiom and economies of expression) and their use alongside Standard English. As indicated in the Scottish guidelines for English language 5-14: ‘Pupils can investigate and enjoy language diversity by noting features of their own speech that differ from Standard English and from other dialects they encounter.’ (GB SOED, 1991b, p.67)

    Status of curricula

    The principal distinction between Scotland and the other nations is the lack of a prescribed curriculum in Scotland. However, Scottish guidelines identify the minimum time to be devoted to the ‘core’ curriculum areas, and programmes of study set out minimum expectations within each area. A comparison between these and the curricula in the other nations reveal a high degree of commonality. The main differences between the nations are:

  • English language is not statutory for KS 1 pupils in Welsh-speaking schools. Its assessment is not compulsory at KS 1 in Irish-medium schools. It is recommended that, in Gaelic-medium or bilingual schools ‘English should not be introduced until pupils have attained Level A targets in the four language outcomes in Gaelic’ (GB SOED, 1993a).

  • Alternative national language: Welsh is compulsory as first or second language, from 5-16. In Gaelic-medium schools in Scotland, guidelines for 5-14 Gàidhlig apply; in some non-Gaelic medium schools, the guidelines for Gaelic learners apply. Although not compulsory under the Northern Ireland Curriculum, Irish is compulsory in Irish-medium schools, from 4-14.

  • Citizenship will be compulsory for pupils aged 11-16 in England, from August 2002. Although the subject does not feature as a separate entity in other curricula, its content is addressed in subjects such as science, physical education or in cross-curricular themes and common requirements. Examples include education for mutual understanding and cultural heritage (Northern Ireland), common requirements for personal and social education in Wales, and personal and social development in Scotland. (Note: A discussion/consultation document on citizenship in the curriculum in Scotland is due to be issued in September 2000.) However this area of study is represented in the curriculum, the effect of devolution will result in distinct approaches and perspectives.

  • National/cultural perspectives: The curricula in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland make explicit links between the subject matter and national heritage (see 4.1 below and detailed subject tables in Appendix 2).

  • Integration or separation of subjects

    The nations vary in the extent to which they integrate learning or separate it into discrete subjects(13). The form of organisation does not imply a diminished scope, importance, or need to apply learning to a range of contexts. In all countries, there are identified aspects, which run across or permeate the subjects or areas (see Table 4).

  • England: The curriculum is largely subject-based, comprising 11 National Curriculum subjects, plus religious education and non-statutory personal, social, and health education. From 2002, when citizenship becomes compulsory, there will be 12 National Curriculum Subjects.

  • Wales: The curriculum is largely subject-based, comprising 12 National Curriculum subjects, plus religious education, careers education, sex education and non-statutory personal and social education.

  • Northern Ireland: The current Northern Ireland Curriculum comprises four discrete subjects, four integrated areas of study (modern languages, environment and society; creative and expressive; and science and technology and design) and up to six cross-curricular themes (including ICT), but this is subject to review.

  • Scotland: The national guidelines 5-14 define five main curriculum areas: language (including a modern language); mathematics; environmental studies: society, science and technology, health; expressive arts; and religious and moral education. ICT may be embedded in other curricular areas or be taught during part of the flexible curriculum time. The curriculum for S3 and S4 is defined in terms of eight curricular modes (see Table 3).

  • In addition, all nations identify essential requirements, cross-curricular themes and key/core skills, which are embedded in the curriculum, and documents stress the need to make cross-curricular links. The integration of related subjects into an area (e.g. environmental studies, in Scotland) may facilitate this. However, if subjects within an area are taught separately, the links may not be explicit.

    Time allocation per subject

    In Scotland, between 70 and 80 per cent of school time is allocated to the core curriculum areas. Schools are free to use the remaining time to reinforce learning within or extend it beyond the core areas. Legislation prohibits the prescription of curriculum time in England and Wales. However, the Programmes of Study and curriculum assessment ensure that the core subjects of language, mathematics, and science occupy a significant proportion of learning time.

    The four nations adopt somewhat different approaches to the individual subjects, and these are addressed in the next section.

    4. Curriculum content

    The set of 11 subject tables, which outline the way in which each nation promotes learning in: English language, mathematics, science, design and technology, geography, history, information and communications technology, art and design, music, physical education, religious education and personal social and health education. The subject headings are those used in England and comparisons have been made, in each case, with England. Statutory requirements (for Scotland, minimum expectations) are indicated in Roman characters. Non-statutory examples are indicated in italics. For Wales, differences from the curriculum for England are indicated in bold italics.

    Each table provides information under three main headings.

    Place in the curriculum This indicates, for each subject, whether, and during which phases, it is compulsory for pupils and whether it is conceived as a discrete subject or as part of an area of study. As previously mentioned, even where they are conceived as part of an area (e.g. the expressive arts), the component subjects (e.g. art, music drama and physical education) may be taught separately.

    Specific national emphases and dimensions This gives examples of national differences in approach by Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.

    Knowledge, skills, and understanding (KSU) In some nations, KSU are prescribed (through Curriculum Orders) and in others, non-statutory guidance is given in curriculum guidelines and/or exemplary schemes of work. It is assumed, however, that KSU which feature in curriculum documents are likely to be taught in most schools, and are therefore significant for the purposes of materials development. This section of each table covers:

  • general skills (e.g. data collection and presentation, evaluation)

  • subject specific skills (e.g. map work in geography, chronological understanding in history) and

  • content, which may be defined in terms of topics or themes (plant life in science; settlements in geography; Britain after 1900, or conflict and cooperation in history), activities (working with clay; playing tuned instruments), or texts (20th century fiction; pre-20th century drama).

  • 4.1 Variations in Curriculum Content

    Specific national dimensions

    The overarching theme of Curriculum Cymreig, and the specific references in curriculum materials to Celtic culture (Northern Ireland) and Scots and Gaelic culture (Scotland) identify areas where links need to be made with the traditions, culture and language, past and present, of these three nations(14).

    Curriculum range and depth

    The tables do not indicate the curriculum range or degree of depth in each subject/topic. In some cases, this is provided in the details of the curriculum documents or in supplementary guidance, but it often depends on the teacher’s response to pupils’ learning needs. The influence of particular initiatives (e.g. the introduction of the strategies in England and non-statutory framework in Wales, for Literacy and Numeracy) or assessments (e.g. Northern Ireland 11+ selection) may result in a (temporary) reduction of emphasis on non-core subjects. Equally, the grouping of pupils by ability (e.g. a selective school system, or streaming/setting within schools) means that some pupils will cover the curriculum in greater depth and breadth than others.

    ‘Timing’ of elements within subjects.

    The individual subject tables provide examples where a subject may be introduced, or treated at greater depth, at an earlier stage in one nation than in another. More generally, the Scottish guidelines allow considerable flexibility for the timing of, say, historical themes within the 5-14 age range. In this example, learning and teaching materials would therefore have to be flexible to allow for their use by learners with different levels of prior learning in both general (reading, writing) and subject-specific terms (e.g. historical enquiry and chronological understanding). The provision of flexible materials to meet different needs is particularly important for classes comprising pupils in more than one age group/key stage.

    Teaching methods and learning styles

    Teaching methods are influenced by the teacher’s own preferred learning style and by his/her ability to adopt alternative styles to meet the needs of the pupils. These variations are not defined by national boundaries, although specific initiatives (e.g. the provision for literacy and numeracy mentioned above) or curricular approaches (e.g. issues-led geography in Northern Ireland) may influence the prevalence of a given style at a given time. Good teachers develop a range of methods, to be adopted and adapted according to the needs of their pupils, and the materials developed should support them in this work.

    Materials

    The availability of commercial reading schemes, textbooks and electronic materials affect teaching content and method. The same applies to central or local initiatives, especially where they are accompanied by teachers’ professional development programmes (e.g. the development of a scheme of work and associated resources; non-English-medium materials). Good learning materials and training help teachers to provide a wider range of learning experiences to support their pupils’ learning and/or consolidation. They may also enable teachers to include elements from subject areas outside their personal specialism, and thus reinforce the transfer of learning.

    5. Impact of differences on materials development

    This review has identified differences between the four nations in terms of educational structure, curriculum structure, and the approach and content of individual subjects. Other school characteristics (e.g. size, rural/urban, selective/comprehensive, denominational), influence teachers’ access to, and choice of, materials. However, this section will focus on the impact of differences which are relevant to the production of learning and teaching materials for use by teachers and learners in the four nations.

    5.1 Educational Structure

    Duration of compulsory education, starting and transfer ages

    These differences in educational structure have little relevance for the content of learning materials. However, if access to the materials is by means of key stages, phases (primary, secondary) or grades, then separate ‘packaging’ will be required for the different nations.

    Selection/homogenous teaching groups

    No two classes are the same and schools differ in the extent to which they (are able to) create homogenous teaching groups. Well indexed, modular materials facilitate access by teachers and learners to support whole-class, group, or individual learning, as well as individual remedial and extension work. The more heterogeneous the teaching group, the more important differentiation and accessibility become.

    Assessments and examination syllabuses

    Whilst there are differences between the syllabuses of different examining bodies, there is much common subject matter. Given the increasing complexity of accreditation pathways, the involvement of the national curriculum and assessment bodies is required to ensure that the different approaches are reflected in the treatment of learning matter. Teachers and learners can identify appropriate learning modules if these are cross-referenced to the particular syllabuses.

    5.2 Curriculum

    Status of curricula

    The status of curricula (whether statutory or advisory) is not a relevant issue for materials development. It is the content (knowledge, skills and understanding), and progression of learning that determine the scope and sequence of learning materials.

    Medium of instruction

    This is the single most significant difference between the nations, and requires the production of materials for different purposes and target groups, as follows:

  • materials to help pupils learn Welsh, Irish, Gàidhlig or English as a first language

  • materials to help pupils learn Welsh, Irish, Gaelic or English as a second language

  • materials to help pupils learn other subjects through the medium of Welsh, Irish, Gaelic, or English, as a first or second language. It is important to recognise that pupils’ knowledge and understanding may exceed their linguistic ability. Many pupils have become demotivated in modern language lessons because their conversations are constrained by their limited mastery of the foreign language

  • materials to support teachers, for whom Welsh, Irish, or Gaelic is not their first language. The numbers of bilingual teachers available may not match the expansion of bilingual education and of Welsh, Irish, or Gaelic as a second language.

  • These materials would need to build on existing curriculum guidance and materials(15).

    Interactive materials offer unique potential for providing additional English language support ‘on demand’, analogous to the signing or subtitles for learners whose hearing is impaired. Such support would, incidentally, support all learners for whom English is not their first language.

    Language variation

    Pupils’ learning and understanding of language can be enriched by access to materials that reflect the language, accents, and dialects of all four nations. This applies to the selection of written texts and of voices from different regions, for materials intended for learners throughout the four nations (as in networked mainstream broadcasting). However, clarity is important and some accents and expressions may require explanation for learners within as well as outside the relevant region. For example, as there is no standard form of Scots, even learners in Scotland may need ‘translation’.

    Subject range and time allocation

    The status of citizenship as a separate subject for pupils in Key Stage 3 and 4 is unique to England at present. However, citizenship education is likely to be more clearly defined in the other three nations following curricular changes(16) and the desire to reflect the political/constitutional changes in all four nations, resulting from devolution. In the meantime, there are many common elements in terms of content, although they are ‘located’ in other subject areas. The production of flexible, clearly indexed modules will facilitate their use by teachers in different contexts.

    With relatively few exceptions, the curricular emphasis (time allocation), content, and progression in the remaining disciplines are sufficiently similar to allow for the production of common materials (but see integration and approach below).

    Integration or separation of subjects

    The differences between the two ends of the continuum (England and Scotland) are not as great as they appear. Separate programmes of learning for the constituent subjects within Environmental Studies (Scotland) differentiate between history, geography, science, social studies, and technology. It is only the ‘development of informed attitudes’ that obviously transcends the boundaries. Insofar as primary school teachers (in all four nations) are generalists, different subject strands may be drawn together through integrated, project based work. In fact, some curriculum documents explicitly cross-refer to related topics in other subject areas. However, as the subject matter becomes more complex (usually at secondary school level) specialist teachers take over, and the degree of informal integration may be lost.

    Research in Northern Ireland has shown that there is very little transfer of learning across the subject boundaries, despite curriculum plans(17). This may be due to a primary school teachers’ lack of specialist knowledge and confidence, and insufficient breadth of knowledge beyond their specialists subject in the case of secondary teachers. Appropriate materials can add depth for the generalist and breadth for the specialist, helping them both to reinforce learning by promoting its transfer across subject boundaries.

    Curriculum approach, range and depth

    However, even where there is common content, approaches may differ. The materials will need to offer a range of approaches to learning to reflect and support, for example, content-led, issues-led and skills-led curricula, and consultation with specialists from the four nations is essential to ensure that these differences are appropriately addressed.

    The numeracy and literacy strategies in Key Stage 1 in England. and the high profile given to English/Welsh and mathematics through the frameworks in Wales, have temporarily reduced the amount of time devoted to history, geography, design and technology, art, music and PE. The materials produced to support these strategies may lend themselves to exploitation in other classrooms. Materials for other subjects (e.g. history or geography, art and music) may provide suitable examples of non-fiction texts that help learners to extend their practice in language, whilst reinforcing their work towards the attainment targets in other subjects.

    Individual subjects

    Care needs to be taken to ensure that the specific national dimensions identified in Curriculum Cymreig, and in curriculum documents for Northern Ireland (Celtic culture) and Scotland (Scots and Gaelic culture) are integrated into curriculum materials. In some instances, this may require nation-specific modules to be prepared. However, the subjects where most stress is laid on national content (language and literature, history and geography) are also those where interactive materials could contribute an additional dimension or a fresh perspective. The Key Stage 4 recommended reading lists for England include a number of works by non-English authors and poets. Similarly, teacher choice in Wales is guided by criteria for selection of texts. The production of common materials, which are informed by the insight of teachers from their ‘home’ nation, may promote and enrich the study of ‘national’ authors by learners throughout the UK. The involvement of teachers from all nations would enable materials to reflect the different perceptions of events or issues, such as the Act of Union, devolution, the European Union and the role of the Monarchy. This would help learners to distinguish between personal and national responses, and to explore the emergence of stereotypes.

    Local studies (e.g. in history, or for geography field work) that focus on a particular area, would require separate materials, which may be produced at the level of individual or clusters of schools.

    ‘Timing’ of elements within subjects.

    The only significant example of (potential) mismatch is in history. More information is needed on the timing of historical themes in Scottish schools.

    Religious education

    Religious education is compulsory in all four nations, although parents are entitled to withdraw their children from instruction. In Wales, there are no guidelines, as the syllabus is locally determined, in consultation with the Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education (SACRE). In England, draft non-statutory guidelines have just been issued, to support the negotiation of local syllabuses with SACREs. Both Northern Ireland and Scotland offer curriculum guidance. These three nations all address three dimensions:

  • what are the beliefs (of the religion being studied)

  • how are they expressed (teachings, rituals, institutional structures)

  • how can the principles be applied to daily life.

  • Whilst Northern Ireland deals solely with Christianity (although it considers a range of Christian religions), the other two include non-Christian religions. However, the documentation does not define which Christian denominations (e.g. Anglicans, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, Methodists, Episcopalians etc.) are to be studied. Given the need to reflect local needs and circumstances, particular care would be required in the preparation of materials for this area of study. Such consultation would also reveal where support materials would be most highly valued. For example, religious education specialists have commented that there are good materials on the non-Christian religions, but there are fewer cross-denominational Christian materials.

    Teaching methods, learning styles and materials

    The BBC materials are intended to support both mediated and independent learning. For maximum flexibility, they need to be accessible and attractive (to motivate learners to use them), structured (to guide the independent learner through the learning process) and ‘signposted’ (so that the teacher/learner chooses the relevant unit for his/her needs and level). It is here that the involvement of curriculum specialists from all four nations is required to cross-reference the learning unit to the Programmes of Study. This is potentially a time-consuming activity, but it is indispensable if non-specialist teachers and independent learners are to extend their learning beyond the most obvious modules.

    Collaboration with teachers from all four nations would also identify and raise awareness of existing high quality materials – allowing the BBC to complement and enhance, rather than duplicate, existing provision.

    5.3 Curriculum Reform

    In the preparation of learning materials, it is important to remember that curricula are subject to constant review and amendment. The curriculum agencies in the four nations meet on a regular basis to discuss changes and developments.

    England has just completed major reforms and ongoing reviews will focus on specific curricular areas, for example, the arts, science, and early years education.

    From September 2000, Programmes of Study for all subjects differ between England and Wales. The National Assembly for Wales has asked ACCAC to offer further advice on the frameworks for personal and social education and work-related education, for September 2002.

    The current curriculum for Northern Ireland was implemented in 1996. The Northern Ireland Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment is conducting, and consulting on, a review of the curriculum. The first phase (Revised aims and objectives, together with a framework for generic skills) has been completed (see Appendix 3). The second phase, a review of subjects and assessments, will start in September 2000. The revised curricula are due to be phased in from September 2002. The production of any learning materials would therefore need to take account of any changes arising from the review.

    Scotland is completing the consultation process on revised guidelines for environmental studies, ICT, health education, modern languages and on the structure and balance of the curriculum. A consultation document on education for citizenship is due to be issued. It is not yet known whether the guidelines for the remaining subjects will be revised.

    6. Conclusion and recommendations

    On the basis of the information which has been made available, there would appear to be sufficient similarities between the curricula to justify the joint production of materials for the four nations. Circumstances of content and teaching method, which require specific attention, are outlined below. However, materials which reflect these differences are not of exclusive interest to teachers and learners within the relevant nations.

    There may be a need for specialised teaching and learning materials to support differences in content arising from

  • language: Gaelic, Irish and Welsh as a first or second language; the teaching of the curriculum, through the medium of these languages and supporting English language development for those whose first language is not English. As indicated above, some materials are already being produced within the nations concerned and existing materials for other non-mother tongue English learners, may also be exploited.

  • national history and culture: e.g. history, literature, geography and the arts

  • the devolution of national powers and responsibilities: e.g. citizenship and related studies.

  • Particular approaches may be more prevalent in one nation rather than another, due to a particular view of the curriculum, or of disciplines within it. Similarly, elements of learning may be approached through different subjects or taught in different ways, to pupils with different levels of prior learning and different short-term targets (e.g. in the case of 11+ pupils). However, such differences may be found within, as well as between, nations.

    On the basis of the analysis, it follows that the focus should be on the production of inclusive materials to be accessible by, and serve the needs of, all four nations rather than exclusive materials, which target the specific needs of just one.

    It is therefore recommended that:

    1. the BBC involve the four Curriculum Agencies at the materials commissioning/production stage, so that existing or planned differences, as well as the specific national dimensions, are addressed and integrated

    2. the BBC develop and pilot the materials for and in all four nations, drawing on the experience and expertise of practising teachers, to ensure that a range of perspectives on content and approaches to learning are reflected

    3. that programmes feature speakers from all regions, with selection determined by clarity rather than accent

    4. that strategies and terms(18) used for ‘indexing’ materials(19) be developed, to lead teachers/learners to a given unit from a range of starting points, so as to

  • guide (non-specialist) teachers and independent learners to any relevant links, allowing them to compile a learning session comprising units from different disciplines, and

  • promote the flexible use of learning units for students of different abilities/levels of development and within different (national, educational) contexts.

  • In this way, the materials would not only build on good educational practice (to cater for different learning styles and teaching methods), but also contribute to the cross-national and mutual understanding objectives expressed in the curricula. Above all, it would allow for optimum use of the materials by teachers, and independent learners, across the four nations.

    Notes

    1. Business studies has not been included, because it only features as a subject in the Northern Ireland Curriculum.

    2. Unfortunately, the concurrent demands of the summer examinations meant that Scottish Qualifications Agency (SQA), responsible for the curriculum for S3 and S4, was unable to provide documentation or respond to the draft.

    3. Some changes have been made following the publication of Scottish Executive (2000) The Structure and Balance of the Curriculum 5-14 National Guidelines.  Edinburgh: Scottish Executive.

    4.   See footnote 2.

    5. At Key Stage 1 and 2, schools are exempt from part of the programmes of study for history, geography, design and technology, art, music and PE to accommodate literacy hours (from September 1998) and numeracy hour (from September 1999).

    6. England: The four general teaching requirements are: Inclusion: providing effective learning opportunities for all pupils, use of language across the curriculum, use of information and communication technology across the curriculum, health and safety.  For details of cross-curricular skills and dimensions, see Table 4.

    7.  Wales: The eight common requirements are: access for all pupils, Curriculum Cymreig, communication skills, mathematical skills, information technology skills, problem-solving skills, creative skills and personal and social education.

    8. Northern Ireland: The three common requirements are: access to the programme of study; language across the curriculum; and equality of opportunity.  The six Educational (cross-curricular) Themes are education for mutual understanding, cultural heritage, information technology, health education and, from age 11, economic awareness and careers education.  For details of cross-curricular skills, see Table 4.

    9.   Scotland: The curriculum is expected to address different learning styles and promote an ethos of achievement.  The five cross-curricular aspects are: personal and social development, education for work, education for citizenship, the culture of Scotland, and information and communications technology.  The five certificated core skills, (communication, numeracy, problem solving, ICT and working with others) can be developed through education for work activities.  See Table 4.

    10. England: In Citizenship, the expected performance for the majority of pupils at the end of Key Stages 3 and 4 is set out in End of Key Stage descriptions.

    11.Six in Scotland, eight in Northern Ireland, and eight (plus a description for exceptional performance above level 8) in England and Wales.

    12. ‘Gaelic Teachers row hits Dewar,’ TES Scotland, 15 September 2000, page 7

    13. Not all the subjects indicated are taught at all ages.

    14. Curriculum Cymreig ensures that pupils are given opportunities, where appropriate, in their study of every curriculum subject, to develop and apply knowledge and understanding of the cultural, economic, environmental, historical and linguistic characteristics of Wales.  Cultural Heritage and Education for Mutual Understanding The curriculum documents for Northern Ireland exemplify, for each curriculum subject, its contribution to developing the learner’s understanding of the Irish cultural heritage and the different perspectives which are held within the community.  Gaelic culture is intended to provide pupils with a sense of personal and cultural identity.  ‘Gaelic is more than a language and pupils should be introduced to matters such as Gaelic music, history, legend, drama and dance from as early an age as possible in a way that is relevant to children’s own lives and experiences.’ (SOED, June 1993a, p. 9)  ‘It should be a central aim of Scottish schools to help their pupils understand that the common experiences, activities, history and artefacts of the people of Scotland constitute an identifiable and distinctive culture, worthy of transmission and study.’  (SOED, 1991, p.68)

    15. For example, separate guidelines exist for Gàidhlig (for native speakers) and Gaelic (for learners).  ACCAC has commissioned materials to support the teaching of Welsh and subjects through the medium of Welsh and the Welsh dimension in all subjects except English.  Irish-medium medium materials are available through the Irish Medium Materials Unit.

    16. For example, the non-statutory Personal and Social Education Framework in Wales, the place of personal education in the reformed Northern Ireland curriculum, the consultation document on education for citizenship in Scotland.

    17. See HARLAND, J. et al (1999a) and HARLAND, J. et al (1999b).

    18. The curriculum agencies are already addressing the issue of common terminology.

    19. A project to ‘map’ the Welsh curriculum is currently being conducted by the NFER

    20. Gàidhlig (for native speakers) and Gaelic (for learners) have separate curricula

    Bibliography

    General context

    EURYDICE (1998). Eurybase: EURYDICE Database on Education in Systems in Europe. On-line at: http://www.eurydice.org/Eurybase/Application/eurybase.htm  28 June, 2000.

    HARLAND, J., ASHWORTH, M., BOWER, R., HOGARTH, S., MONTGOMERY, A. and MOOR, H. (1999a). Real Curriculum: at the Start of Key Stage 3. Report Two from the Northern Ireland Curriculum Cohort Study. Slough: NFER.

    HARLAND, J., KINDER, K., ASHWORTH, M., MONTGOMERY, A., MOOR, H. and WILKIN, A. (1999b). Real Curriculum: at the End of Key Stage 2. Report One from the Northern Ireland Curriculum Cohort Study. Slough: NFER.

    HOLT, G., BOYD, S., DICKINSON, B., LOOSE, J. and O’DONNELL, S. (1999). Education in England, Wales and Northern Ireland: a Guide to the System. Slough: NFER.

    O’DONNELL, S., GREENAWAY, E., LE MÉTAIS, J. and MICKLETHWAITE, C. (2000). INCA: The International Review of Curriculum and Assessment Frameworks Archive. Third edn. London: Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA). Online at: http://www.inca.org.uk 

    England

    New regulations will include criteria to support effective practice.

    DfEE/QCA (1999a) Handbook for Primary Teachers in England. London: DfEE/QCA www.nc.uk.net 

    DfEE/QCA (1999b) Handbook for Secondary Teachers in England. London: DfEE/QCA www.nc.uk.net 

    DfEE/QCA (2000) Curriculum guidance for the Foundation Stage. London: DfEE/QCA

    Non statutory Schemes of Work are available for Key Stages 1-3 in each curriculum area. www.nc.uk.net

    Northern Ireland

    Department of Education Northern Ireland (1996) The Northern Ireland Curriculum Key Stages 1 and 2 Programmes of Study and Attainment Targets. Belfast: DENI. www.deni.gov.uk/nicks/index.htm 

    Department of Education Northern Ireland (1996a) The Northern Ireland Curriculum Key Stages 3 and 4 Programmes of Study and Attainment Targets. Belfast: DENI. www.deni.gov.uk/nicks/index.htm

    CCEA (2000) Proposals for Changes to the Northern Ireland Curriculum Framework. (Northern Ireland Curriculum Review Phase 1 Consultation April - June 2000.) Belfast: CCEA.

    PSE guidance www.ccea.org.uk/pseguidance.htm 

    Mutual Understanding and Cultural Heritage: Cross-curricular Guidance Materials www.ccea.org.uk/emu.htm 

    Home economics guidance materials http://www.ccea.org.uk/pdf/hecong.pdf 

    Scotland

    Scottish Executive (2000). The Structure and Balance of the Curriculum 5-14 National Guidelines. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive.

    Curriculum support materials www.sccc.ac.uk/main/Support/support.html

    Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum (1999). Curriculum Framework for Children 3 to 5. Dundee; Scottish CCC.

    Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum (2000). Structure and Balance of the Curriculum 5-14. National Guidelines Consultation Draft. Dundee: Scottish CCC. http://www.ngflscotland.gov.uk/5-14/guidelines/htmlguidelines/saboc/intropage1.htm

    Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum (1999a). Curriculum Design for the Secondary Stages: Guidelines for Schools. Dundee: Scottish CCC.

    Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum (1999b). Environmental Studies 5-14 Society, Science and Technology. National Guidelines Consultation Draft. Dundee Scottish CCC. http://www.ngflscotland.gov.uk/5-14/guidelines/htmlguidelines/environmental/page3.htm

    Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum (1999g). Report on the preliminary consultation on Environmental Studies 5-14. Dundee: Scottish CCC. www.sccc.ac.uk/main/resources/PrelEnvStud.html 

    Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum (1999c). Health Education 5-14. National Guidelines Consultation Draft. Dundee: Scottish CCC. http://www.ngflscotland.gov.uk/5-14/guidelines/htmlguidelines/health/intropage1.htm

    Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum (1999d). Information and Communications Technology 5-14. National Guidelines Consultation Draft. Dundee: Scottish CCC. http://www.ngflscotland.gov.uk/5-14/guidelines/htmlguidelines/ict/intropage1.htm

    Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum (1999e). Modern Languages 5-14. National Guidelines Consultation Draft. Dundee: Scottish CCC.

    Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum (1999f). The School Curriculum and the Culture of Scotland. A Paper for Discussion and Consultation. Dundee: Scottish CCC.

    Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum (1998). Advanced Calculators and Mathematics Education: A Paper for Discussion and Consultation. Dundee: Scottish CCC.

    The Scottish Office Education Department (1991-93). National Guidelines 5-14. Edinburgh: SOED.

    The Scottish Office Education Department (June 1991). Curriculum and Assessment in Scotland National Guidelines: English Language 5-14. Edinburgh: SOED.

    The Scottish Office Education Department (June 1993a). Curriculum and Assessment in Scotland National Guidelines: Gaelic 5-14. The Scottish Office Education Department. Edinburgh: SOED.

    The Scottish Office Education Department (June 1993b). Curriculum and Assessment in Scotland National Guidelines: Personal and Social Development 5-14. Edinburgh SOED.

    The Scottish Office Education Department (November 1992). Curriculum and Assessment in Scotland National Guidelines: Religious and Moral Education 5-14. Edinburgh: SOED.

    The Scottish Office Education Department (November 1992a). Curriculum and Assessment in Scotland National Guidelines: Reporting 5-14: Promoting Partnership. Edinburgh SOED.

    The Scottish Office Education Department (October 1991). Curriculum and Assessment in Scotland National Guidelines: Assessment 5-14. Edinburgh: SOED.

    Wales

    National Assembly for Wales (2000). National Curriculum Orders. see: http://www.accac.org.uk/publications/ncorders.html

    Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales (ACCAC) (2000). Personal and Social Education Framework. Cardiff: ACCAC.

    Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales (ACCAC) (2000). The School Curriculum in Wales. Cardiff: ACCAC.

    Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales (ACCAC) (2000). Work-Related Education Framework. Cardiff: ACCAC.(only through Internet Explorer)

    APPENDIX 1 Curriculum Tables

    (Note: compulsory subjects in Roman, non statutory subjects/areas in italics. See also Table 4.

    Table 1: Key Stages 1 and 2 (England, Wales, N Ireland) and Primary 1-7 (Scotland)

    England

    Age 5-11  Yrs 1-6

    Wales

    Age 5-11  Yrs 1-6

    N Ireland

    Age 4-11  Yrs 1-7

    Scotland

    Age 5-12  P1-7

    curriculum areas

    English (incl. literature and drama)

    English incl literature

    (Yrs 1-2 not statutory in Welsh-speaking classes)

    English incl literature

    (Assessment is not compulsory during Yrs 1-3 in Irish-medium schools)

    Language incl English, Gàidhlig/Gaelic(20) and a modern foreign language

    min 20% of available time

     

    Welsh as first or second language (incl. literature)

    Irish, in Irish-medium schools

    MFL not statutory at this Key Stage.  Guidelines available for schools which offer MFL

    MFL not statutory at this Key Stage

    MFL not statutory at this Key Stage

    Mathematics

    Mathematics

    Mathematics

    Mathematics

    min 15% of available time

    Science (incl drugs ed)

    Science

    Science and Technology

    Environmental Studies:

    Society, Science and Technology, Health

    min 15% of available time

    Design & Technology

    Technology (Orders for Design & Technology and Information Technology)

    History

    History

    History and Geography (the Environment and Society Area of Study)

    Geography

    Geography

    Information and Communication Technology

    Information Technology (separate Order under Technology)

    CC: Information Technology

    Information and Communication Technology (embedded in the curriculum or using some flexible time)

    Art and design (incl. craft: 2D 3D and digital)

    Art

    Art and Design, Music and Physical Education (the Creative and Expressive Area of Study)

    Expressive arts and physical education

    min 15% of available time

    Music

    Music

    Physical Education

    Physical Education

    Religious Education

    Non statutory guidance

    Religious Education

    Religious Education

    Religious and moral education

    (15% for RME, personal and social development and health)

    Sex education see Table 4

    Sex education see Table 4

     

    20% flexible time

    England: The National Literacy and Numeracy Strategies (designed to raise standards in all primary schools in England). Published frameworks for teaching literacy and mathematics offer detailed objectives for planning and teaching the sections of the English programmes of study for reading and writing and all sections of the programmes of study for mathematics for pupils aged five to 11. See footnote 1 for exemptions. In teaching the literacy framework, some aspects of speaking and listening are also covered. As well as implementing fully the literacy Framework for teaching, schools must take care to cover the whole of the speaking and listening section of the English programmes of study for Key Stages 1 and 2.By implementing fully the Framework for teaching mathematics, schools will fulfil their statutory duty in relation to the National Curriculum subject of mathematics for Key Stages 1 and 2.

    Wales: National Literacy and Numeracy Frameworks provide guidance and the emphasis on English/Welsh and mathematics have put pressure on other National Curriculum subjects.

    Northern Ireland: Note that the curriculum is currently undergoing reform. See Appendix 3.

    Scotland: Flexible time offers schools scope to include activities which reflect own needs and circumstances e.g. to enhance or reinforce particular curriculum areas, to add syllabus inserts or special courses with a focus on core skills, including PSD and health education, for learning support and enrichment and supported study; for first level guidance and profiling activities; for whole school activities such as educational visits etc.

    Table 2: Key Stage 3 (England, Wales, N Ireland) and Secondary S1-S2 (Scotland)

    (Note: compulsory subjects in Roman, non statutory subjects/areas in italics) See also Table 4.

    England

    Age 11-14  Yrs 7-9

    Wales

    Age 11-14  Yrs 7-9

    N Ireland

    Age 11-14  Yrs 8-10

    Scotland

    Age 12-14  Yrs 8-9

    curriculum areas

    English (incl. literature, drama)

    English incl literature

    English incl literature

    Language incl English, Gàidhlig/Gaelic and a modern foreign language

    min 20% of the available time

     

    Welsh as first or second language

    Irish, in Irish-medium schools

    A modern foreign language (one of 19)

    A modern foreign languages

    French or German or Italian or Spanish or Irish (the Modern Languages Area of Study);

    Mathematics

    Mathematics

    Mathematics

    Mathematics

    min 10% of the available time

    Science (incl drugs ed)

    Science

    Science and technology and design

    Environmental Studies:

    Society, Science and

    Technology, Health

    min 30% of the available time

    Design & Technology

    (incl. food and textiles)

    Technology (Orders for Design & Technology and Information Technology)

    History

    History

    History and Geography (the Environment and Society Area of Study)

    Geography

    Geography

    Information and Communication Technology

    Information Technology (separate Order under Technology and a common requirement for all subjects)

    CC: Information Technology

    Information and Communication technology (embedded in the curriculum or using some flexible time)

    Art and design

    (incl. craft: 2D, 3D, digital)

    Art

    Art and Design, Music and Physical Education (the Creative and Expressive Area of Study)

    Expressive arts and physical education

    min 15% of the available time

    Music

    Music

    Physical Education

    Physical Education

    Citizenship

    statutory from August 2002.

    Non statutory (see Table 4)

    CC: Ed for Mutual Understanding,

    CC: Cultural Heritage

     

    Religious Education

    Non statutory guidance

    Religious Education

    Religious Education

    Religious and moral education

    min 5% of the available time

    Sex education: see Table 4

    Sex education and careers education: see Table 4

     

    Flexible time 20%

    Religious education is compulsory but parents may withdraw their children wholly or partly from RE classes.

    Northern Ireland: Note that the curriculum is currently undergoing reform. .

    Table 3: Key Stage 4 (England, Wales, N Ireland) and Secondary S3-S4 (Scotland)

    (Note: compulsory subjects in Roman, non statutory subjects/areas in italics) See also Table 4.

    England

    Age 14-16  Yrs 10-11

    Wales

    Age 14-16  Yrs 10-11

    N Ireland

    Age 14-16  Yrs 11-12

    Scotland

    Age 14-16  Yrs 10-11

    Curricular modes

    English (incl. literature and drama)

    English incl literature

    English incl literature

    Language and Communication incl English and a modern foreign language (or, for some pupils: Gàidhlig/ Gaelic, Urdu, Latin or Classical Greek)

    360 hrs over 2 years

     

    Welsh as first or second language 

    Irish, in Irish-medium schools

    A modern foreign language

    Modern foreign languages optional

    French or German or Italian or Spanish or Irish

    Mathematics

    (Foundation and Higher)

    Mathematics

    Mathematics

    Mathematical Studies

    200 hrs over two years

    Science (incl drugs ed)

    Science (Single)

    Science and technology

    Scientific Studies and Applications Choice from: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, General Science

    160 hrs over 2 years

    Design & Technology

    Design & Technology optional

    Technological Activities and Applications Choice from: Computing, Craft and Design, Graphic Communication, Technological Studies

    80 hrs over 2 years

    Information and Communication technology

    Information technology optional

    CC: Information Technology

    History optional

    History optional

    one of Business Studies; Economics; Geography; History; Home Economics; Political studies; or Social and environmental studies

    Social and Environmental Studies Choice from: Contemp Social Studies, Economics, History, Geography, Modern Studies  160 hrs over 2 years

    Geography optional

    Geography optional

    Art and design optional

    (incl. craft: two and three dimension and digital)

    Art optional

    Art and design optional

    Creative and Aesthetic Activities Choice from: Art and Design, Drama, Music, or relevant Short Courses

    80 hrs over 2 years

    Music optional

    Music optional

    Music optional

     

     

    Drama optional

    Physical Education

    Physical Education

    Physical Education

    PE (PE or relevant Short Courses)

    80 hrs over 2 years

    Citizenship

    statutory from August 2002.

     

    Non statutory (see Table 4)

    CC: Ed for Mutual Understanding

    CC: Cultural Heritage

    CC: Economic Awareness

    A discussion/consultation document on education for citizenship is due to be published in September 2000

    Religious Education

    Non statutory guidance

    Religious Education

    Religious Education

    Religious and Moral Education (R Studies or relevant Short Courses) 80 hrs over 2 years

    Sex education: see Table 4

    Sex education and careers education: see Table 4

     

    Flexible time approx 30%

     

    England: From August 2000, new regulations will be introduced to allow schools to provide courses in design and technology, modern foreign languages and science which lead to specified qualifications but which may not fully cover the programmes of study. Also, schools may disapply up to two National Curriculum subjects (from design and technology, modern foreign languages or science) for work-related learning or (from design and technology and/or modern foreign languages) for particular pupils.

    Northern Ireland: Note that the curriculum is currently undergoing reform. Northern Ireland has adopted an issues-led approach to the teaching of several subjects e.g. geography, history.

    Scotland: From 1999 the term National Qualifications covers Standard Grade, National Certificate and Short Courses provision along with qualifications arising from Higher Still developments (National Units, National Courses, National Clusters (at Access level) and Scottish Group Awards). Most pupils take 7 or 8 Standard Grade courses. Some schools offer certificated Short Courses. These are available in over ten subject areas, the highest uptake being for courses in the Creative and Aesthetic Arts, and in Religious and Moral Education. From session 1999/2000 schools have also been able to offer National Units and National Courses (arising from Higher Still developments) in S3/S4. All pupils in S3/S4 should study one of the subjects listed under 'Technological Activities and Applications' for a minimum of 80 hours over two years and may take a second of these as an elective. Approximately two-thirds of S3/S4 pupils take a full 160-hour course in a subject in this category.

    Table 4: Cross-curricular themes, common requirements, key/core skills and personal, social and health education.

    Note: compulsory subjects/elements in Roman, non statutory subjects/areas in italics. The relationships between different skills and aspects have been created by the author to facilitate comparability between countries. They do not reflect the relative importance or relationships within national curricula or guidelines.

    England

    Wales

    N Ireland

    Scotland

    Common requirements are Inclusion, Use of language across the curriculum; Use of information and communication technology across the curriculum; Health and safety. 

    Common requirements are embedded in the National Curriculum, shown in Roman

     

    Common requirements are: access to the programme of study, language across the curriculum and equality of opportunity.

    Common requirements are response to different learning styles and the promotion of an ethos of achievement. 

    6 key skills which are embedded in the National Curriculum

    5 key skills are incorporated in the common requirements and in PSE (italics indicates aspects subsumed under common requirements)

    6 cross curricular themes (CC) are woven through the main subjects of the NI curriculum.  Personal and social skills are also integrated.

    5 certificated core skills (in bold), 5 cross-curricular aspects (CCA)

     

    Curriculum Cymreig

    CC: Cultural heritage

    CCA the culture of Scotland and Gaelic studies

    Communication

    Communication skills

     

    Communication and media education

    Application of number

    Mathematical skills

    CC: Economic awareness

    Numeracy

    Information technology

    Information technology skills

    CC: Information technology

    Information Technology and CCA ICT

    Working with others

    Working with others

    CC: Education for mutual understanding

    Working with others

    Improving own learning and performance

    Improving own learning and performance

     

    Learning and thinking and  personal skills in PSD

    Problem solving

    Problem solving skills

     

    Problem solving

    Thinking skills

    Information-processing, reasoning, enquiry, creative thinking, evaluation

    Information-processing, reasoning, enquiry, creative thinking and evaluation skills

     

    Learning and thinking skills

    Promoting other aspects of the school curriculum:

    Personal and social education

     

    CCA Personal and social development (PSD)

    Financial capability

    (e.g. in maths)

    Financial capability

    (e.g. in maths) and PSE

    From age 11 CC: Economic Awareness (e.g. in maths)

    SCCC has published non-statutory national advice

    Enterprise education

    careers education (PSHE)

    Work related education and PSE; Careers education

    From age 11

    CC: Careers Education

    CCA education for work

    Education for sustainable development (e.g. in science, geography)

    Education for sustainable development (e.g. in science, geography)

    CC Economic awareness (e.g. in science, geography)

    Education for sustainable development

    Framework for personal/social and health education (PSHE)

    Confidence/responsibility and making the most of their abilities

    Personal social education (PSE) framework

    CC: Health education

    Health education

    Personal skills in PSD  People in Society

    Framework for PSHE

    Healthy, safe lifestyle, including drugs education

    Health education in PSE, science, PE

    CC: Health education

    Home economics

    science

    Health education: comprising physical, emotional and social health and health promotion

    Sex education (Schools must provide and keep up to date a written statement of their policy on sex education - parents can withdraw their children)

    Sex education (schools must provide policy) and in PSE and science

    In the Science programme, CC Health education

     

    Framework for PSHE

    Good relationships and respecting differences

    Personal social education (PSE) framework

    CC: Education for Mutual Understanding;

    CC: Cultural Heritage. 

    Home economics

    Health education

    Interpersonal skills in PSD  People in Society

    Framework for PSHE includes (at KS 1-2) and complements citizenship (which becomes statutory for KS 3 and KS 4 from 2002)

    Citizenship is part of PSE

    CC: Education for Mutual Understanding

    CCA education for citizenship

    Notes

    England: Key skills help learners to improve their learning and performance in education, work and life. Thinking skills help pupils focus on ‘knowing how’ as well as ‘knowing what’ – learning how to learn. Key and complementary thinking skills are embedded in the NC.

    Wales: Curriculum Cymreig ensures that pupils are given opportunities, where appropriate, in their study of every curriculum subject, to develop and apply knowledge and understanding of the cultural, economic, environmental, historical and linguistic characteristics of Wales. The National Assembly for Wales has approved non-statutory frameworks for Personal and Social Education (PSE) (age 5-16) and Work-Related Education (14-19) for use in schools from September 2000.

    Northern Ireland: Note that the curriculum is currently undergoing reform, see Appendix 3. Personal Education (PE), employability and citizenship are the focus of considerable attention.

    Scotland: Personal and Social Development (PSD) is fostered through: dispositions, skills, capabilities, knowledge and ideas and essential experiences, which are incorporated within all areas, courses and activities. The five core skills can be developed through education for work activities.

    This document was added to the Education-line database on 06 May 2004