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Background to Michael Gove’s response to the Report of the Expert Panel for the National Curriculum Review in England

On 11th June 2012, Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Education, published a letter in response to the Final Report of the Expert Panel for the National Curriculum Review in England. Mary James, BERA President, was a member of the Expert Panel along with Tim Oates, Andrew Pollard and Dylan Wiliam. The response of the Secretary of State at this time relates only to the primary curriculum; a further letter on the secondary curriculum is expected in due course. Draft Programmes of Study for primary English, mathematics and science are also published for consultation.

For clarity it is important to distinguish the work of the Expert Panel from the work of the DFE in developing of Programmes of Study. Briefly, the Expert Panel’s Report, which was published in December 2011, provided advice on the framework for the National Curriculum. The Expert Panel as a whole was not involved in the development of the specific draft Programmes of Study and was not asked to endorse them.

As President of an Association with an interest in the application of research and use of evidence for the improvement of education and the public benefit, Mary James was pleased to work with policy makers on the review of the National Curriculum in England. Inevitably there were some tensions, and it seems appropriate, in a democracy, to place on the public record some of the debates that characterised the work.

In a spirit of openness, and for furtherance of the dialogue encouraged by the consultation, an exchange of letters and a brief factual commentary has been deposited on the BERA website. These can be accessed below.

Press Coverage

Times Educational Supplement

The Observer