curriculum announcement February 2013


We explain some of the outcomes from Michael Gove's 7 February 2013 statement on the future of the curriculum, exams and accountability reforms.

It was already widely known that Gove wanted to ‘slim down’ the curriculum and focus on ‘essential knowledge’ . It was thought that he would end competition between the exam boards by having just one wholly new board, however he admitted “this was a bridge too far” and would not push ahead with this particular proposal. He is however committed to the reform of GCSE’s and A levels with an end of course exam and minimum internal assessment. The move to retain GCSE’s and scrap the bringing in of English Baccalaureate Certificates, in some subjects, was welcomed by many bodies.

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) stated “We have never believed that GCSE is beyond repair and have been urging the government for many months not to abandon it. It is encouraging that the secretary of state has listened to the voices from all sides that have urged him to think again.”.

The National Union of Teachers echoed this stating “This is really good news. Michael Gove has for once listened to sense. The English Baccalaureate Certificates were universally condemned by everyone…”

Gove’s reform of the national curriculum included a move to ensure that local authority schools have the same freedoms as academies and Free schools, in that the whole curriculum should not be determined by the national curriculum.

In respect of accountability reform, a consultation will consider a new portal which would clearly set out schools financial plans and illustrate the quality of the education they provide. New performance indicators will also be established to guide this process and aid understanding.