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News - 16 April 2013

Business leaders raise concern over science curriculum

The CBI claim the "sheer scale of prescription" in the new science curriculum will leave pupils in England little time for practical experiments and that teenagers will only develop a serious interest in science if they have the chance to get hands-on experience in the subject.

The CBI's comments come on the day a consultation into the government's new draft national curriculum closes.

The CBI also raised concerns about new proposals for design and technology lessons, saying the plans "lacked academic or technical rigour" and were "out of step with the needs of a modern economy".

Neil Carberry, the CBI's director of employment and skills, said: "Business demand for science, maths and technology skills has long outstripped supply. It risks squeezing out space for practical, hands-on experiments, which are vital to help children develop an interest in science from the start of school.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said:
"The new national curriculum is far less prescriptive and in fact is almost half the size of the current curriculum - 242 pages down from 468. We trust teachers to use their expertise and creativity to shape the curriculum to the needs of their pupils. Our reforms also mean that academies and free schools can choose whether they want to follow this curriculum or develop their own, using the best ideas from anywhere in the world to help."

But Shadow schools minister Kevin Brennan said: "It's a huge embarrassment to [Education Secretary] Michael Gove that business leaders are sounding the alarm about his out-of-date curriculum.

Lavinia Newman, founder of ABDS comments:
“The new curriculum outlines proposals for children to be taught a chronological history of Britain, to begin to write simple computer programs at age five and to learn the names of continents, oceans, countries and geographic features, as well as how to use maps and compasses in geography lessons. It contains plans for pupils to be taught fractions, grammar and how to recite poetry from an early age.”

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