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Politics and Government: Education

Question for Department for Education

UIN 55617, tabled on 30 November 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance her Department provides to schools on teaching pupils about current affairs within the curriculum.

Answered on

8 December 2016

All schools are required to teach a balanced and broadly based curriculum that promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils, and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. The National Curriculum sets out the subjects and programmes of study which must be taught to children of compulsory school age in maintained schools in England. It serves an important purpose in setting out an example of a knowledge-based, ambitious, academically rigorous education which every child should experience. If autonomous academies or Multi-Academy Trusts wish to deliver the National Curriculum in their schools, they can do so confidently. We want academies to use their freedoms to innovate and build more stretching and tailored curricula, to meet the particular needs of their pupils.

The new National Curriculum, taught from September 2014, focuses on the essential knowledge that pupils should acquire during their time at school so that teachers can design a wider school curriculum that best meets the needs of their pupils. The programmes of study for citizenship set out that teaching should equip pupils with the knowledge to explore political and social issues critically, to weigh evidence, debate and make reasoned arguments. Beyond the prescribed curriculum, schools have the freedom to teach topics, such as current affairs, to ensure that children receive a rounded education.