Circular 14/77 (1977)

This circular invited local authorities to 'assemble relevant information and to report the results to the Secretaries of State by 30 June 1978.

Circular 14/77 was prepared for the web by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 15 July 2017.


Circular 14/77 (1977)
Local Education Authority Arrangements for the School Curriculum

Department of Education and Science
London: 1977
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.


Circular 14/77
(Department of Education and Science)

Circular 185/77
(Welsh Office)
29 November 1977

Joint Circular from the

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND SCIENCE, ELIZABETH HOUSE, YOR K ROAD, LONDON SEl 7PH AND

WELSH OFFICE, CATHAYS PARK, CARDIFF

LOCAL EDUCATION AUTHORITY ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE SCHOOL CURRICULUM

1. The Green Paper "Education in Schools" (Cmnd. 6869) announced the Secretaries of State's intention of asking all local education authorities to carry out, in consultation with their teachers, a review of curricular arrangements in their areas. This Circular invites authorities to assemble relevant information and to report the results to the Secretaries of State by 30 June 1978.

2. As the Green Paper explained, the proper functioning of the education system in England and Wales depends on the effective co-operation of the schools, their teachers and their governors and managers; the local education authorities; and the Secretaries of State with their departments and HM Inspectorate. The Secretaries of State have no intention of changing this position, which reflects the provisions of the Education Acts. At the same time they recognise the legitimate interest of others - parents, industry and commerce, for example - in the work of the schools.

3. They consider however that the time is right to seek systematic information about curricular arrangements in local authority areas throughout England and Wales. This will enable the Secretaries of State to assess how far the practice of local education authorities meets national needs and will assist in the preparation of future educational plans, particularly for the training, recruitment and employment of teachers. The information collected will also be of value to their partners in the education system and to the Schools Council. The Secretaries of State, after examining the information collected, will engage in further consultations with the local education authorities, the teachers, and the Schools Council. They expect to be able to identify examples of good practice which can be commended for wider adoption.

4. It would be impracticable to seek detailed information about all aspects of school curricula and related education authority activities. Authorities are therefore asked to provide information relevant to selected issues under the broad headings listed below. Reports should include information about planned developments as well as the present position.

A. LOCAL CURRICULAR ARRANGEMENTS

Authorities are asked to describe the procedures they have established for carrying out their responsibilities under Section 23 of the Education Act 1944. It is recognised that authorities may have adopted widely varying practices. Reports should include information about the kind of guidance on curricular matters offered to schools, the part played by their own inspectors and advisers and teachers in formulating such guidance and the part played by the managers and governors of schools.

B. CURRICULAR BALANCE AND BREADTH

Authorities are asked to report on arrangements in their areas for promoting balance and breadth in school curricula, and in particular on any advice given to schools on how best to reconcile the claims of curricular elements such as the understanding of our multi-racial society, careers education, health education, moral education, and the development of links with the wider community, on the one hand, and the basic educational skills on the other. Reports should include reference to help given to secondary schools with arrangements for subject options, the protection at all levels of curriculum elements regarded as essential for all pupils during the period of compulsory schooling, and specialisation in sixth forms.

C. PARTICULAR SUBJECT AREAS

Authorities are asked to report on their policies for English, mathematics, modern languages, science, and religious education. Specific reference is made to these subject areas because they have given rise to recent discussion and concern; it does not follow that other subject areas are considered to be less important. Reports should indicate the extent to which the policies have been successfully implemented and what have been the main difficulties.

D. TRANSITION BETWEEN SCHOOLS

Authorities are asked to describe arrangements for ensuring continuity when pupils move from school to school within a local authority area. Reports should include information about any organised arrangements there may be for co-operation between the teachers and the schools concerned, and the use of school records or other ways of passing relevant information from school to school. Information relating to transition from school to further education is sought under section F.

E. SCHOOL RECORDS

Authorities are asked to report on arrangements in their areas for ensuring that satisfactory records of the educational progress of all individual pupils are maintained in their schools, and on policies with regard to the content of such records and the extent to which the information recorded is made available outside the school.

F. PREPARATION FOR WORKING LIFE

Authorities are asked to report on arrangements in their areas for the establishment of suitable links between schools and local industry, including local trades unions, and between schools and local colleges of further and higher education, and on the opportunities provided for work experience and work observation. They are also asked to report on policy in their areas for careers education, the appointment of careers teachers, and relations with the careers service. Finally, in view of the importance of understanding more about industry, they are asked to report on what steps are taken to encourage economic and political education in their schools.

G. WELSH LANGUAGE

Local education authorities in Wales are asked to report on policies for the teaching of Welsh and its use as a medium of instruction.

5. Authorities are asked to prepare their report by reference to the questions set out in the Annex to this Circular. Use of this list will facilitate analysis of the reports and will also help to make clear to authorities what information is being sought. In addition, any wider contributions which authorities may wish to submit on any of these matters will be welcome. It is of course for each local education authority to decide how best to prepare its report. The Secretaries of State expect, however, that their arrangements will include consultations with appropriate local representatives of the teachers' associations and the diocesan authorities and that subsequently there will be further consultations with these bodies about any action which may result from the review. It is hoped that local organisations representing industry and commerce among others will also be involved in these consultations.

6. The emphasis is on issues of general concern rather than on pupils with exceptional needs, or on problems of particular importance for some authorities. In consequence the wording of this Circular does not refer to matters of this kind; it is nonetheless recognised that they have an important bearing on curricular arrangements in some areas. Where this is the case, authorities are asked to include appropriate information in their reports about both the special circumstances and the authority's response in terms of curricular arrangements. The Secretaries of State intend to include consideration of special circumstances of this kind in their consultations with local education authorities, the teachers and the Schools Council on the information assembled in response to this Circular.

7. Officers of the Education Departments and members of HM Inspectorate will be glad to discuss with officers of local authorities any questions which arise from this Circular and which would help them complete their reports. Enquiries should in the first instance be addressed to Mr RH Stone, Department of Education and Science, Elizabeth House, York Road, SE1 7PH, or Mr LH Hayward, Welsh Education Office, 31 Cathedral Road, Cardiff CF1 9UJ.


JA HAMILTON


OWEN REES

ANNEX

Authorities are asked, when responding to the questions below, to distinguish as appropriate between primary, middle and secondary schools and age-ranges of pupils; and to refer as appropriate to further education. Attention is called to paragraph 6 of the covering Circular, where Authorities are asked to provide information as appropriate about particular local circumstances and needs and their response to them; the questions are necessarily phrased without reference to local variations. Separate questions are included about some subject areas because they have given rise to recent discussion and concern; it does not follow that other subject areas are considered to be less important. It would be helpful if the response to each question could be set out on a separate sheet of paper.

A. LOCAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE CO-ORDINATION OF SCHOOL CURRICULA AND ANY PLANS FOR DEVELOPMENT

A1. What procedures have the authority established to enable them to carry out their curricular responsibilities under Section 23 of the Education Act 1944?

A2. What systematic arrangements, if any, have the authority established for the collection of information about the curricula offered by schools in their area?

A3. How do the authority, where appropriate, develop policy on matters relating to school curricula? In particular, what part is played in making and carrying out such policy by (j) local authority inspectors or advisers, (ii) teachers?

A4. How do the authority arrange for governors and managers of schools to playa part in curricular matters?

A5. What support do the authority offer to schools wishing to engage in curricular initiatives or to adopt new curricular ideas, including those deriving from Schools Council work, in terms of (a) advisory services, (b) financial aid, (c) in-service training, (d) other help?

A6. What local curriculum development work have the authority initiated since January 1974?

A7. What steps have the authority taken to help schools comply, so far as curriculum is concerned, with the provisions and intentions of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975?

B. CURRICULAR BALANCE AND BREADTH
B1. How do the authority help schools decide on the relative emphasis they should give to particular aspects of the curriculum, especially the promotion of literacy and numeracy?

B2. How do the authority help primary schools make appropriate provision for pupils who by the age of 8 have made relatively slow progress in learning to read and write or to use number?

B3. What contribution have the authority made to the consideration of the problem faced by secondary schools, of providing suitable subject options for older pupils while avoiding the premature dropping of curricular elements regarded as essential for all pupils?

B4. What curricular elements do the authority regard as essential?

B5. How do the authority help secondary schools provide for (i) moral education, (ii) health education, (iii) careers education, (iv) social education through community links, etc whilst giving adequate attention to the basic educational skills? What part is played by the idea of a core or protected part of the curriculum?

B6. How do the authority help schools promote racial understanding?

B7. What kind of help do the authority give secondary schools with the planning of sixth form curricula? Is there a policy for the provision for minority subjects, for example within groups of schools or within an area?

B8. What special provision do the authority make for children whose mother tongue is not English?

C. PARTICULAR SUBJECT AREAS

In this section particularly (but also in others) authorities may wish to refer in' their answers to work carried out by teachers, or teachers and advisers together, possibly in connection with teachers' centres.

ENGLISH

C1. What steps have the authority taken to promote the development in their schools of coherent policies for language development in the light of the Bullock Report "A Language for Life"?

C2. What steps have the authority taken to help schools enable young people to achieve the degree of literacy required to satisfy their adult needs, including the skills needed for their work?

C3. What steps have the authority taken to make teachers aware of the range of curriculum materials available, so that they may select those which will best meet the needs of their pupils?

MATHEMATICS
C4. What steps have the authority taken to promote the development in their schools of consistent policies for mathematics teaching?

C5, What steps have the authority taken to help schools enable young people to achieve the mathematical skills required to satisfy their adult needs, in particular their vocational needs?

C6. What is the authority's policy with regard to the dropping of mathematics before the age of 16?

C7. What steps have the authority taken to make teachers aware of the range of curriculum materials available, so that they may select those which will best meet the needs of their pupils?

MODERN LANGUAGES
C8. What is the authority's policy in relation to French in primary schools? To what extent is the present position in the authority's area in accord with that policy?

C9. What is the authority's policy for the provision of courses in the various modern languages in secondary schools? To what extent is the present position in the authority's area in accord with that policy?

C10. What steps have the authority taken to help schools decide which modern languages should be taught to which groups of pupils between the ages of 11 and 16, and what should be the minimum length of language courses?

C11. What steps have the authority taken to promote the co-ordination of provision for modern language courses in sixth forms and colleges of further education to ensure that pupils have courses in a wide variety of languages available to them?

C12. What steps have the authority taken to make teachers aware of the range of curriculum materials available, so that they may select those which will best meet the needs of their pupils?

SCIENCE
C13. What is the authority's policy for the provision of science in primary schools? To what extent is the present position in the authority's area in accord with that policy?

C14. What is the authority's policy for the provision of science courses for pupils up to the age of sixteen in secondary schools? To what extent is the present position in the authority's area in accord with that policy?

C15. What steps have the authority taken to help schools plan science options so that pupils can satisfy course requirements in higher and further education?

C16. What steps have the authority taken to make teachers aware of the range of curriculum materials available, so that they may select those which will best meet the needs of their pupils?

C17. What steps have the authority taken to promote the co-ordination of provision for science courses in sixth forms and colleges of further education to ensure that pupils have a wide variety of courses available to them?

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
C18. In what ways do the authority maintain their knowledge of the arrangements for religious education (including arrangements for withdrawal) in the county schools of their area?

C19. What help is made available by the authority to teachers in primary and secondary schools to assist them in implementing the agreed syllabus?

C20. What arrangements have the authority established for periodical review of the agreed syllabus?

D. TRANSITION BETWEEN SCHOOLS
D1. What steps have the authority taken to promote smooth transition from school to school as pupils get older? Replies should refer specifically to:
i. arrangements for curriculum continuity;
ii. action to encourage contacts between the teachers
in the schools from and to which pupils normally move;
iii. action to encourage or require the transfer of records of individual children's educational progress as children move from school to school.
D2. What steps have the authority taken to promote smooth transition from one school to another in the authority's area when parents move house? Replies should refer specifically to action related to records of individual children's educational progress.
E. SCHOOL RECORDS
E1. Do the authority require schools to keep records of educational progress of each individual child and to keep such records in a standard form? (Where standard forms are used please attach copies.)

E2. If the answer to part of the previous question is negative, is this the result of specific consideration of the subject by the authority? If so, what were the main considerations leading to the authority's decision? And what guidance do the authority offer schools on keeping and using records of the educational progress of individual children?

E3. What guidance do the authority give schools on the extent to which the information in school records should be made available to teachers within the school, to parents, to institutions of further and higher education, to the careers service, to employers, or to schools in other local areas when parents move house?

F. PREPARATION FOR WORKING LIFE
F 1. What steps have the authority taken to help schools promote the development in their pupils of a basic understanding of contemporary economic, social and political life; and what attention is given to the roles of industry, commerce and the trades unions in our society?

F2. What steps have the authority taken to help schools design curricula which their pupils will see to be relevant to their career aspirations and prospects?

F3. What guidance do the authority offer schools on the age at which children should begin careers education and on the duration of such courses?

F4. What guidance do the authority offer schools on the role and appointment of careers teachers and links with the careers service?

F5. What steps have the authority taken to promote the development of work experience and work observation where appropriate in relation to school courses, and the use of work experience and work observation to illustrate the nature and needs of an industrial society?

F6. What arrangements do the authority have to enable teachers to obtain personal experience and wider understanding of industry?

F7. What steps have the local authority taken to promote the development of links between schools and colleges of further education either to encourage the establishment of linked courses where suitable or to facilitate transfer to further education courses after school?

F8. What steps have the authority taken to promote contacts between the pupils and teachers in individual schools and local industry and commerce and the local trades unions, as a means of giving pupils a better understanding of the world of work and of helping teachers to relate school curricula to opportunities open to their pupils?

F9. In what ways do the authority encourage schools and FE colleges to co-ordinate their respective curricular provision to meet the needs of the 16-19 age group as a whole?

F10. What steps have the authority taken to inform industry, commerce and the trades unions in their area about the work of their schools in order to promote understanding and to enable them to contribute constructively to the development of school curricula?

G. WELSH LANGUAGE

(Note: this section is to be answered only by local education authorities in Wales).

G1. What steps have the authority taken to formulate an agreed and coherent policy or policies on the place of Welsh as a first and second language within their schools?

G2. To what extent have the authority encouraged individual schools, particularly those in bilingual areas, to formulate and implement (within the framework of the authority's overall policies) detailed policies and programmes for Welsh which take account of the need for balance between Welsh and English?

G3. To what extent have the authority or their schools involved teachers and parents in the formulation of Welsh language policies and programmes?

G4. What steps have the authority taken to give support to teachers of Welsh through advisory services, in-service training, or opportunities to confer?

G5. What measures have the authority 'taken to facilitate continuity of Welsh language teaching between and within schools?

G6. What steps have the authority taken to promote more effective teaching of Welsh by developing its use as a means of communication in other areas of the curriculum and in the corporate life of the schools?

G7. What steps have the authority taken to make available to schools a wider range of materials:

a. for the teaching and use of Welsh;
b. produced in English but with a specific relevance to Wales?