DES 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.
The results of the survey were published in the Circular 14/77 Review in November 1979.
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
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.
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?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?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.
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"?MATHEMATICS
C4. What steps have the authority taken to promote the development in their schools of consistent policies for mathematics teaching?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?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?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?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:E. SCHOOL RECORDSi. arrangements for curriculum continuity;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.
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.)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?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?