Thursday, March 19, 2009

Minister seeks power to approve school textbooks

According to the Guardian, the government is now seeking the power for ministers to specify which authors' works would go on the school curriculum.
"The schools secretary, Ed Balls, is seeking a new legal power to dictate the basic content of every public exam in England, in a move that would give him or any future secretary of state the right to decide which books children must study at GCSE or A-level.

The law would allow the government to set "minimum requirements" for qualifications. One senior exam board source said it would give ministers "mind-boggling power" over exams if it got on to the statute books.

Opposition MPs will attempt today to remove from the apprenticeships, skills, children and learning bill the clause that gives the secretary of state control of basic qualifications content. Guidance published alongside the bill says it could be used to specify "which authors' works needed to be studied for someone to gain a GCSE in English".

Ministers insist the power would be exercised only as a last resort, to preserve the teaching of Shakespeare, for example, if there was a suggestion it should be scrapped from the curriculum."

What's worrying is that some of them probably even believe that bit about saving Shakespeare.

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