Education Reform Act 1988

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1988 c. 40


Education Reform Act 1988

1988 CHAPTER 40

An Act to amend the law relating to education.

[20th July 1988]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I Schools

Part I

Schools

Chapter I

The Curriculum

Preliminary

Preliminary

S-1 Duties with respect to the curriculum.

1 Duties with respect to the curriculum.

(1) It shall be the duty—

(a) of the Secretary of State as respects every maintained school;

(b) of every local education authority as respects every school maintained by them; and

(c) of every governing body or head teacher of a maintained school as respects that school;

to exercise their functions (including, in particular, the functions conferred on them by this Chapter with respect to religious education, religious worship and the National Curriculum) with a view to securing that the curriculum for the school satisfies the requirements of this section.

(2) The curriculum for a maintained school satisfies the requirements of this section if it is a balanced and broadly based curriculum which—

(a) promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society; and

(b) prepares such pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.

Principal provisions

Principal provisions

S-2 The National Curriculum.

2 The National Curriculum.

(1) The curriculum for every maintained school shall comprise a basic curriculum which includes—

(a) provision for religious education for all registered pupils at the school; and

(b) a curriculum for all registered pupils at the school of compulsory school age (to be known as ‘the National Curriculum’) which meets the requirements of subsection (2) below.

(2) The curriculum referred to in subsection (1)(b) above shall comprise the core and other foundation subjects and specify in relation to each of them—

(a) the knowledge, skills and understanding which pupils of different abilities and maturities are expected to have by the end of each key stage (in this Chapter referred to as ‘attainment targets’);

(b) the matters, skills and processes which are required to be taught to pupils of different abilities and maturities during each key stage (in this Chapter referred to as ‘programmes of study’); and

(c) the arrangements for assessing pupils at or near the end of each key stage for the purpose of ascertaining what they have achieved in relation to the attainment targets for that stage (in this Chapter referred to as ‘assessment arrangements’).

(3) Subsection (1)(a) above shall not apply in the case of a maintained special school.

S-3 Foundation subjects and key stages.

3 Foundation subjects and key stages.

(1) Subject to subsection (4) below, the core subjects are—

(a) mathematics, English and science; and

(b) in relation to schools in Wales which are Welsh-speaking schools, Welsh.

(2) Subject to subsection (4) below, the other foundation subjects are—

(a) history, geography, technology, music, art and physical education;

(b) in relation to the third and fourth key stages, a modern foreign language specified in an order of the Secretary of State; and

(c) in relation to schools in Wales which are not Welsh-speaking schools, Welsh.

(3) Subject to subsections (4) and (5) below, the key stages in relation to a pupil are as follows—

(a) the period beginning with his becoming of compulsory school age and ending at the same time as the school year in which the majority of pupils in his class attain the age of seven;

(b) the period beginning at the same time as the school year in which the majority of pupils in his class attain the age of eight and ending at the same time as the school year in which the majority of pupils in his class attain the age of eleven;

(c) the period beginning at the same time as the school year in which the majority of pupils in his class attain the age of twelve and ending at the same time as the school year in which the majority of pupils in his class attain the age of fourteen;

(d) the period beginning at the same time as the school year in which the majority of pupils in his class attain the age of fifteen and ending with the majority of pupils in his class ceasing to be of compulsory school age.

(4) The Secretary of State may by order—

(a) amend the foregoing provisions of this section; or

(b) provide that, in relation to any subject specified in the order, subsection (3) above shall have effect as if for the ages of seven and eight there mentioned there were substituted such other ages, less than eleven and twelve respectively, as may be so specified.

(5) The head teacher of a school may elect, in relation to a particular pupil and a particular subject, that subsection (3) above shall have effect as if any reference to the school year in which the majority of pupils in that pupil's class attained a particular age were a reference to the school year in which that pupil attained that age.

(6) In this section—

‘class’, in relation to a particular pupil and a particular subject, means the teaching group in which he is regularly taught that subject or, where there are two or more such groups, such one of them as may be designated by the head teacher of the school;

‘school’, except in subsection (5) above and the above definition, includes part of a school.

(7) For the purposes of this section a school in Wales is a Welsh-speaking school if more than one half of the following subjects, namely—

(a) religious education; and

(b) the subjects other than English and Welsh which are foundation subjects in relation to pupils at the school;

are taught (wholly or partly) in Welsh.

S-4 Duty to establish the National Curriculum by order.

4 Duty to establish the National Curriculum by order.

(1) It shall be the duty of the Secretary of State so to exercise the powers conferred by subsection (2) below as—

(a) to establish a complete National Curriculum as soon as is reasonably practicable (taking first the core subjects and then the other foundation subjects); and

(b) to revise that Curriculum whenever he considers it necessary or expedient to do so.

(2) The Secretary of State may by order specify in relation to each of the foundation subjects—

(a) such attainment targets;

(b) such programmes of study; and

(c) such assessment arrangements;

as he considers appropriate for that subject.

(3) An order made under subsection (2) above may not require—

(a) that any particular period or periods of time should be allocated during any key stage to the teaching of any programme of study or any matter, skill or process forming part of it; or

(b) that provision of any particular kind should be made in school timetables for the periods to be allocated to such teaching during any such stage.

(4) An order under subsection (2) above may, instead of containing the provisions to be made, refer to provisions in a document published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office and direct that those provisions shall have effect or, as the case may be, have effect as amended by the order.

(5) An order under subsection (2)(c) above may authorise the making of such provisions giving full effect to or otherwise supplementing the provisions made by the order as appear to the Secretary of State to be expedient; and any provisions made under such an order shall, on being published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, have effect for the purposes of this Chapter as if made by the order.

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