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29 April, 2013

New inquiry asks if the National Curriculum is fit for purpose

The Youth Select Committee has launched an inquiry into whether the English education system gives young people the skills they need for life after school.

In its draft National Curriculum document, the government says the school curriculum should prepare pupils for 'the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life'.

However, pupils themsleves are challenging the system to prove it can really deliver this.

The Youth Select Committee comprises eleven members aged 15-18. It is an initiatve of the British Youth Council and is supported by the House of Commons.

Its inquiry will look at how schools help develop young people's 'life skills' such as personal finance, political education and cultural awareness.

The inquiry will look at the following issues:

  • The responsibility of the education system to equip young people with 'life skills' such as political education, personal finance and cultural awareness
  • The current state of 'life skills' provision in schools
  • The support currently available for teachers to deliver lessons and programmes in life skills
  • Whether the school education system gets the balance right between academia and 'life skills'
  • Whether the teaching of 'life skills' should lie within core subjects or as a separate part of the curriculum
  • How much young people are involved in shaping the personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) and citizenship curricula
  • How PSHE and citizenship teaching is implemented in different schools
  • What the UK government can learn from others about teaching 'life skills' to young people.

Eighteen-year-old Natasha Browne, MYP* for Solihull and Chair of the Youth Select Committee, said:

'It's important that young people get the right support to equip us with the skills to be successful in later life. Schools are the focus of young people's lives and, as a Committee, we look forward to hearing what people have to say about the role of the education system in equipping young people with skills for life'.

The Committee's call for evidence closes on 4 June. It will hold oral evidence sessions in the House of Commons in June and July.

The Youth Select Committee has a clear mandate for its inquiry. In November 2012, the UK Youth Parliament voted for 'A curriculum for Life' to be its priority campaign this year.

* MYPs are Members of the UK Youth Parliament. Two MYPs sit on the Youth Select Committee, alongside two youth councillors, the Young Mayor of Bristol and one elected young representative from each of the devolved nations. Three seats are reserved for groups that otherwise may be under-represented.


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