The Labour Leader, Sir Keir Starmer has unveiled plans to introduce more creative arts, digital and speaking skills to the curriculum to ensure young people leave school ready for work and for life.
Unveiling Labour’s final mission to break down barriers to opportunity, Sir Keir announced that the next Labour government’s plans for a major expert-led review of the national curriculum to develop children’s knowledge and skills and prepare them for the jobs of the future.
The review will consider the curriculum from the beginning of primary through to the end of compulsory education.
Alongside maintaining a firm foundation in core subjects of reading, writing and maths, the Labour Leader said the party would take immediate steps to encourage schools to support young people to take an arts or sports subject until 16.
Labour will also weave speaking skills into the curriculum and embed digital literacy and skills throughout children’s learning, to ensure every young person is ready for work and ready for life.
Subjects like music, art, sport or drama, that build confidence and skills such as communication, critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork, must be available to all our children not just some. These are skills employers value and which parents know help their children to achieve, while creative arts and sports subjects can also boost young people’s engagement in their education.
The review will be based on the following principles:
1. An excellent foundation in core subjects of reading, writing, and maths.
2. A broader curriculum, so that children don’t miss out on subjects such as music, art, sport and drama.
3. A curriculum that ensures young people leave school ready for work and ready for life, building the knowledge, skills and attributes young people need to thrive. This includes embedding digital, oracy and life skills in their learning.
4. A curriculum that reflects the issues and diversities of our society, ensuring every child is represented.
5. An assessment system that captures the full strengths of every child and the breadth of curriculum, with the right balance of assessment methods whilst maintaining the important role of examinations.
Speaking today, he said: “For our children to succeed, they need a grounding in both, need skills and knowledge, practical problem-solving and academic rigour.
“But now – as the future rushes towards us, we also need a greater emphasis on creativity, on resilience, on emotional intelligence and the ability to adapt.
“Just as I will take the tough decisions necessary to win the race for the jobs of the future, so too will I introduce a curriculum fit for the digital age, so too will I fight for vocational training to be respected as much as a university education. So too will I drag our education system into the future.
“There is a barrier, a conservatism that refuses to re-examine whether what we teach our children should keep up with the world outside. I say in no uncertain terms: it should. So we will make sure more children study sport or a creative arts subject until they are sixteen.”
Sir announced the plans to reform the school curriculum alongside pledges to expand high quality education, employment and training routes so more people than ever are on pathways with good prospects.
Labour will create a new skills system, with a new Growth and Skills Levy at its heart, providing pathways for people at every stage of their lives to learn, retrain or refresh their skills, boosting opportunities for individuals’ job prospects, income and our wider economy.
Sir Keir concluded: “We’ve all been shaped by the class ceiling… we must all find a way to cast it aside.
“Nonetheless – there are three steps we can set out today.
“One – the mission, the practical goal that will drive us forward, to give more people than ever before access to the best quality training. Two – for the first time in this country, a proper national skills plan, led by a new body – Skills England…
“That will work hand-in-glove with our industrial policy and make sure we can compete in the race for the jobs of the future.
“And three – a new growth and skills levy that continues to support apprenticeships – they’re a gold standard qualification in my eyes…
“But that also looks again at the full breadth of formal training available, identifies the best options and gives businesses greater flexibility to invest in them.”