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What would you add to National Curriculum ?

(133 Posts)
Lizbethann55 Sun 23-Feb-20 14:34:30

If you could add anything to the secondary school national curriculum what would it be? If it was up to me I would start by making the school day longer. The local high schools all seem to finish at 2.30 , way earlier than the 4.00 pm finish we had. I would have all the more academic subjects in the morning with the more practical ones in the afternoon. Three additions I would definitely make would be cookery. Not the ridiculous "food technology" that my children all got A* s for. They should be taught how to prepare food and make the basics, soups, stews, pastry, cakes etc. Next I would have them studying UK citizenship. I have seen the questions immigrants have to answer and I bet many of us born and bred here wouldn't know the answers to. Finally, all children should have to have conversation lessons. I am horrified by how inarticulate many teenagers are these days. They are so glued to their phones they seem unable to talk to people, especially older people , people in authority or people they don't know. Any other ideas?

Oopsadaisy3 Sun 23-Feb-20 14:40:12

How to handle their basic finances, as soon as they are out of school they are offered loans and credit cards, no idea of how to handle money, including the ones you have mentioned.

Sunlover Sun 23-Feb-20 14:49:56

Basic cookery and how to look after their money. I agree they do seem to leave school very early. Even earlier than primary schools!!

SueSocks Sun 23-Feb-20 15:06:03

Same as above, as soon as I saw the heading for the post I thought personal finance and budgeting, including loans, credit cards etc.
Also basic nutrition and cooking for all. Maybe basic DIY skills.

Calendargirl Sun 23-Feb-20 15:08:22

Totally agree with previous suggestions. Plus basic housekeeping type skills for all sexes. Simple things like knowing you should do separate washes for light and dark clothing, basic house cleaning, simple diy jobs maybe.
Respect for self and other people, kindness, a very underrated quality.

SueDonim Sun 23-Feb-20 15:11:42

School days only seem shorter because lunch and break times have been curtailed. Lesson time hasn’t been cut.

All these suggestions are laudable, but who is going to teach them? Current teaching staff, who have enough on their plate already? Newly recruited staff would have to be paid for and we all know there’s no money for that.

Welshwife Sun 23-Feb-20 15:17:37

Some fairly modern history - how our Parliament works etc.
I agree about the cooking and budgeting and also how much more things cost when bought on any type of credit - except mortgages.
I would also teach how to thread a needle and do simple repairs such as sewing on a button or stitching a hem up again.
I think that more teachers with aptitude to teach reading should be concentrated in Infant schools because in my experience if a child is not a competent reader by 7 or the time they start Junior school they are at a huge disadvantage for the rest of their lives.

Missfoodlove Sun 23-Feb-20 15:20:07

Yes, to basic finance, yes to a longer school day from age 11 and yes to proper cookery and household management.

I would also add basic manners and etiquette!
I know it sounds so old fashioned but I still get emails signed off with a kiss from people I don’t know.

Many young people have zero table manners, have lost the art of conversation and cannot dress appropriately.

I am always so thrilled when I meet well mannered articulate teenagers, I hope thy are not a dying breed.

TerriBull Sun 23-Feb-20 15:20:42

The evils of County Lines, with the emphasis on how insidious any form of grooming will appear at the outset. Quite possibly these matters are covered although the former is a fairly new phenomenon.

Plus what the others have posted on finances, particularly credit, how to use it your advantage as opposed to being subsumed by it.

Cooking, nutrition and emphasising that although they are basic life skills they shouldn't be underestimated, maybe emphasise how a lot of cultures still cook from scratch and when they do their diet is invariably healthier than the multitude of fast food choices.

Calendargirl Sun 23-Feb-20 15:31:30


Perhaps some of these skills could be taught by volunteers, i.e. parents, retired, unemployed.

In years gone by, it was the domestic science teachers, rural science teachers, woodwork teachers etc. who taught this type of stuff. When did it all change? Thinking of my GS, 14, who learned how to make lemonade in whatever they call cookery nowadays. And that was one of the more useful lessons.

rosenoir Sun 23-Feb-20 15:40:52

There are many schools on a 4 day week or early finish therefor i do not think much could be added.

I would like to see parents teaching basic manners, household finances and basic cooking.

So many parents are saying they have not got time for anything but if they look at their screentime usage on their phones it often runs into hours.

I was surprised when I looked at mine it was about 2 hours a day! I have turned the setting off now.

Dee1012 Sun 23-Feb-20 15:41:05

I'd opt for an array of life skills, cooking basic meals, managing money and again, the basics of DIY.
I'd also like to see first aid classes.

Teetime Sun 23-Feb-20 15:42:01

Life skills- managing money, feeding oneself and a family, mending something simple ,like a fuse or a plug, growing something to eat.

SueDonim Sun 23-Feb-20 15:57:35

Calendargirl, I doubt volunteers would suffice. Who would decide whether the volunteers have the required skills for teaching? They’d all need to be DBS-checked. When would these lessons be fitted into the school day? After-school wouldn’t work in areas such as mine where many pupils are bused to school.

I think it would be better to teach the parents, who could then pass on these life-lessons.

Ellianne Sun 23-Feb-20 16:05:04

I would stick with the teaching of academic subjects like English and Maths, Humanities, Languages etc. not because they are necessarily useful but because they prove children can be disciplined in their learning. Too many airy fairy subjects turn children into lazy learners just looking for easy qualifications.

HettyMaud Sun 23-Feb-20 16:09:08

Natural History - understanding the world around you, identifying flowers and wildlife. How to use herbs, how to spend time in nature looking at the sea, the sky and the countryside.

Ealdemodor Sun 23-Feb-20 16:10:39

Local history.
So many people, and not just young people, know nothing about the town in which they live.
Hopefully, this could lead to an interest in history in general, a subject sadly neglected by many.

V3ra Sun 23-Feb-20 17:36:02

A lot of these extra subjects are among things that I learned in the Guides, my daughter learned doing Duke of Edinburgh awards and my sons learned in the Scouts.

Mamie Sun 23-Feb-20 17:45:40

Well a lot of these things are already taught in schools so not sure why you would need to create new subjects. If you are going to create new subjects then what are you going to leave out?
I think cooking, financial management, DiY and the art of conversation are the responsibility of parents and grandparents.
The current GCSEs are incredibly demanding.. My eldest GD worked every weekend and only took two days off over Christmas and New Year in the run-up to GCSEs. I can't imagine why anyone would want to add to the workload.

GagaJo Sun 23-Feb-20 17:46:31

Most of the reason the school day is longer now is because there are a lot less breaks. When I was at school (and in the international school I now work in) we had over an hour for lunch AND had two breaks/playtimes.

The UK school's I've worked in have had short lunches. The shortest was 25 minutes. They also ALL only have one break/playtime. 15 minutes in the last one I was at.

One school I worked in had Mon/Tues with LONG days. Finishing at 4. Then Wed/Thurs/Fri finishing at 2.30. The long days were REALLY worth doing to get the early finishes at the end of the week.

GagaJo Sun 23-Feb-20 17:48:13

One thing I'd like back in UK schools would be proper libraries. The last THREE I worked in had minimal library space and the last school CLOSED the library down altogether. No access to reading books for children at all.

I know it seems surreal. But it is true!

Luckygirl Sun 23-Feb-20 17:49:36

Music, music and more music! It is the only international language we have; it improves academic results; it ;lifts the spirits; it engenders co-operation - I could go on. It is there in the curriculum, but as a sort of add-on rather than a human right.

growstuff Sun 23-Feb-20 17:50:13

Neither of my children nor I have ever had cookery lessons in school. It's not rocket science to follow a recipe and we can all cook and understand nutrition. I'd keep secondary schools for subjects which can't be learnt elsewhere.

Mamie Sun 23-Feb-20 18:10:10

I agree with you about music Luckygirl. The impact of the government's financial cuts on the wonderful peripatetic music service that we once had makes me weep.

Welshwife Sun 23-Feb-20 18:47:30

If a child lives in a family where no one cooks proper meals how are they to learn? I did domestic science at school for two years but was taught the basic things such as rubbing in, beating, blending etc which has served me well ever since. My mother did all these things but I know I took more notice of what the teacher said!
There was a trend at one time to play suitable music of a calming nature when children were writing or doing artistic things.