The government has confirmed it is to disapply the current national curriculum in the run-up to the introduction of its new programmes of study in September 2014.
It means that from September 2013, maintained schools will not be required to teach the prescribed programmes of study, although must still teach the national curriculum subjects.
The decision covers all subjects for pupils at key stages 3 and 4.
It marks the Department for Education’s (DfE) first curriculum announcement since the consultation over the new draft national curriculum came to an end last month. A DfE statement said the move would give schools “greater flexibility to manage the transition from the existing national curriculum to the new one”.
However, the National Association of Head Teachers said that the government’s decision “masks a lack of forward planning” and that the disapplication “highlights the potential chaos and confusion that could surround the new curriculum”.
General secretary Russell Hobby said: “Disapplication is no compensation for the lack of a clear, phased and properly resourced implementation plan. We need training time and clarity on aims and assessment more than we need new freedoms.”
The DfE statement added: “Schools can choose to continue to teach the current programmes of study or they may use the flexibility that disapplication (allows) to adapt their curricula to ensure that pupils are well-prepared to start learning the new programmes of study which will be introduced from September 2014 (or September 2015 for key stage 4 English, mathematics and science).”
Elsewhere, the government has confirmed it will rename ICT as computing in its new curriculum. It said the ICT label carried “negative connotations” and that the change would “more accurately reflect the breadth of content in the proposed new programmes of study”.
The statement added: “Further announcements about the new national curriculum, including the content of the programmes of study for national curriculum subjects, will be made in due course.”