Schools in Northern Ireland are being given more flexibility to deliver the curriculum following a decision to reduce the number of courses they are required to offer.
From September 2017, changes to the Entitlement Framework will result in a reduction of the specified number of qualifying courses to 21 at both Key Stage 4 and post-16 from 24 and 27 respectively.
Commenting on the decision Education Minister, Peter Weir today said:
“One of the consistent messages I have heard from school principals is the challenges they face in implementing the Entitlement Framework. I have listened to their concerns and in these challenging times I want to ensure that schools have clarity in the future delivery of the Entitlement Framework.
“It is important that we ensure all pupils can access an appropriate range of relevant and engaging courses. I also wanted to provide schools with a degree of flexibility, in line with my objective of increasing autonomy. Reducing the specified number should provide both this flexibility and enable schools to manage their resources better in these challenging times.
“In making this change I want to emphasise that I consider the specified number of courses to be a minimum number of courses that schools will be expected to offer, not a target. Where schools can offer in excess of this number I expect them to continue to do so.”
The Minister said these changes will take effect from September 2017 ensuring schools have sufficient time to plan for the next academic year.
Concluding the Minister said:
“I want to reaffirm my commitment to the Entitlement Framework as a key part of the statutory curriculum which has brought significant benefits to young people in Northern Ireland. It ensures that all pupils, no matter what school they attend, can access a broad and balanced, economically relevant curriculum that can be individually tailored to meet their needs and aspirations.”
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