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Last Updated: Friday, 12 December, 2003, 12:15 GMT
English and maths lessons to stay
Some say maths should be optional
The government has rejected claims that pupils could be allowed to drop conventional maths and English lessons at 14.

It is reported that traditional lessons in English and maths could be replaced by "communication" and numeracy.

The change is said to be a proposal being put forward by a review led by the former chief inspector of schools Mike Tomlinson.

The Times Educational Supplement says English literature and tougher maths topics would be optional.

'No dilution'

Mike Tomlinson's task force, which is looking into the whole curriculum and exam system for 14 to 19 year olds, is expected to outline detailed proposals in the New Year.

After further consultation, it is due to publish detailed proposals for ministers next summer.

Officials at the Department for Education and Skills insist English and maths teaching will not be diluted.

A spokesperson said: "Mike Tomlinson's working group is looking at how we can ensure that the 14-19 curriculum can be most relevant and most responsive to the educational needs of today's young people.

"Ministers will consider the taskforce's final recommendations next summer.

"English and Maths are essential, a central part of 14 -19 education, and there has never been any suggestion of their place in the curriculum being diluted in any sense."

The suggestion that maths teaching could be changed to make it more accessible and relevant to those who find it too difficult was floated earlier this year.

Terry Bladen, the president of the teachers' union, the NASUWT, said maths should be optional.

A maths teacher, he said children should be able to drop GCSE maths and do more general numeracy instead.

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