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Last Updated: Monday, 31 July 2006, 09:16 GMT 10:16 UK
'Right and wrong' lessons to end
Teacher and class
In future, 'secure values and beliefs' will be taught
Pupils will no longer have to be taught the difference between "right and wrong" under draft plans put forward by England's exams regulator.

Instead, 11 to 14-year-olds should learn the importance of "secure values and beliefs", the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority says.

Pupils would also have to "understand different cultures and traditions".

But the Church of England said it was "fundamental" that schools should deal with "spiritual and moral" education.

Cultural heritage

Ministers want the national curriculum reduced to allow teachers more flexibility.

The current aims state: "The school curriculum should pass on enduring values.

"It should develop principles for distinguishing between right and wrong."

QCA chief executive Ken Boston set out his proposals, which have just been published, in a letter in March to the then education secretary, Ruth Kelly.

A Church of England spokesman said: "We would be very concerned to see any erosion of the fundamental principle of education to provide for the spiritual and moral development of pupils and of society."

Under the proposals, the requirement to teach Britain's "cultural heritage" would also go.

'Place in world'

The current wording states: "The school curriculum should contribute to the development of pupils' sense of identity through knowledge and understanding of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural heritages of Britain's diverse society."

This will be replaced with the aim to help individuals "understand different cultures and traditions and have a strong sense of their own place in the world".

Professor Alan Smithers, director of the University of Buckingham's centre for education and employment research, said: "The idea that they think it is appropriate to dispense with right and wrong is a bit alarming."

But a National Union of Teachers spokeswoman said: "Teachers always resented being told that one of the aims of the school was to teach the difference between right and wrong. That is inherent in the way teachers operate.

"Removing it from the national curriculum will make no difference to teachers. They will still ensure that children learn the difference between right and wrong."


A spokesman for the QCA said the proposals were only in draft form and would be consulted on next year.

He added: "One aim of the review is that there should be more flexibility and personalisation which focuses on practical advice for teachers.

"The new wording states clearly that young people should become 'responsible citizens who make a positive contribution to society'.

"It also identifies the need for young people who 'challenge injustice, are committed to human rights and strive to live peaceably with others.'"

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