General duties in respect of the curriculum
Sections 78 and 79: General requirements in relation to curriculum and duty to implement general requirements
219.These sections re-enact section 351 of the EA 96 with minor amendments.
Section 80: Basic curriculum for every maintained school in England
220.This section re-enacts section 352 of the EA 96, listing those elements (currently RE and sex education for certain pupils), which must be provided as part of the basic curriculum in addition to the National Curriculum.
221.The section provides for the inclusion of the foundation stage in the National Curriculum. This is done by changing the description of when the National Curriculum applies, so that it applies to children who have attained the age of three but are not over compulsory school age.
222.There is a new order-making power to alter the reference to compulsory school age (currently 16) so this could be amended to make some elements of curriculum provision statutory beyond 16.
223.There is also a new order making power for the Secretary of State to add to the list of further requirements, otherwise than in relation to RE or sex education. The power allows a new way to vary the curriculum requirements without affecting the National Curriculum, which has a distinct framework of key stages, attainment targets, programmes of study and assessment arrangements. This would enable new statutory requirements for 14-16 year olds to be introduced, such as community activities.