It is both extraordinary and, in a sense, a major source of shame and embarrassment, that the National Curriculum for England and Wales, details of which constituted such an important part of the 1988 Education Reform Act, has found itself subjected by successive governments, both Conservative and New Labour, to so many radical and destabilizing changes in the course of its short history of just 15 years. Most of these far-reaching changes have affected Key Stage Four (concerning the schooling of students aged 14–16), which has never actually been implemented in its original form; these changes will be discussed in Chapter 8. But there have also been very significant developments affecting the 5–14 curriculum, and it is these changes that will form a major part of this chapter, following a fairly brief account of the curious background to the initiatives of the late 1980s.
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