History and geography lessons are set to focus on facts and figures under a new back-to-basics national curriculum planned by ministers.
Education Secretary Michael Gove is launching a review of the curriculum after previously raising concerns that key areas of knowledge are missing from the current “overly-prescriptive” system.
The review will look at how the curriculum can be slimmed down, to contain only the “essential knowledge” children should acquire, and leave teachers to decide how to teach it.
In a speech last October, Mr Gove warned that children are leaving school unable to read and write properly and ignorant of the nation’s history.
He called for an urgent shake-up to prevent the UK from being left behind by other countries.
Radical secondary curriculum reforms published by the last Labour Government in 2007 saw key historical figures such as Winston Churchill cut from a list of figures recommended for teaching as part of a bid to allow teachers more flexibility over what they teach.
The then Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the body responsible at the time, argued that teachers did not need to be told to mention pivotal figures in history lessons.
But the coalition government argues that there should be a core knowledge that pupils should have to take their place as “educated members of society”.
This should “embody our cultural and scientific inheritance, the best that our past and present generations have to pass on to the next”.
It means that as well as learning about key historical figures in history lessons, English classes could focus on great British writers like Dickens and Austen in English classes, geography lessons on the names of continents, cities, mountains and oceans in geography and music classes on the names of composers and conductors.