The National Curriculum was introduced in 1989 in order to make sure schools across England taught roughly the same things and could be compared using standard tests (SATS) and their results put into league tables.
The idea was loudly denounced in staffrooms up and down the Country. I can remember pretending to listen as one teacher after another ranted that they should decide what to teach; that it was yet more government interference, central control which undermined their authority; showed a lack of trust in them; Mrs Thatcher should be hung...etc etc. I just nodded wisely and thought it all sounded great.
The bottom line of course, which you cannot say in the staffroom; is that although some teachers would use their vast knowledge and individual expertise to come up with brilliant original lessons, which would thrill and educate every pupil; most would not. I was more than happy to be told what to teach and when to teach it. It just gave me one less thing to worry about.
As long as the bottom kids can be made exempt (which they can) and be taught something that will be of use to them (ie how to read, write and get up in the morning) then I've got no problem whatsoever with a National Curriculum. We will probably never all agree on its exact content, but it has to be better then no guidelines at all.
If you think differently then feel free to comment...