National Curriculum Guide
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This is a clear and concise summary to guide you around The National Curriculum
- Key stage 1 and 2
- Key stage 3 and 4
The national curriculum consists of a set of subjects, including expected standards, used by primary and secondary schools in order that children learn the same things.
Other types of school like academies and private schools don’t have to follow the national curriculum, although academies must offer a broad and balanced curriculum which includes English, maths and science as well as religious education.
The Early Years Key Stage includes children from 3 to 5 years of age. At 5 years – Reception -, teachers make assessments on progress and attainment.
Key Stage 1 includes children from 5 to 7 years of age – years 1 to 3. During this stage phonic screening checks are conducted and there are national tests and teacher assessments in English, maths and science.
Key Stage 2 includes children from 7 to 11 years of age – years 3 to 6. During year 6 there are national tests and teacher assessments in English and maths. There are teacher assessments in science.
Key Stage 3 includes young people from 11 to 14 years of age – years 7 to 9.
Key Stage 4 includes young people from 14 to 16 years of age – years 10 and 11. At the end of this stage, most young people take GCSEs, IGCSEs or other national qualifications such as Key Skills.
The national curriculum is organised into groups of years called ‘key stages’ (KS). At the end of each key stage, your child’s performance will be formally assessed as can be seen in the table above.
Assessments are essential to inform progress and achievement. You will receive a report for your child at the end of every academic year.
- Key stage 1 and 2
At primary school, the national curriculum subjects for every child are: English, maths, science, design and technology, history, geography, art and design, music, physical education (PE), including swimming, computing, ancient and modern foreign languages (at key stage 2). This also includes religious education (RE) but parents are free to ask for their children to be taken out of whole lessons or parts of them.
Personal, social and health education (PSHE), citizenship, and modern foreign languages (at key stage 1) are optional subjects.
- Key stage 3 and 4
Key stage 3
At secondary school, the national curriculum subjects for every young person are English, maths, science, design and technology, history, geography, art and design, music, physical education (PE), modern foreign languages, citizenship, computing. This also includes religious education (RE) but parents are free to ask for their children to be taken out of whole lessons or parts of them.
Key stage 4
During key stage 4 most pupils work towards national qualifications – usually GCSEs or IGCSEs. The national curriculum subjects for every young person are the ‘core’ and ‘foundation’ subjects. Core subjects are English, maths and science; Foundation subjects are citizenship, computing and physical education.
At least one subject from each of the following areas can be chosen as optional to study: the arts, design and technology, humanities, modern foreign languages.
Religious education (RE) and sex education must also be provided at key stage 4 although students may not have to take exams in these subjects.
Sex and relationship education
Sex and relationship education (SRE) is a compulsory subject from Year 7 onwards. Young people teaching learn about reproduction, sexuality and sexual health. It is important to note that promoting early sexual activity or any particular sexual orientation is strictly forbidden.
Some parts of sex and relationship education are compulsory because they are part of the national curriculum for science. Otherwise, parents/carers are free to withdraw their children from other parts of sex and relationship education if they wish.
All schools must have a written policy on sex education, which they must make freely available to parents/carers.
RE is a compulsory subject but parents/carers can withdraw their children for all or some of the lessons. Local councils are responsible for deciding The content of the RE syllabus is directed by your local council but faith schools and academies are free to write their own.