What IS the "National Curriculum"?
The word ‘curriculum’ refers to the subjects your child will study at school.
The National Curriculum was developed to make sure all pupils have a balanced education. It contains all of the subjects to be covered and details what topics should be taught in schools. It also shows the standards or levels expected by pupils at age 7. 11 and 14.
All pupils aged 5-16 studying in state schools must follow the National Curriculum. It currently consists of the following:
Three core subjects – English, Mathematics and Science
Nine foundation subjects – Design and Technology (DT), Information and Communication Technology (ICT), History, Geography, Art and Design, Music, Physical Education (PE), Modern Foreign Languages (Key Stage 3 only) and Citizenship (Key Stages 3 and 4 only)
Religious Education (RE), taught according to each local syllabus. You may choose to withdraw your children from these sessions.
The National Curriculum divides subjects that are taught into age groups called Key Stages. At every Key Stage pupils will study subjects in the National Curriculum. The key stages are as follows:
The Early Years Foundation Stage
|Age||Year group||Key Stage|
|3 to 5||Pre-school to end of Reception Year||Early Years Foundation|
|5 to 7||1 to 2||1|
|7 to 11||3 to 6||2|
|11 to 14||7 to 9||3|
|14 to 16||10 to 1||4|
At the end of each Key Stage, children are expected to reach certain levels of knowledge, skills and understanding in each subject. These are called the Attainment Levels and they are numbered 1-8. Your child’s teachers will be checking that your child is able to reach the Attainment Levels that are expected of them at each Key Stage in their learning. The expected Attainment Level for children at the end of each Key Stage is as follows:
Key Stage 1
Most children are expected to be able to work between levels 1 to 3. By the end of year 2 children are expected to be working to at least level 2 (at age 7).
Key Stage 2
Most children are expected to work between levels 2 to 5. By the end of year 6 children are expected to be working to at least level 4 (at age 11).
Key Stage 3
Most children are expected to work between levels 3 to 7. By the end of year 9 children are expected to be working to at least level 5 or 6 (at age 14).
If children are working a long way above or below the expected level, the school must provide extra support. Your child’s teachers will be able to let you know how your child is doing and will be able to offer support and advice around any questions or worries you may have. Talk to your child about where they think they are in their Key Stage attainment. See what their teacher has suggested for the next step.
The reports you get from the school will show the level your child is currently achieving and may also show a letter (A, B, C). A is the best mark.
To find out more about the National Curriculum, visit: www.direct.gov.uk/curriculum