National Curriculum

Pupils aged 5-16 in state schools must be taught according to the National Curriculum, which is divided into four ‘Key Stages’ as shown below. The National Curriculum is also followed in many Independent schools. It is always useful, when visiting any school, to ask questions about subjects, standards and teaching practices.

Year group Age at end of school year (ie 31 August) Key Stage
1 6 1
2 7
3 8 2
4 9
5 10
6 11
7 12 3
8 13
9 14
10 15 4
11 16
12 17 5
13 18

The National Curriculum provides pupils with an introduction to the essential knowledge that they need to be educated citizens. (See table of compulsory and foundation subjects below). The National Curriculum provides an outline of core knowledge around which teachers can develop exciting and stimulating lessons to promote the development of pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills as part of the wider school curriculum.

The arts (comprising art and design, music, dance, drama and media arts), design and technology, the humanities (comprising geography and history) and modern foreign language are not compulsory National Curriculum subjects after the age of 14, but all pupils in maintained schools have a statutory entitlement to be able to study a subject in each of those four areas. The structure of the National Curriculum, in terms of which subjects are compulsory at each key stage, is set out in the table below:
 

Key Stage 1

Key Stage 2

Key Stage 3

Key stage 4

Age

5 - 7

7 - 11

11 - 14

14 - 16

Year Groups

1 - 2

3 - 6

7 - 9

10  - 11

Core subjects

English

Maths

Science

Foundation subjects

Art & Design

Citizenship

Computing

Design & Technology

Languages

Geography

History

Music

Physical Education

 

All schools are also required to teach religious education at all key stages. Secondary schools must provide sex and relationship education

Key Stage 1

Key Stage 2

Key Stage 3

Key stage 4

Age

5 - 7

7 - 11

11 - 14

14 - 16

Year Groups

1 - 2

3 - 6

7 - 9

10  - 11

Religious Education

Sex and relationships education


Source: National Curriculum.

*There are some variations in the curriculum elsewhere in the UK.

The core subjects of the National Curriculum in England are:

·         English

·         Maths

·         Science

The eleven Foundation Subjects of the National Curriculum in England are listed below. These are links to the Government website that sets out the detailed programmes required to be followed in all authority maintained schools.  We also have links to all the Programmes of Study elsewhere on the site, including English, maths and science - use the Search box and type in Programmes of Study.

National curriculum in England: art and design programmes of study

National curriculum in England: citizenship programmes of study

National curriculum in England: computing programmes of study

National curriculum in England: design and technology programmes of study

National curriculum in England: geography programmes of study

National curriculum in England: history programmes of study

National curriculum in England: languages programmes of study

National curriculum in England: music programmes of study

National curriculum in England: PE programmes of study

Personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE)

Religious education in English schools

 

 

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