Schooling explained

The schooling of children starts right from birth. Once children are ready for school, this page describes the milestones through which they will progress. 

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The Early Years Foundation Stage

What will my child learn at school?

School years and key stages

How are they assessed?

How can I help my child?


The Early Years Foundation Stage

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of your child from birth to 5 years old. All schools and Ofsted-registered early years providers must follow the EYFS, including childminders, preschools, nurseries, and school reception classes. The EYFS only applies to schools in England. There are different early years standards in Scotland and Wales.
Areas of Learning

Your child will mostly be taught through games and play, the areas of learning are:

Communication and language

Physical delvelopment

Personal, social and emotional development



Understanding the world

Expressive arts and design

Your child's progress will be reviewed when they're between 2 and 3 years old by an early years practitioner or health visitor. Their class teacher will assess them at the end of the school year when they turn 5. The assessment is based on classroom observation - your child won't be tested. It uses the early learning goals, which can be found in the early years framework.

The purpose of this EYFS profile is to provide an accurate assessment of individual children at the end of the EYFS. The profile describes each child's attainment against 17 early learning goals, together with a short narrative about their learning characteristics.

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What will my child learn at school?

The National Curriculum was introduced by the government in 1999. This was the basis of teaching carried out in schools until September 2014 when a new curriculum was introduced. The 'basic' school curriculum includes the 'national curriculum', as well as religious education and sex education. The national curriculum is used by primary and secondary schools, it is a set of subjects and standards designed so that children learn the same things. It covers what subjects are taught and the standards children should reach in each subject. Schools such as academies and private schools do not have to follow the national curriculum. However, academies must teach a broad and balanced curriculum which has to include English, maths, science and religious education.

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The National Curriculum means that a child anywhere in the country should be taught the syllabus for their age group in school, in every subject. The curriculum covers key stages 1 to 4, this means that all children from ages 5 - 16 are taught in the same way. It makes for a much more cohesive form of education and if children have to move to a different school then the reports will tell the new school at exactly which stage of the curriculum the child is in every subject. The programmes of study set out what a child should be taught in every subject and at each key stage. This provides the basis for planning schemes of work.

Key Stages

The national curriculum is organised in to blocks of years called 'key stages' (KS). At the end of each key stage, the teacher will formally assess your child's performance.
Age Year Key Stage Assessment
3 - 4   Early Years  
4 - 5 Reception Early Years  Teacher assessments (and an optional assessment at the start of the year)
5 - 6 Year 1 KS1  Phonics screening check
6 - 7 Year 2 KS1  National tests and teacher assessments in English, maths and science
7 - 8 Year 3 KS2  
8 - 9 Year 4 KS2  
9 - 10 Year 5 KS2  
10 - 11 Year 6 KS2  National tests and teacher assessments in English, maths and science
11 - 12 Year 7 KS3  
12 - 13 Year 8 KS3  
13 - 14 Year 9 KS3  
14 - 15 Year 10 KS4  Some children take GCSE's
15 - 16 Year 11 KS4  Most children take GCSE's or other national qualifications


By the end of the summer term the school must write a report on your child's progress and talk it through with you. Where information is not available before the end of the summer term (in the case of national curriculum assessment results), it must be sent to parents as soon as possible, and no later than within 15 school days of recieving it. The report for school leavers must be sent no later than 30th September following the end of the school year in which the pupil left. Schools may split the report accross the academic year, for example to report on each term separately. Children who are in years 2 and 6 now will take the new national curriculum tests 2016.

Information that must be reported

Year 2

(end of KS1)

Year 6

(end of KS2)

Year 7,

8 & 9 (KS3)

Year 10

& 11 (KS4)

General progress x  x  x  x
Brief particulars of achievements, highlighting strengths and developmental needs x  x  x  x
How to arrange a discussion about the report with a teacher at the school  x  x  x  x
Attendance record  x  x  x  x
The grade achieved in subjects for which the pupil was entered for GCSE        x
Any other qualification, or unit towards qualification, and the grade achieved        x

How can I help my child?

Stay Connected

Having a good relationship with your child’s teacher can create an important link between home and school. In this video you can learn about some of the different ways to stay connected - from helping out with lessons to simply sharing your views with the teacher, there are many different ways to get involved.

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