Key Stage 1


Subjects At Key Stage 1, all state schools have to teach all the National Curriculum subjects listed below. Although independent schools have more freedom in curriculum most do adhere to the subjects as set out by the government. There is also some variation between the different countries of the United Kingdom. The ten subjects which must be taught are:
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Design and technology
  • Computing
  • History
  • Geography
  • Art and design
  • Music
  • Physical education

Religious education must be taught at all Key Stages. Topics such as personal, social and health education (PSHE) and citizenship do not have to be taught - but many schools choose to teach them. Languages are not required to be taught in Key Stage 1. Many such additional subjects are covered in Assemblies, geography and history work and even science topics. From 2014 changes in the curriculum took place: pre-set levels of attainment have been removed and now teachers are required to set their own levels in judging their pupils' achievement. The phased transition from the previous curriculum to a new curriculum was completed in 2016.

Each individual child Key Stage 1 is only meant to be a recommended standard for children. Although the previous use of formal levels of attainment no longer applies, teachers will still seek to try and standardise the work set for all children, devising the most appropriate methods of judgment.. girl
Your child and how to help If your child finds the work easy the best plan is to talk to their teacher about which target they should be aiming for - they may need to aim higher. Most teachers, as professionals, have their classes organised into groups so that children are working at different levels and are having the satisfaction of achieving success as well as making progress. Sometimes the work set will be to extend the children’s thought processes sideways or to test their retained knowledge.

Our worksheets can help you help your child 

The school will tell you in good time if your child is likely to find the required level of attainment difficult when they reach age 7. Every school must give parents at least an annual report on how their child is progressing in each National Curriculum subject.
Children develop at different rates so if the school says that your child is likely to find it difficult to attain a particular target do not become over anxious. Some may not reach the level at that age, but will catch up later. Talk to their teacher about how you can help. At the moment, however, your child may need extra help or further explanation from you or from the teacher. Some children have ‘Special educational needs’ but there should always be extra help available.

School has the advantage of developing all aspects of your child’s personality and helping them mature in all directions. Your child has to grow up, make friends, and increase in confidence. School is also a ‘learning curve’ for parents and one where you have to learn to trust your child to professionals and to allow your child to mature and become more independent of you. Many parents find this difficult and are reluctant to ‘let go’. Once your child wears school uniform they immediately look much more grown up!
Parental help Parents will need to know how to equip their child for school, learn about school dinners, after school clubs, library books and even where to take their child and where to pick them up. Schools are used to these sort of questions so do not be afraid to ask and to ensure that you are happy so that your child settles with ease and in a relaxed manner. Try not to be late either in the morning or at the end of the day as this will cause your child concern and unnecessary anxiety.

Key Stage 1 SATs are taken by children in the final term of Year 2 and they include formal assessments in mathematics, reading, spelling, punctuation and grammar, taking around 3 hours in total; these will be slotted into the normal school routine, so children may not even be aware they are being tested. SATs are only one part of the KS1 assessment process, so they are not the be-all and end-all of the process. All the work children have done in Years 1 and 2 will be taken into account to build an accurate picture of how well your child is doing. You will receive a report from your child's school on their progress in maths, English reading, English writing and science by the end of Term 6. Other subjects are important and necessary for the complete development of your child. They should enjoy music, P.E. learning about the past and the area that they live in. There will be subjects to develop their creative tendencies such as art, music and drama. Some children will learn another language and if English is not their first language they will be developing their English vocabulary and grammar. All the National Curriculum subjects are very important; they all contribute to your child's education in different ways. English and maths are tested because, although the other subjects are important, these are the ones that provide the strongest foundation for future learning, so it is important that parents can be completely certain their children are making good progress in those subjects.

Your child's school should have policies on illness, dietary problems and health issues such as diabetes and asthma, as well as on behaviour and charging - you will find many of these on your school's website. Make sure that you know these and have discussed them with your current child’s teacher. You will feel more relaxed and secure which is important too. You should be able to talk regularly to your child's teacher. You don't have to wait for a parents' evening - telephone and ask the school for an appointment with your child's teacher at any time. Teachers are usually busy welcoming children into school in the mornings, so it is much better to wait for an appointment if at all possible.

Many parents worry as their children get older about internet safety, drug education and the temptations which modern society may hold for young children. Most schools do include all of these issues both in the class lessons for the older classes and also by inviting outside agencies into school. Many children benefit from talks by the local police about drugs, crime and modern society. It does depend on the school policy but usually you are informed, and sometimes invited to attend as it is important that children hear the same message at school and at home.

Homework policy Some schools have a homework policy and others feel that the children work hard enough in school and need time to relax. The aims of setting homework are to ensure that your child has understood the work done in class; to reiterate the learning; for the teacher to see if the children have retained information and also sometimes to give children the opportunity to research, collate and present their own thoughts and ideas.

girl writing

Your input into the homework is a personal decision. No teacher wants the parent to do the work for the child but any elaboration or reinforcement is good and works towards the parent-school agreement. It is however important that each child has a quiet place to work, has clean paper, pencils and the necessary books at home to complete the given tasks. Spellings and tables will need to be ‘tested at home’ and children given encouragement.

Topic work follow up at home Sometimes during a specific topic or project parents might like to take the opportunity to visit a relevant venue with their child. This may be to see the dinosaurs in the museum or even to see the baby lambs being born! This enables the child to have a added dimension to the work done in school. Please avoid any class outing venues which the teacher or school may have already planned for the whole class. It is interesting for a parent to have the opportunity to know what their child is doing in school, to see the progress that they are making and to be able to discuss and help your child plan their thoughts and ideas.

Listening and caring It is always good to talk to children, to listen to their points of view and from there to guide them in the right direction. It is not always easy being a parent and it is a constantly changing learning curve. You love your children so it is worth remaining friends and for them to feel that you will support them even if they make mistakes. We have all done this and benefited from mums and dads who have been there for us. Enjoy your children - they so soon grow up into independent young people.


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