Understanding the National Curriculum

What is the National Curriculum?

SWhat is the National Curriculum?tate schools in England must teach a range of subjects according to targets set by the National Curriculum. This was established in 1989 to ensure the same standards of teaching and learning across the nation.

  • The National Curriculum covers learning for all children aged 5-16 in state schools, and sets out:
  • Which subjects should be taught
  • The knowledge, skills and understanding your child should achieve in each subject (according to your child’s age)
  • Targets – so teachers can measure how well your child is doing in each subject
  • How information on your child’s progress should be passed on to you

What are the Key Stages?

The National Curriculum is divided into four Key Stages that children are taken through during their school life. For example, Key Stage 1 is taught during Years 1 and 2 of primary school. Targets defined in the National Curriculum are assessed at the end of each Key Stage.

The five Key Stages:

Key Stage 1  Ages 5-7  Years 1 and 2
Key Stage 2  Ages 7-11  Years 3, 4, 5 and 6
Key Stage 3  Ages 11-14  Years 7, 8 and 9
Key Stage 4  Ages 14-16  Years 10 and 11
Key Stage 5  Ages 16-18  Years 12 and 13