The national curriculum is a set of subjects and standards used by primary and secondary schools so children learn the same things. It covers what subjects are taught and the standards children should reach in each subject.
Other types of school like academies and private schools don’t have to follow the national curriculum. Academies must teach a broad and balanced curriculum including English, maths and science. They must also teach religious education.
The national curriculum is organised into blocks of years called ‘key stages’ (KS). At the end of each key stage, your child’s teacher will formally assess their performance to measure your child’s progress.
|Age||Year||Key stage||Assessment||Average level of attainment|
|3 to 4||Early years|
|4 to 5||Reception||Early years|
|5 to 6||Year 1||KS1||Phonics screening check|
|6 to 7||Year 2||KS1||Teacher assessments in English, maths and science||Expected|
|7 to 8||Year 3||KS2|
|8 to 9||Year 4||KS2|
|9 to 10||Year 5||KS2|
|10 to 11||Year 6||KS2||National tests and teacher assessments in English, maths and science||Expected|
|11 to 12||Year 7||KS3||Teacher assessments|
|12 to 13||Year 8||KS3||Teacher assessments|
|13 to 14||Year 9||KS3||Teacher assessments||Expected|
|14 to 15||Year 10||KS4||Some children take GCSEs|
|15 to 16||Year 11||KS4||Most children take GCSEs or other national qualifications|
The school must report your child’s progress to you. This can happen in different ways, eg an end-of-term report or meetings at the school.
Children will start sitting the new national primary curriculum tests in 2016.
Key stage 1 and 2
Compulsory national curriculum subjects at primary school are:
Schools must provide religious education (RE) but parents can ask for their children to be taken out of the whole lesson or part of it.
Schools often also teach:
The check will take place in June when your child will read 40 words out loud to a teacher. You’ll find out how your child did, and their teacher will assess whether he or she needs extra help with reading. If your child doesn’t do well enough in the check they’ll have to do it again in Year 2.
Key stage 1 tasks and tests cover:
The tasks and tests are taken when the school chooses.
Your child’s teacher will use the child’s work (including spoken work and homework) to work out what level your child is at in each area.
You can ask for the results but they’re only used to help the teacher assess your child’s work.
Key stage 2 tests cover:
The tests are taken in mid-May and last under 5 hours 30 minutes in total. You’ll get the results in July. If your child is demonstrating higher achievement then the headteacher may put them in for extra tests.
When your child reaches the end of key stage 2 the teacher will also report on your child’s progress in English, maths and science