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 do not 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, the teacher will formally assess your child’s performance.
|Child’s age||Year||Key stage||Assessment|
|3 to 4||Early years|
|4 to 5||Reception||Early years||Teacher assessments (there’s also an optional assessment at the start of the year)|
|5 to 6||Year 1||KS1||Phonics screening check|
|6 to 7||Year 2||KS1||National tests and teacher assessments in English, maths and science|
|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 and maths, and teacher assessments in science|
|11 to 12||Year 7||KS3|
|12 to 13||Year 8||KS3|
|13 to 14||Year 9||KS3|
|14 to 15||Year 10||KS4||Some children take GCSEs|
|15 to 16||Year 11||KS4||Most children take GCSEs or other national|
By the end of each summer term the school must write a report on your child’s progress and talk it through with you.