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The National Curriculum
The National Curriculum (NC) is the outlined educational requirement for pupils of a compulsory school age (5-18 years). The National Curriculum applies to all pupils in state funded schools that are known as maintained schools. It does not apply in private schools (known as independent schools), although most choose to follow it. The National Curriculum is organised on the basis of five key stages, one applies to children aged 3-5, two are applicable to primary schools and two to secondary schools.
|Key Stage||Age Group||School Year|
|Foundation Stage||Age 3-5||Nursery and Reception|
|Key Stage 1||Age 5-7||Year groups 1-2|
|Key Stage 2||Age 7-11||Year groups 3-6|
|Key Stage 3||Age 11-14||Year groups 7-9|
|Key Stage 4||Age 14-16||Year groups 10-11|
|Key Stage 5||Age 16+||Sixth Form|
Pupils are assessed by National Curriculum tests at the end of each key stage:
- Key Stage 1 assessments are taken at age 7.
- Key Stage 2 assessments are taken at age 11.
- Key Stage 3 assessments are taken at age 14.
- Key Stage 4 is assessed by levels of achievement in National Qualifications such as GCSE.
- After Key Stage 4, compulsory education ends, but students can move on to further education at schools or Further Education (FE) colleges.
Programmes of Study
The programmes of study (PoS) dictate the order and manner in which children are taught in each subject and provide the basis for a teacher’s planning. Schools decide for themselves how to organise the curriculum to cover the programmes of study. These work in conjunction with attainment targets and level descriptions, which set out the expected standard of pupil performance. For further information please visit the National Curriculum website.