A ‘curriculum’ is a list of content to be taught and learnt – a course of study for schools, colleges and universities. From September 2014, schools in England follow a new National Curriculum - a course of study decided by the Department for Education. Below is a brief introduction to the National Curriculum. Download the entire National Curriculum for more detail.
National Curriculum: overview
The following extract from section 2 of the National Curriculum (Department for Education, September 2013) provides a helpful overview:
2.1 Every state-funded school must offer a curriculum which is balanced and broadly based and which: promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. 2.2 The school curriculum comprises all learning and other experiences that each school plans for its pupils. The national curriculum forms one part of the school curriculum. 2.3 All state schools are also required to make provision for a daily act of collective worship and must teach religious education to pupils at every key stage and sex and relationship education to pupils in secondary education. 2.4 Maintained schools in England are legally required to follow the statutory national curriculum which sets out in programmes of study, on the basis of key stages, subject content for those subjects that should be taught to all pupils. All schools must publish their school curriculum by subject and academic year online (as we do here). 2.5 All schools should make provision for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), drawing on good practice. Schools are also free to include other subjects or topics of their choice in planning and designing their own programme of education.
The National Curriculum: aims
Section 3 2 of the National Curriculum (Department for Education, September 2013) sets out its aims:
3.1 The national curriculum provides pupils with an introduction to the essential knowledge that they need to be educated citizens. It introduces pupils to the best that has been thought and said; and helps engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement. 3.2 The national curriculum is just one element in the education of every child. There is time and space in the school day and in each week, term and year to range beyond the national curriculum specifications. The national curriculum provides an outline of core knowledge around which teachers can develop exciting and stimulating lessons to promote the development of pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills as part of the wider school curriculum.
The National Curriculum Structure
The National Curriculum states that all state schools in England and Wales should provide a balanced and broadly based curriculum that:
- promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society
- prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.
In primary schools, learning is organised into three phases:
- Early Years Foundation Stage: ages 3 - 4 (Nursery and Reception)
- Key Stage 1: ages 5-7 (Years 1-2)
- Key Stage 2: ages 7-11 (Years 3-6)
At Key Stages 1 and 2, the statutory subjects that all pupils must study are:
- Art and Design
- Design and Technology
- Physical education (PE)
- Languages (KS2)
Religious Education (RE) and Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE) must also be provided at Key Stages 1 and 2.
At St. Wulstan’s, all Key Stage 2 children are taught French as part of the curriculum.
Click here for a Parents’ Guide to the National Curriculum