National Curriculum

The National Curriculum, introduced following the education reform act of 1988, ensures that all state schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland provide a common curriculum to all students.

The National Curriculum applies to all state schooled children between the ages of 5 and 16, but does not apply to independent schools who can teach their own curriculum.

The aims of the National Curriculum are to provide a consistent level of teaching and learning, and promote a students moral, social and spiritual development.

Key Stages

The National Curriculum is split into Key Stages that define the learning and teaching requirements for different age groups:

Key Stage

Age Range

School Year

 Foundation 3-4 
 Reception 4-5 
 KS1 5-7 1-2
 KS2 7-11 3-6
 KS3 11-14 7-9
 KS4 14-16 10-11

Throughout a child's time at school they are continually assessed by their teachers based on the work they do, and SATs or Key Stage tests provide a measure of a child's performance against national standards at specific points during their learning.

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