What is the National Curriculum?

The National Curriculum was established in 1989 to ensure the same standards of teaching and learning across the nation. It covers learning for all children aged 5-16 in state schools, and sets out:

  • which subjects should be taught
  • the knowledge, skills and understanding your child should achieve in each subject (according to your child’s age)
  • targets – so teachers can measure how well your child is doing in each subject
  • how information on your child’s progress should be passed on to you

Other types of school, like academies and the independent sector, don’t have to follow purely those subjects as set out in the national curriculum, but can add in languages, classics and drama, for example.

The National Curriculum is organised into blocks of years called ‘key stages’ (KS). At the end of each key stage, the school will formally assess your child’s performance.