What is the National Curriculum?
The National Curriculum defines the programmes of study for key subjects in maintained/ state primary secondary schools in England (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own equivalents). Fundamentally, it sets out what all children are supposed to learn and when during their time at school.
Why the big curriculum change?
The main aim is to raise standards (particularly as the UK was seen to be slipping down international student assessment league tables). Although the new curriculum is intended to be more challenging, the content is actually slimmer than the old curriculum, focusing on essential core subject knowledge and skills such as essay writing and computer programming.
The main changes
Below summarises the main changes in the core subjects.
- Stronger emphasis on vocabulary development, grammar, punctuation and spelling (for example, the use of commas and apostrophes will be taught in KS1)
- Reading is at the core of the whole curriculum with a big emphasis on reading for pleasure both at home and at school.
- Handwriting (not assessed under the old national curriculum) is expected to be fluent, legible and speedy
- Spoken English is given greater emphasis, with children being taught debating and presentation skills.
- Five-year-olds will be expected to learn to count up to 100 (compared to 20 under the old curriculum) and learn number bonds to 20 (up to 10 in the old curriculum)
- Simple fractions (1/4 and 1/2) will be taught from KS1, and by the end of primary school, children should be able to convert decimal fractions to simple fractions (e.g. 0.375 = 3/8)
- By the age of nine, children will be expected to know times tables up to 12x12 (currently 10x10 by the end of primary school)
- Calculators will not be introduced until near the end of KS2, to encourage mental arithmetic.
- Strong focus on scientific knowledge and language, rather than understanding the nature and methods of science in abstract terms
- Evolution will be taught in primary schools for the first time
- Non-core subjects like caring for animals will be replaced by topics like the human circulatory system
- Computing replaces Information and Communication Technology (ICT), with a greater focus on programming rather than on operating programs.
- From age five, children will learn to write and test simple programs, and to organise, store and retrieve data.
- From seven, they will be taught to understand computer networks, including the internet
- Internet safety - currently only taught from 11-16 - will be taught in primary schools
Design and Technology( DT)
- Design and Technology has become more important in the new curriculum, setting children in the path to becoming the designers and engineers of the future
- More sophisticated use of design equipment such as electronics and robotics
- In KS2, children will learn about how key events and individuals in design and technology have shaped the world
- Greater emphasis on cookery
- Greater use of atlases and maps including O/S maps and digital maps
- Children are expected to know and locate countries, capitals, major cities, mountains and rivers
- In depth studies of a European, North/South American country and a region of the British Isles are required
- Greater emphasis on British History taught in chronological order from Stone Age to 1066. Tudors no longer taught in KS2
- The term Languages will replace the term modern foreign languages
- Currently not statutory, a modern foreign language or ancient language such as Latin or Greek will be mandatory in KS2.
- Children will be expected to master basic grammar and accurate pronunciation and to converse, present, read and write in the language
Physical Education (PE), Music, Religious Education (RE)
The study of these subjects remains largely unchanged.
Our approach to the National Curriculum 2014
At Garlinge Primary School and Nursery we believe that every pupil is entitled to a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum that takes account of the requirements of the National Curriculum and other guidance documents. Teaching and Learning is based on the children's and classes individual needs.
At Garlinge Primary School and Nursery we use a whole text (book) as stimulus or 'vehicle' to deliver the National Curriculum in a cross curricular way through topics. This allows for key skills to be applied in a purposeful and engaging context. The National Curriculum 2014 programmes of study in English, History, Geography, Art, Design and Technology, Computing and Music (Science and PE where possible) are taught in this way. Mathematics, Languages and RE are taught as discreet subjects.
All teachers have been given training within school about the new National Curriculum and where applicable, staff have been on training provided by the Local Authority and other external providers.
Click here for the parent's guide to the new national curriculum document.