National Curriculum of England

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 structure of the national curriculum, in terms of which subjects are compulsory at each key stage, is set out in the table below:

Key stage 1 Key stage 2 Key stage 3 Key stage 4
Age 5 – 7 7 – 11 11 – 14 14 – 16
Grade 1 – 2 3 – 6 7 – 9 10 – 11

Structure of the National Curriculum

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science

Core Subjects

  • Art and design
  • Citizenship
  • Computing
  • Design and technology
  • Languages
  • Music
  • Physical education

Foundation Subjects


Pupils should be taught to speak clearly and convey ideas confidently using Standard English. They should learn to justify ideas with reasons; ask questions to check understanding; develop vocabulary and build knowledge; negotiate; evaluate and build on the ideas of others; and select the appropriate register for effective communication.
Pupils should be taught to read fluently, understand extended prose (both fiction and non-fiction) and be encouraged to read for pleasure. Schools should do everything to promote wider reading. Pupils’ acquisition and command of vocabulary are key to their learning and progress across the whole curriculum.


Pupils should be taught to apply arithmetic fluently to problems, understand and use measures, make estimates and sense check their work. Pupils should apply their geometric and algebraic understanding, and relate their understanding of probability to the notions of risk and uncertainty. They should also understand the cycle of collecting, presenting and analysing data. They should be taught to apply their mathematics to both routine and non-routine problems, including breaking down more complex problems into a series of simpler steps.