The National Curriculum
In September 2014 the Government introduced the New National Curriculum for children in Primary schools. For most children the changes in the Curriculum were introduced in September but children in Year 2 and 6 will follow the existing programmes of study in English, Maths and Science until September 2015.
The National Curriculum provides pupils with an introduction to the essential knowledge that they need to be educated citizens. It provides an outline of the core knowledge around which teachers can develop exciting and stimulating lessons to promote the development of pupil’s knowledge, understanding and skills as part of the wider school curriculum.
Although the New Curriculum is intended to be more challenging, the content is actually slimmer than the previous curriculum. Teachers are required to set high expectations for every pupil.
The main changes in the New Curriculum are summarised below :
- Stronger emphasis on vocabulary development, grammar, punctuation and spelling (for example, the use of commas and apostrophes will be taught in KS1)
- Handwriting not currently assessed under the national curriculum is expected to be fluent, legible and speedy.
- Spoken English has a greater emphasis, with children to be taught debating and presenting skills.
- Five-year-olds will be expected to learn to count up to 100 (compared to 20 under the current curriculum) and learn number bonds to 20 (currently up to 10).
- 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 12×12 (currently 10×10 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.
Design and technology
- Afforded greater importance under the new curriculum, setting children on 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.
- 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.
- Currently not statutory, a modern foreign language or ancient language (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.