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Key stages and The National Curriculum explained

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Ever wanted the key stages and The National Curriculum explained? The National Curriculum was set up in 1989 as a bench mark of standards set for all state schools to achieve so that the education in the UK was at the same level in all areas of the nation and comprises of different subjects taught in a variety of ways.

Key Stages

The National Curriculum is broken down into four ‘Key Stages’ that cover all age groups from 5 to 16 and represent a system of targeted learning that teachers should adhere to in order to control and develop the learning of our children. There is also a system in place for under 5’s called Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) which operates standards for pre-school learning centres such as nurseries, play groups, reception classes and after school clubs. The EYFS is in place to monitor the quality of education given to young people prior to them entering formal education and is regulated closely by Ofsted.key stages and the national curriculum explained

What are they?

The aim of the Key Stages is to set clear guidelines of what teachers should be delivering in classrooms so that all pupils are at the same levels when entering age groups as well as a system for testing these levels at the end of each key stage. Key stage 1 covers pupils aged 5 to 7, with Key Stage 2 covering ages 7 to 11, both of these being junior school years. Senior school years are covered by Key Stage 3, 11 to 14 and Key Stage 3, 14 to 16, with more emphasis given to allowing the child to chose the subjects which they find most interesting as they develop and giving them the chance to shape their own learning.

Key stage elements

All Key Stages must follow the six Curriculum elements which are; Language and Literacy, Mathematics and Numeracy, The Arts, The World Around Us, Personal Development and Mutual Understanding and Physical Education, The National Curriculum also dictates four teaching requirements; Use Language Effectively, Use Information and Communication Technology Effectively, Follow Health and Safety Guidelines and provide teaching that includes different ethnic minority viewpoints.

Recent criticismkey stages and the national curriculum explained

The National Curriculum and it’s methods of testing students from the age of five has received criticism from those who claim it places young children under unnecessary stress for the duration of their academic career which in turn hinders their educational development. It is also claimed by many that the purpose of testing pupils at the end of key stages is the development of school league tables and the pursuit of better funding by gaining better results. In recent years many parents have expressed concern in what has been called the “dumming down” of key stage testing in order to present better results in league tables.

Whatever your feeling on the subject the Key Stage system does provide an accurate means to standardise education across the country to ensure that no students are left behind when they struggle with material and in the future we can hope to see the same values and subjects tackled by teachers in a more fluid way.



About Steven Petter

About Steven Petter

Steve has three children, Connor, Harmony-Skye and Fletcher. He is a Martial Arts enthusiast as well as an avid reader of books about Philosophy, he began writing short stories and also writes music reviews.

Website: Steven Petter

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