Getting to grips with the UK National Curriculum
The National Curriculum is the system by which school-aged children are taught and assessed on their academic ability. The Curriculum dictates the subjects and stages pupils are taught throughout their school careers. From the age of five to sixteen, children who attend state schools are expected to learn under the National Curriculum.
The main aim of The National Curriculum is to ensure that all children are taught the same subjects at the same level and are educated from the same coursework.
Schools themselves, have the freedom to decide the way in which The National Curriculum is taught as long as its standards and guidelines are adhered to. In England, As of April 2012, the curriculum is set by The Teaching Agency. In Scotland, Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) is responsible for the development of the Scottish Curriculum. Both websites have an array of information regarding the current school syllabus and examination procedures.
The Key Stages of Learning
The National Curriculum itself is laid out in terms of pupils’ ages and year groups. Before starting school, children are taught under the EYFS, which stands for Early Years Foundation Stage – this normally applies to children under the age of five. From ages five until seven, children are taught at Key Stage 1 level, where the core subjects of Maths, English and Science are taught and assessed through examination.
When a child reaches the age of 7, they are taught under Key Stage 2 until they reach the age of 10 or equivalently reach year 6 in their school year, where they undergo National tests and classroom examinations in the core subjects listed at Key Stage 1. These classroom examinations continue until a child reaches their seventh school year and are then taught under the Key Stage 3 criteria. When a child reaches the age of 14 or school year 10, they learn under Key Stage 4 and many begin taking their GCSE exams at this stage. Certainly, by the time a pupil reaches 16, students are generally expected to be taking their GCSE’s.
Keys Stages and Private Tuition
The parents of children as young as 5 or 6 have been known to use tutors to aid their children’s learning and many private tutors do offer their tuition services at the Key Stage levels. At this age, it’s particularly important to be aware of a child’s learning capacity and not to overload them with too much information or indeed, study time which may have a negative impact on their well-being. Educators who offer their tuition services at primary education level, should be CRB checked and hold a valid, recent certificate to prove so.
Eleven Plus Examinations
Schools pupils sit the Eleven Plus examination in their final year of primary school. In the UK, all schools used to have this examination but in more recent years, only some councils use the exam. Many of the councils that do use the exam, do not teach the exam technique as part of the school curriculum, therefore eleven plus private tuition is very popular in some parts of England. A good source of information on the 11+ plus exam can be found at Eleven Plus Exams, a site which has been set up specifically, by a parent, in order to help others understand the 11+ system.