National Curriculum

The National Curriculum and obligatory exams in the United Kingdom...<br class="spacer_" />

The National Curriculum defines the different stages and core subjects that all children in the state system must be taught during their time at school.

For primary school children, the subjects they must learn are english, maths, science, design and technology, information and Communication Technology (ICT), history, geography, art and design, music and physical education.

They are tested at the end of each school year, although only some of these tests will be formally assessed.

  • For further information from on the National Curriculum at primary level: Click here

At secondary school level, the subjects are the same, apart from students must also take modern foreign languages, art and design, and citizenship. Schools also have to provide sex and relationship education (SRE), religious education and in Year 9, they must take careers education and guidance.

Parents may choose to withdraw their children from part of the SRE curriculum and from all or part of the religious education curriculum.

  • For information from on secondary level education: Click here

When a child reaches Year 9 at secondary school, they will choose subjects for their GCSE exams (General Certificate of Secondary Education; a national examination, the results for which are posted in schools at the end of August every year).

Normally children take up to nine GCSEs. Pupils are then able to decide whether they would like to carry on with their education and study for A Level (Advanced Level) exams. Around 320,000 teenagers take the exams every year. They normally opt for three or four subjects.

The school years in state schools are categorised as follows

Age 4-5 Reception
Age 5-6 Year 1
Age 6-7 Year 2 - End of Key Stage 1
Age 7-8 Year 3
Age 8-9 Year 4
Age 9-10 Year 5
Age 10-11 Year 6 - End of Key Stage 2
Age 11-12 Year 7
Age 12-13 Year 8
Age 13-14 Year 9 - End of Key Stage 3
Age 14-15 Year 10
Age 15-16 Year 11
Age 16-17 Year 12
Age 17-18 Year 13

Children are assessed at the end of three key stages to measure a child's progress and parents receive a report stating the level at which the child is working.

  • For further information on assessments and tests: Click here