The National Curriculum in England (2014)

Every state-funded school must offer a curriculum which is balanced and broadly based and which:

  • promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and
  • prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

The school curriculum comprises all learning and other experiences that each school plans for its pupils. The national curriculum forms one part of the school curriculum.

All state schools are also required to make provision for a daily act of collective worship and must teach religious education to pupils at every key stage.

Maintained schools in England are legally required to follow the statutory national curriculum which sets out in programmes of study, on the basis of key stages, subject content for those subjects that should be taught to all pupils.

All schools should make provision for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), drawing on good practice. Schools are also free to include other subjects or topics of their choice in planning and designing their own programme of education.


The national curriculum provides pupils with an introduction to the essential knowledge that they need to be educated citizens. It introduces pupils to the best that has been thought and said; and helps engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.

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.

Pupils of compulsory school age must follow the national curriculum. It is organised on the basis of four key stages and twelve subjects, classified in legal terms as ‘core’ and ‘other foundation’ subjects.

The key stage 2 programmes of study for English, mathematics and science are presented as ‘lower’ (years 3 and 4) and ‘upper’ (years 5 and 6). The legal requirement is to cover the content of the programmes of study for years 3 to 6 by the end of key stage 2.

The core subjects in Key Stage 1 and 2 are:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science

The foundation subjects are:

  • Art & Design
  • Computing
  • Design & Technology
  • Languages (Key Stage 2)
  • Geography
  • History
  • Music
  • Physical Education

Other subjects which must also be studied are:

  • Religious Education
  • Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education

At Aldbrough Primary School, all children are taught the core subjects in discreet lessons. Science is taught for at least one hour per week but is also often incorporated into other areas of the curriculum where possible/applicable.

English and Maths are taught daily, for at least one hour per day. English lessons incorporate all aspects of spoken and written Literacy and include:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking & Listening
  • Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar.

Additionally, our pupils engage in Big Maths sessions which aim to develop and strengthen the core skills involved in mathematical knowledge and understanding. In some classes, this is taught as a separate session, in addition to the maths lesson. In other classes, this is incorporated into the maths session as appropriate. In EYFS, children are following the Little Big Maths programme.

All children in Years 1 - 6 are taught Computing once per week, with a strong emphasis on developing skills for e-safety and awareness.

Most of the foundation subjects are taught cross-curricularly as part of a thematic approach in both KS1 and KS2. The Early Years Foundation Stage follow the plan for KS1 at a differentiated level. This ensures full coverage of the national curriculum and makes links between subjects in order to deliver an interesting, broad and balanced curriculum.

RE, PSHE and Languages (KS2) are taught in weekly discreet sessions throughout the school.

Changes are sometimes made to the long term plan when year groups have to be split or special occasions are celebrated. The content is carefully regulated at these times in order to ensure full coverage.

The following pages outline the statutory requirements which all of our teachers incorporate into their delivery of the curriculum, using a thematic base.