Explain What Is Mean't by the Term National Curriculum

In 1988 the Education Reform Act introduced the National Curriculum into mainstream schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as there had been concerns about the variation of teaching and learning within schools across the country.   Until this time schools were free to choose what was taught with only Religious Education being the only compulsory subject.   When first introduced it was thought that a standard curriculum across the country would make it easier to teach what is appropriate for modern day society and to give all children better access to a higher level of education. To keep up with the ever changing world and our society the National Curriculum is ever evolving and in September 2000 the National Curriculum was revised yet again and will continue to be revised in the future.

All children from the age of 5 through to 16 in State schools in England and Wales are required by law to attend school and the National Curriculum sets out the legal statutory entitlement for their learning along with standards required along with how they will be assessed and reported on.

The aims of the National Curriculum are:

• To give all children the opportunity to learn and achieve.
• To help promote spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and prepares for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life.
• To include, in addition to the National Curriculum, Religious Education as well and sex education for secondary schools.

Teachers when planning and teaching need to take into consideration the following:

• To set pupils suitable learning challenges.
• Take into consideration each pupils needs.
• To help pupils overcome barriers to learning and assessment for individuals and groups such as pupils with SENS (Special Educational Needs), pupils with English as an additional language or pupils with disabilities.

The National Curriculum is set into four Key Stages and relates to the age of the pupils.   Key Stage 1 and 2 are...