Explain What Is Meant by the Term National Curriculum

The term National Curriculum refers to a set of guidelines that all state run schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are required by law to adhere to, to ensure that all children of   legal school age receive a balanced and consistent education, that is appropriate to their ability, special educational needs and age. That promotes their Spiritual, moral ,social and cultural development and prepares them for the experiences, opportunities and responsibilities of life.
The National Curriculum was introduced in 1988 by The Education Reform act. Up until this time schools were allowed to choose what subjects they taught, with the exception of Religious Education which was compulsory.
The National Curriculum sets out core and foundation subjects that have to be taught, sets targets for learning in those subject’s and assessment methods to measure performance and progress. As long as the   programmes of study that are set out for each subject   are followed , schools can choose their own methods of   delivering the National Curriculum and create their own lesson plans to suit their   pupils individual requirements. They may also teach additional subjects and offer extra curricular activities. In addition, Religious studies are also included,   and sex education in secondary school.
The National Curriculum is broken down into four ‘key stages’ that cover all twelve years of learning and also includes the EYFS, which applies to children under five. Key stages 1 and 2 which cover ages 5-7 and 7-11 respectively,   are taught in primary school and key stages 3 and 4 which cover ages 11-14 and 14-16, are taught in secondary schools.
At the end of Key stage 1, 2 and 3, there are teacher assessments which provide information on the pupil’s knowledge,   understanding and progress in each subject area. The outcome of these tests in tern, determine the performance of the school as a whole.