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The 2014 National Curriculum – what do parents need to know?

The National Curriculum in England is currently in a period of transition. New programmes of study and attainment targets will eventually replace the existing National Curriculum.

The main reason for this change is to raise standards and although the new curriculum is intended to be more challenging, the content of the new one is actually slimmer than the old one. It focusses on essential subject knowledge and skills such as extended writing and computer programming.

For your information a summary of the main changes are below:

English: Stronger emphasis on vocabulary development, grammar, punctuation and spelling ( for example, the use of commas and apostrophes will be taught in KS1). Handwriting is expected to be fluent, legible and speedy. Spoken English has a greater emphasis with children to be taught debating and presenting skills

Maths: Five-year-olds will be expected to learn to count up to 100 ( compared to 20 under the current curriculum) and learn number bonds to 20 (currently up to 10). Simple fractions such as 1/4 and 1/2 will be taught from KS1 and by the end of primary school, children will be expected to know times tables up to 12×12 ( currently 10×10) Calculators will not be introduced until near the end of KS2, to encourage mental arithmetic.

Science: Strong focus on scientific knowledge and language, rather than understanding the nature and methods of science in abstract terms. Evolution will be taught in primary schools for the first time. Non-core subjects like caring for animals will be replaced by topics like the human circulatory system.

Design and technology: This has become more important in the new curriculum, setting children on the path to becoming the designers and engineers of the future. More sophisticated use of design equipment such as electronics and robotics. In KS2, children will learn about how key events and individuals in design and technology have shaped the world.

ICT: Computing replaces Information and Communication Technology (ICT) with a greater focus on programming rather than on operating programs. From the age of 5, children will learn to write and test simple programs, and to organise, store and retrieve data. From 7, they will be taught to understand computer networks, including the internet. Internet safety will be taught in primary schools.

Languages: A modern foreign language will be mandatory in KS2. We learn French. Children will be expected to master basic grammar and accurate pronunciation and to converse, present, read and write in the language.