National Curriculum Learning Objectives

From September 2014, a new National Curriculum was introduced in English schools but not all schools have to follow it. It is the first major curriculum change since 2000. Children in Years 2 and 6 will continue to follow the existing programmes of study for English, Maths and Science until September 2015.

Academies and Free Schools are not compelled to follow the new curriculum but they can if they choose. These schools however, are required to teach a ‘balanced and broad based’ curriculum that includes English, Maths, Science and Religious Education.

Why has the curriculum changed?

The new National Curriculum is a slimmed-down curriculum for 5 to 16 year olds designed to challenge learners and place greater emphasis on core subject knowledge and skills. Its aim is to raise standards across England.

The new curriculum gives teachers more freedom over their teaching methods.

Find out more about what your child will learn

What has changed?

Learning objectives in the core subjects English, Maths and Science are changing and some new learning objectives for non-core subjects have been introduced. The below table provides an overview of the changes by subject.

Learning focus
EnglishThere is now strong emphasis on developing vocabulary and using correct grammar, punctuation and spelling
EnglishHandwriting is expected to be fluent, legible and speedy and will now be assessed
EnglishChildren are taught to debate and develop verbal presentation skills giving greater emphasis on spoken English
MathsBy the end of primary school, children should know how to convert decimal fractions to simple fractions
MathsBy the end of Y4, children should know times tables up to 12x12 (in the old curriculum it was 10x10 by the end Y6)
MathsTo encourage mental arithmetic calculators are not introduced until near the end of primary school
ScienceThere is a focus on scientific knowledge and language
ScienceChildren in primary schools are taught about evolution
ScienceMore scientific topics such as the human circulatory system, forces and friction are taught
Design & technologyGreater importance is put on D&T, encouraging children to becoming the designers and engineers of the future
Design & technologyChildren use more sophisticated design equipment such as electronics and robotics
Design & technologyIn KS2, children will learn about how key events and individuals in design and technology have shaped the world
ComputingComputing focuses on programming rather than on operating programs
ComputingFrom age 5, children learn to write and test simple programs, and to organise, store and retrieve data
ComputingFrom Y2 children are taught to understand computer networks, including the internet
ComputingInternet safety is taught to all pupils
LanguagesA modern foreign language or ancient language (Latin or Greek) is mandatory in KS2
LanguagesIt is expected that children will master basic grammar and accurate pronunciation and speak, read and write in the language

What tests will my child have to take?

The new national curriculum will be assessed for the first time in May 2016. There will be new tests as outlined below for Key Stage 1, as well as key stage 2.