NEW NATIONAL CURRICULUM
In September 2014 the Department for Education (DfE) introduced a new National Curriculum which affects what we teach your children in our school. Early Years (or Reception) have their own curriculum and children in Years 1,3,4 and 5 have been following the new National Curriculum since the start of the year. For the 2014/2015 academic years the DfE has expected children in Year 2 and Year 6 to follow the old curriculum as this curriculum is covered by the Key Stage 1(KS1) and Key Stage 2 (KS2) tests in the summer term. However from the 2015/2016 academic year all children from Year 1 to Year 6 will use the new National Curriculum.
The new National Curriculum covers the majority of teaching in our school. It is essential to distinguish between the statutory National Curriculum and the whole school curriculum. All schools must provide a curriculum that is ‘broadly based, balanced and meets the needs of all pupils’.
All schools must teach religious education at all key stages although PSHCE and RE are not covered in this document. These areas of the curriculum provide a good opportunity to teach the children about the British Values which are so important to our society. We also hold an act of daily worship or reflection through our assemblies, as is expected.
Assessing the National curriculum
As well as changes to the National Curriculum there have been changes to how we assess children’s learning. The Government has not given any specific assessment levels so schools now have greater curriculum ‘freedom’. This means that schools will be able to choose their own formative or ongoing assessment method and are not tied to assessment using the language of ‘levels’ which you may be familiar with. There will be no nationally agreed way of doing this but as we move forward our Multi Academy Trust (MAT) will be developing a system that can be used in all of our schools.
Currently we are assessing our children in three ways. In Early Years the children are assessed against the Early Learning Goals, in Year 2 and 6 the children continue to be assessed using levelled tests and information from teachers about work in class. In the other years the teachers will use the new National Curriculum to assess whether each child is working below, at or above the level expected of their age group. For the most children this will mean that whatever year group they are in they will be at the expected level.
A new word that you might come across is called ‘mastery’. This means that the children are expected to be able to broaden their knowledge of skills from within the curriculum for their year groups. You may see this when they show that they can apply their skills across the curriculum rather than just in one area such as maths.
General Changes to the curriculum
One of the first changes that you might see is that the term ‘Literacy’ has been replaced by the term ‘English’. In Maths there will be greater rigour with a greater emphasis on arithmetic and the promotion of efficient written methods of long multiplication and division. There is also more demanding content in fractions, decimals and percentages.
In Science there is a stronger focus on the importance of scientific knowledge and language and a greater emphasis on the core scientific concepts underpinning pupils’ understanding. For the first time primary aged children will learn about evolution and inheritance.
The proposed English programmes of study will have higher standards of literacy. Pupils are expected to develop a stronger command of the written and spoken word. Through the strengthening of the teaching of phonics pupils will be helped to read fluently. We have continued to use Read Write Inc scheme to teach phonics as this programme covers the new National Curriculum.
The study of languages is compulsory in Key Stage 2 which we have been teaching. Also, the current ICT curriculum has a new computing curriculum with a much greater emphasis on computational thinking and practical programming skills.
Specific changes to the curriculum
Here are some of the expectations of the new National Curriculum:
English – KS1
- Only phonic reading strategies required
- No specific mention of group work or drama strategies
- References to ICT/typing removed
- Learning of poetry (including reciting poetry) introduced
- Specific spellings, e.g. days of the week
- Joined writing expected in Year 2
- Proof-reading of own writing
English – KS2
- Phonic decoding expected to be secure by Y3
- No specific mention of group work, drama strategies or use of ICT
- Learning of classic & modern poetry introduced (including reciting poetry)
- Specific spelling rules to be taught
- Précising and dictation
- Greatly increased expectations in grammar and punctuation (detailed appendices)
Mathematics – KS1
Rounding to nearest 10 removed from KS1
Y1: No data handling required
Y1: Counting & writing numbers to 100
Y1: Write numbers & words to 20
Y1: Number bonds to 20
Y2: Finding fractions of quantities
Y2: Adding two-digit numbers
Y2: Telling the time to nearest 5 minutes
Y2: Make comparisons using < > = symbols
Y2: Solve simple money problems using £/p
Mathematics – LKS2
No ‘ratio’ required in LKS2
Written division moved to Upper KS2
No calculator skills included
Carroll / Venn diagrams no longer required
Y3: Formal written methods for + & —
Y3: Compare, order & + & — easy fractions
Y3: Vocabulary of angles & lines
Y3: Time including 24h clock & Roman numerals
Y4: Recognise equivalent fractions/decimals
Y4: Solve fractions & decimals problems
Y4: Perimeter/area of compound shapes
Y4: Know multiplication tables to 12 x 12
Science – KS1
Some physics topics moved to KS2 only: Light & Dark; Sound; Forces; Electricity
- Reduce requirement to know life processes
- No requirement to make predictions or fair tests
- Drugs as medicines removed
- Care for animals/others/environment removed
- Changing materials with heat moves to KS2
- Y1: Naming of plants and animals added
- Y1: Seasonable changes & weather added
- Y2: Introduce simple food chains
- Y2: Some study of movement on different surfaces
Science – LKS2
Some movement between Y3 and Y4:
- Skeletons to Y3; Teeth & digestion to Y4
- Some units delayed to upper KS2:
- Forces; separating mixtures; insulators; adaptation
- Requirements reduced in electricity units
- All KS1 content for sound & light moves to LKS2
- Y3: Fossils and soils content added
- Y3: Flowers as part of the plant life cycle
- Y3: Light reflecting off surfaces
- Y4: Introduce changes of state & water cycle
- Y4: Common uses of electricity
- Y4: Changing environments
Greatly reduced detail in content, with much of the broader detail included in the aims. Specific objectives include only 4 areas:
- Use a range of materials (KS1)
- Use drawing, paint & sculpture to share ideas
- Develop techniques in colour, line, form, etc.
- Learn about the work of artists and designers
- Create & maintain sketch books (KS2)
Significant change in focus from digital literacy and applications
to control and programming
- Introduction to creating programs in KS1 (e.g. roamer style sequences of instructions)
- E-safety included in both key stages
- Logical reasoning and problem-solving to identify flaws in instructions and correct them
- Complex instruction systems and variables covered in KS2
- Understand and use computer networks, including the internet (KS2)
Design & Technology
Broadly similar requirements at both Key Stages for main aspects, although slightly less specific detail:
- Design, Make, Evaluate, Technical Knowledge
- Statutory requirement to include cooking at both Key Stages.
Reduced emphasis on investigative Geography and an increased focus on geographical knowledge:
- KS1: name continents and home countries
- KS1: Compare local geography to UK & world
- KS1: Introduce key geography vocabulary
- KS2: locate world countries; UK cities & regions
- KS2: Identify world feature, e.g. poles, tropics, etc.
- KS2: Comparison study in Americas and Europe
- KS2: Study climate, vegetation belts, land use, natural resources & trade links
- KS2:Use compass points & 6-figure grid references
Reduced emphasis on sources & methodology
- Relatively little change at KS1, with slight increase in national focus
- Reduced emphasis on diversity & culture
Significant changes in KS2 breadth of study:
- Victorians/Britain since 1930 & Tudors removed, Stone age added
- Romans, Anglo-Saxons & Vikings all required
- Slightly changes to ancient civilisation options
- A non-European study must be included
- One period of study that stretches past 1066
Slimmed-down Programme of Study
- KS1 focus on experimentation with voice and tuned and un-tuned instruments
- Musical elements (pitch, tempo, etc.) renamed as “inter-related dimensions”
- KS2: Introduce staff and other notation
- KS2: Develop understanding of history of music
Slimmed-down Programme of Study
- KS1 focus on mastering basic skills and playing in team games
- KS2 includes discrete skills and in contexts of team games and competition
- Less focus on evaluation, focus moves to improving personal bests
- Swimming remains statutory at either KS1 or 2.
If you would like more information about the new National curriculum then please visit this website or talk to your child’s teacher.