New National Curriculum

We have a new National Curriculum from September 2014; applicable to children in years 3 to 5.  For children in year 6, the previous requirements remain for one year. This is to allow year 6 children to be tested on these requirements in May 2015. From September 2015, all children will follow the new curriculum. The main aim is to raise standards. Although the new curriculum is designed to be more challenging, the content is slimmer focusing on essential core subject knowledge and skills.

SeahorseThe copy below summarises the main change across Key Stages 1 and 2 (years 1 to 6).

What’s new?


  • Stronger emphasis on vocabulary development, grammar, punctuation and spelling (for example, the use of commas and apostrophes will be taught in KS1)
  • Handwriting – not currently assessed under the national curriculum – is expected to be fluent, legible and speedy
  • Spoken English has a greater emphasis, with children to be taught debating and presenting skills


  • 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 (1/4 and 1/2) will be taught from KS1, and by the end of primary school, children should be able to convert decimal fractions to simple fractions (e.g. 0.6=3/5)
  • By the age of nine, children will be expected to know times tables up to 12×12 (currently 10×10 by the end of primary school)
  • Calculators will not be introduced until near the end of KS2, to encourage mental arithmetic


Strong focus on scientific knowledge and language, rather than understanding the nature and methods of science in abstract terms

Design & technology

  • Afforded greater importance under the new curriculum, setting children on the path to becoming the designers and engineers of the future
  • In KS2, children will learn about how key events and individuals in design and technology have shaped the world


  • Computing replaces Information and Communication Technology (ICT), with a greater focus on programming rather than on operating programs
  • From age five, children will learn to write and test simple programs, and to organise, store and retrieve data
  • From seven, they will be taught to understand computer networks, including the internet
    Internet safety – currently only taught from 11-16 – will be taught in primary schools


  • Currently not statutory, a modern foreign language or ancient language (Latin or Greek) will be mandatory in KS2
  • Children will be expected to master basic grammar and accurate pronunciation and to converse, present, read and write in

A new way of assessing children from September 2014

Alton_Park_Junior_School_Essex_0482Children in years 3 to 5 will be assessed according to the age-related expectations as laid out in the new National Curriculum. This means that for these children ‘levels’ will no longer be used.

Each child has been assessed against the national expectations in reading, writing, maths and science (other subjects are also being developed/assessed) for their year group and graded as one of the following;

  • Beginning (starting this year group’s learning)
  • Beginning +
  • Working within (meeting expectations with this year group’s learning)
  • Working within +
  • Secure (understanding  and using the content of this year group’s learning)
  • Secure +

Some children who have learning issues may be assessed at a lower year group’s expectations. Some children who are exceeding the year group expectations may be assessed against a higher year group’s learning targets. The new curriculum requires us to develop knowledge and understanding of the current year group’s expectations as a child reaches the ‘Secure’ or ‘Secure +’.

As the new curriculum has more challenging content (e.g. children at the end of year 4 are expected to know their times tables up to 12 x 12; last year this was 10 x 10 at the end of year 6), staff cannot simply say that a previous level 4B equates to a year 6 (year group) W (working within). Staff are assessing children by looking at their work, examining their previous results, talking to previous teachers, using ‘Rising Stars’ assessment, materials, looking for a best fit against the new curriculum’s descriptors (the statements that highlight the requirements of each subject for that age group) etc. By making this judgment in September, we will be able to monitor progress across the year, maintaining Alton Park’s high expectations.

You will understand that this is a completely new system for everyone but there is a real determination to ensure that we rise to the challenge of a more demanding curriculum and continue the drive to raise standards for all children.

For children in year 6, the assessment system remains linked to levels. This will be for one year and from September 2015, year 6 will be assessed on the system above. Year 6 will continue to sit externally marked tests in English (reading and grammar, punctuation and spelling) and maths. Writing will be assessed by school staff with external moderation of their judgements completed on a random basis by the Local Authority. Writing assessments and SATs are reported to parents in July. They are aggregated and reported nationally in the Autumn Term.

Curriculum-related Pages

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