National Curriculum

New Curriculum – A guide for parents

In 2014 all maintained schools in England started using the New Primary Curriculum.   We began thinking about the changes and adopting them into our classroom practice in 2013

This guide will give you a flavour of what the changes are and more importantly what we are doing at High Lane.

The main aim for the changes is to raise standards. Although the new curriculum is intended to be more challenging, the content is actually slimmer than the old curriculum, focusing on essential core subject knowledge and skills.

Schools are free to choose how they organise their school day, as long as the content of the National Curriculum Programmes of Study are taught to all pupils.

The new curriculum has been divided across the three phases in primary schools—Key Stage 1, Lower Key Stage 2 and Upper Key Stage 2. Early Years are still following their own curriculum; the Early Year’s Foundation Stage.

By the end of each Key Stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant Programmes of Study.

There are no specific times during each phase where topics have to be taught nor how long it should take. This is left to the discretion of individual schools and teachers. At High Lane this allows us to be creative with our curriculum and to plan topics, alongside the children, that engage, excite and enable good progress.

English—The English programmes of study will embody higher standards of literacy.   Pupils will be expected to develop a stronger command of the written and spoken word. Through the teaching of phonics pupils will be helped to read fluently.

There is a greater emphasis on vocabulary development, spelling, grammar and punctuation. Handwriting is expected to be fluent and legible. We will continue to place importance on a cursive school script from the beginning of school.

At KS1 we use the phonic programme Letters and Sounds.

We use the Oxford Reading Tree reading scheme which is supplemented by a wide range of reading books and activities to broaden the children’s reading experiences.

Maths—In Maths there will be a greater emphasis on arithmetic, and the promotion of efficient written methods of long multiplication and division. There will also be a more demanding content in fractions, decimals and percentages.

By the end of Year 1 children are expected to count and be confident with numbers to 100 (compared with 20 in the old curriculum) and have instant recall of number bonds to 20 (compared to 10 previously.)

By the end of Year 4 children will be expected to know their times tables up to 12×12.

Calculators will be used within KS2 to help children develop checking strategies. Although the primary focus will be on developing their own methods of calculation strategies.

Science– In Science there is a stronger focus on the importance of scientific knowledge and language with greater emphasis on the core scientific concepts underpinning pupils’ understanding. For the first time primary aged children will learn about evolution and inheritance.

Computing—The current ICT curriculum is replaced with a new computing curriculum with a much greater emphasis on computational thinking and practical programming skills.

From Year 1 children will be taught how to write and test simple programs. From Year 3 they will learn how computer networks operate.

Internet Safety will continue to have a large role in the curriculum.

Design & Technology—D&T has greater importance under the new curriculum with an emphasis on design and engineering. The curriculum will look at how key individuals and events have shaped the world.

The children will gain a greater understanding of how more sophisticated design equipment is used within technology.

Children in KS2 will take part in cooking with an expectation for year 6 to be able to plan and prepare a healthy meal.

PSHE –personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education is an important and necessary part of all pupils’ education. All schools should teach PSHE, drawing on good practice, equipping our pupils’ with sound knowledge and skills to be able to make safe and informed choices.

Spiritual, Moral, Social and cultural development is at the heart of PSHE.

Languages—The teaching of a foreign language is now compulsory at Key Stage 2. At High Lane we have successfully taught a language for many years. We are following a language Scheme of Work for Spanish.

Geography— the new curriculum sets out the core knowledge that the pupils need to acquire. There is a renewed emphasis on locational and place knowledge, human and physical processes and some technical procedures, such as using grid references and using mapping skills.

History— aims to ensure that pupils know and understand Britain’s past and that of the wider world. Children are required to have a chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day of how people’s lives have shaped and influenced Britain and the wider world.

Music—there is a greater emphasis on singing in the new programmes of study, exposure to a wide range of music and exploring and exploring the history and context of the music.

Art– the study of artists is included within topics in each year group. Children will continue to be taught a range of skills throughout both Key Stages. The study of artists will be included in topics.

 PE—aims to develop key skills along with bringing competition back into schools. We aim to work in partnership with external providers as well as utilising the skills of members of staff. We feel it is important to develop children’s attitude to living healthily.

RE— We follow Stockport’s Scheme of work.

British Values— The DfE have recently reinforced the need “to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”

These British values are promoted throughout our school ethos within the curriculum, assemblies and daily social interactions.


  • The Department for Education is currently in the process of reforming KS2 tests, but details have not yet been published.
  • End of Key Stage 1 testing (at Year 2) has been left much as it was with external tests that are internally marked and moderated.
  • There will now be a new baseline assessment piloted in Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) from September 2015. This is based on informal observations of the children in the school environment to build a picture of the children’s next steps.
  • Ongoing teacher assessment will continue as in previous years and will help to inform your child’s needs.
  • National Curriculum Levels e.g Level 2, Level 4b etc. will cease to exist. At High Lane pupil progress will be reported as Working Below Age Group Expectations, Achieving Expected Age Group Expectations, or Exceeding Age Group Expectations.
  • Targets will continue to be set at High Lane Primary School. All pupils will be challenged to reach their potential and further information about how you can support at home will be shared.

At High Lane we endeavour to make the curriculum as exciting as possible. There is a buzz around school with new topics to match the changes in the curriculum. Recent topics include; Mad Hatters, Season Watch, Chicks, Exciting Vikings, Rise of the Robots and Civilizations.

PSHE statement