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A Guide for Parents

The Curriculum at Highweek Primary School

From September 2014 a new National Curriculum has been introduced in England with new programmes of study and attainment targets.

Why the big curriculum change?

The main aim is to raise standards. The new curriculum has been developed partly by comparing England’s curriculum to those in other countries. As the Department of Education puts it, it’s all about trying to compete in the global economy and the forthcoming curriculum “combines the best elements of what is taught in the world’s most successful school systems, including Hong Kong, Massachusetts, Singapore and Finland, with some of the most impressive [existing] practice from schools in England.”

Although the new curriculum is intended to be more challenging, the content is actually slimmer than the current curriculum, focusing on essential core subject knowledge and skills such as essay writing and computer programming.

The main changes

A summary of the main changes in the core subjects:


  • 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. 0.375 = 3/8)

  • By the age of nine, children will be expected to knowtimes 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

  • 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 & technology

  • Design and Technology 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.




  • 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 the language

Please visit the class pages for more detailed information about how these changes will impact on each year group’s programme of study

In order to prepare pupils for the more ambitious end of year expectations in English, Mathematics and Science, as set out in the new curriculum, teachers at Highweek have amended their delivery of the programmes of study detailed above as appropriate. New programmes of study for English and Mathematics have been adopted in full from September 2014, in line with guidance from the Department of Education and our creative curriculum has been fully updated to account for these changes. New maths resources are being invested in, and a new English programme has been adopted from September to take account of these changes.

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