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The 2014 National Curriculum: What parents need to know.

 

For most children, the changes took effect from September 2014, but children in Years 2 and 6 have followed the existing programmes of study until the end of July 2015. From September 2015 they will follow the new curriculum. 

At St Joseph’s we have opted to follow the existing programmes of study in these year groups whilst gradually transitioning to the new curriculum, so that the children are well prepared for the next stages of their education.

The main aim is to raise standards and produce productive, creative and well educated students.

What’s new? 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 focus is on excellence and core skills.

 

Subject

 

English

  • 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 presentation skills.

Maths

  • 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 know times tables up to 12x12 (currently 10x10 by the end of primary school)
  • Calculators will not be introduced until near the end of KS2, to encourage mental arithmetic

Science

  • Strong focus on scientific knowledge and language, rather than understanding the nature and methods of science in abstract terms
  • Non-core subjects like caring for animals will be replaced by topics like the human circulatory system

Design & technology

  • Afforded greater importance under 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

 ICT

  • 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 and how to use it safely.

 

Languages

  • 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
  • St Joseph’s pupils will be learning French.

 

At St Joseph’s we are using this new curriculum as a wonderful opportunity to teach core skills in a context which will engage the pupils and enable them to put their skills and knowledge to immediate practical use. Many of our topics are linked to visitors and specialists coming into school, as well as the pupils having the opportunity for a wide variety of educational visits. We are continuing our programme of special days and focus weeks which give the children the opportunity to engage with a subject or area of interest in a more in depth way. We have also extended our IT provision to give pupils access to the best resources – we are truly trying to create ‘classrooms without walls’.