What is the new National Curriculum?

In September 2014 children across England will be returning to school with a new curriculum to face. While this has been in the government’s plans for a while now, nearly 70% of parents across London have said they are totally unaware of the changes – showing a dire need for more awareness around what the changes mean for them, and their children.

In September children across England will be returning to school with a new curriculum to face. While this has been in the government’s plans for a while now, nearly 70% of parents across London have said they are totally unaware of the changes – showing a dire need for more awareness around what the changes mean for them, and their children.

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To put it simply, for most children and parents the new curriculum will appear more challenging. Many concepts in maths and English will be introduced earlier than previously, and initially this may feel like quite a jump.

English

While there is a continued focus on phonics, there is also to be a larger emphasis on grammar, punctuation and spelling. There will be more concentration on Shakespeare, with children and pupils expected to have studied two of his plays between the ages of 11 and 14.

Maths

In maths, knowing times tables (12 x12 by the end of Year 4), calculating with fractions, using written methods of calculation and having strong mental maths skills will be more important than ever, and there will be more opportunity to develop problem solving skills in maths – something which we are very excited about.

Computing

Children will be taught to write code and pupils aged five to seven will be expected to ‘understand what algorithms are’ and to ‘create and debug simple programs.’

Science

New content on the solar system, speed and evolution is to be introduced at primary school level. In secondary schools, there will be a clearer sense of separation between physics, biology and chemistry. There will also be a focus on climate change.

History

The history curriculum will take primary school pupils through British history from the stone age to the Normans. They will also be able to study a later era, such as the Victorians. “Significant individuals” whose lives will be given closer attention and compared in different eras include Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong, Rosa Parks and suffragette, Emily Davison, Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria. Secondary schools will teach British history from 1066 to 1901, followed by Britain, Europe and world events from 1901, including Winston Churchill and the Holocaust.

So, why have the changes been introduced? Well, as many mums will have read, the UK aren’t doing their best in the world’s league tables. A new research commissioned by Explore Learning found that nearly three quarters (72%) of parents worry that British children aren’t leading the field in standards of education – a result of them failing to make the top 20 in reading, maths and science.

My advice to any parents keen to understand the new curriculum and help them with their homework is to attend any information sessions that your child’s school offers. In addition, for those not put off by a bit of reading, the programmes of study for each year are available from www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-curriculum.

Once the school term begins, if you’re concerned at all with a change in progress at school, always consult your teacher first. The most important thing is to maintain a child’s confidence and positivity towards learning; it makes such a powerful difference to a child’s success in education.

 

 

 

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