Frequently asked questions
What will the new primary curriculum look like?
The new government has made it clear that it intends to restore the National Curriculum to its original purpose – a minimum national entitlement for all our young people organised around subject disciplines.
An announcement outlining next steps is expected shortly.
What happens in the meantime?
The existing subject-based National Curriculum requirement will remain in force for primary schools. The current framework, introduced in 2000, provides flexibility for schools to adapt the curriculum to their needs. Details are available from the Key stages 1 & 2 section of this site.
Will primary schools still be getting an additional training day in 2010/11?
Yes. Primary schools teaching Key Stages 1 and 2 will still receive an extra non-contact day in 2010/11 to help them prepare adequately for the next school year and consider new approaches.
Why have you sent out handbooks?
That decision was taken by the previous Government. They proposed to introduce a new primary curriculum from September 2011 and put in place a programme of support and guidance for schools from January this year. The new Government has decided not to go ahead with this policy for the reasons set out in the Minister’s statement to Parliament.
Will schools get a refund for primary curriculum materials that they have purchased.
Yes. A full refund will be made automatically to those who placed orders on account. (The account will be credited rather than a refund made.) Those who purchased by credit card will need to call our orderline on 0300 303 3015. All customers have been contacted directly by QCDA with information about the refund policy.
Can I still access the Curriculum design tool from the primary curriculum website?
Following the Secretary of State for Education's decision not to take forward the last Government's proposals for a new primary curriculum, associated material which had been published on the National Curriculum website has been removed.
This means that the curriculum design tool will no longer be available. Registered users have been contacted and asked if they would like to have any stored information returned to them.
Can I still access pages from the new primary curriculum website?
Following the Secretary of State for Education's decision not to take forward the last Government's proposals for a new primary curriculum, material which had been published on the National Curriculum website has been removed.
Material on the statutory requirements that schools must meet in relation to the National Curriculum, is available from the Key stages 1 & 2 section of this site.
What has happened to the schemes of work?
We are not revising the schemes of work to match the new programmes of study. The revisions to the programme of study afford greater flexibility and encourage schools to improve coherence across the curriculum and to make connections between subjects, so that they can create a curriculum designed for their own particular needs and circumstances. Producing specific schemes of work, can, in some cases, stifle this flexible approach. That is not to say, of course, that the current schemes of work are redundant. Many schools have selected parts of the schemes of work they feel are most appropriate for their learners.
The Secondary National Strategies (SNS) help schools to target their planning to meet the needs of their pupils using the framework of learning objectives. Frameworks for English, mathematics, science and ICT are now available from the National Strategies website to help teachers plan their schemes of work for the new programme of study.
The programmes of study set out the statutory requirements for what must be taught within a key stage. The framework provides guidance about how this can be achieved, broken down by year.
Where can I find guidance on implementing the new curriculum?
Guidance for curriculum design and implementation is provided on the curriculum website in two sections:
What will schools be expected to report at the end of key stage 3 for each subject?
Schools will be expected to report against attainment targets for each subject at the end of key stage 3. In 2009/10 these will be the current attainment targets, changing in 2011 to new attainment targets based around the new programmes of study. As the changes are rolling out year-on-year, the first end of key stage tests based on the new programmes of study will be in 2011.
Will schools be expected to assess and report on the personal, learning and thinking skills for each individual subject or across all subjects?
There is no statutory requirement to report in relation to personal, learning and thinking skills (PLTS) and there are no attainment targets for this. However, we expect all young people to develop such skills throughout all aspects of their work. All programmes of study for the curriculum at key stages 3 and 4 have statements relating to each of the PLTS that also describe effective curriculum opportunities.
Further guidance and support is provided in the skills section of the website, where you can see how other schools have embedded PLTS into their curriculum.
When is the food technology entitlement due to be implemented?
The national curriculum requirements relating to food technology will remain as they are in the revised programme of study for design and technology, to be implemented from September 2008. Food technology will become a compulsory component of the design and technology programme of study from September 2011.
Every secondary school pupil, however, has an entitlement to cook. Further details of this can be found on the Licence to Cook website.
Where can I find the big picture presentation by Mick Waters?
You can see a flash animation of Mick Waters explaining the big picture of the curriculum and download a PDF version of the document from the Key stages 3 & 4 Designing your curriculum section of this site.
Is there any guidance on adjusting the curriculum in terms of inclusion?
Where can I find information about the early years foundation stage?
Is there a statutory requirement for how much time schools should allocate to teaching each curriculum subject?
QCA does not set time allocations for subjects. There are however, national targets for literacy, numeracy, PE and sport, and culture. Schools should determine the time allocation that most appropriately meets the needs of their learners, guided by these targets. For further information, contact the Department for Education or the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Is religious education statutory or non-statutory?
RE is a statutory subject and should be taught in all schools. The legal document for RE in maintained community schools and voluntary controlled schools is the local agreed syllabus. The QCA programmes of study, based on the non-statutory national framework for RE, are non-statutory only in the sense that schools are not obliged to base their RE on it, although many do. Academies should teach RE according to their funding agreement. Many of them use the local agreed syllabus or the QCA programmes of study.
Voluntary aided schools and academies with a religious designation must follow the syllabus approved by the relevant religious authority.
Does QCDA provide speakers for events about the curriculum?
Where can I get permission to use the national curriculum logo?
QCDA licences appropriate use of the national curriculum logo in some instances. Please contact QCDA giving further information about how and why you wish to use the logo, and we will consider your request.