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National Curriculum

The statutory secondary curriculum


Statutory requirements

There are general statutory requirements that apply across the secondary curriculum in the following areas:

  • including all learners

  • use of language

  • use of ICT

  • health and safety.

You will find details of the statutory requirements for key stage 3 and 4 subjects in the subjects section of this website.

Including all learners

Schools have a responsibility to provide a broad and balanced curriculum for all pupils. The statutory inclusion statement (Including all learners) sets out three principles for developing an inclusive curriculum which provides all pupils with relevant and challenging learning:

A. Setting suitable learning challenges
B. Responding to pupils’ diverse learning needs
C. Overcoming potential barriers to learning and assessment for individuals and groups of pupils.

Use of language across the curriculum

  1. Pupils should be taught in all subjects to express themselves correctly and appropriately and to read accurately and with understanding. Since standard English, spoken and written, is the predominant language in which knowledge and skills are taught and learnt, pupils should be taught to recognise and use standard English.


  1. In writing, pupils should be taught to use correct spelling and punctuation and follow grammatical conventions. They should also be taught to organise their writing in logical and coherent forms.


  1. In speaking, pupils should be taught to use language precisely and cogently.


  1. Pupils should be taught to listen to others, and to respond and build on their ideas and views constructively.


  1. In reading, pupils should be taught strategies to help them read with understanding, to locate and use information, to follow a process or argument and summarise, and to synthesise and adapt what they learn from their reading.

  2. Pupils should be taught the technical and specialist vocabulary of subjects and how to use and spell these words. They should also be taught to use the patterns of language vital to understanding and expression in different subjects. These include the construction of sentences, paragraphs and texts that are often used in a subject.

Use of ICT across the curriculum

  1. Pupils should be given opportunities to apply and develop their ICT capability through the use of ICT tools to support their learning in all subjects.

  2. Pupils should be given opportunities to support their work by being taught to:

  1. find things out from a variety of sources, selecting and synthesising the information to meet their needs and developing an ability to question its accuracy, bias and plausibility

  2. develop their ideas using ICT tools to amend and refine their work and enhance its quality and accuracy

  3. exchange and share information, both directly and through electronic media

  4. review, modify and evaluate their work, reflecting critically on its quality, as it progresses.

Health and safety

  1. This statement applies to science, design and technology, information and communication technology, art and design, and physical education.

  2. When working with tools, equipment and materials, in practical activities and in different environments, including those that are unfamiliar, pupils should be taught:

  1. about hazards, risks and risk control

  2. to recognise hazards, assess consequent risks and take steps to control the risks to themselves and others

  3. to use information to assess the immediate and cumulative risks

  4. to manage their environment to ensure the health and safety of themselves and others

  5. to explain the steps they take to control risks.

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