The National Curriculum

Here we provide up-to-date access to the Statutory Guidance to be taught in all local authority-maintained-schools. Please feel free to click, compare and comment.

Every state-funded school must offer a curriculum which is balanced and broadly based and which:

  • promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society
  • prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life
  • *See Section 78 of the 2002 Education Act which applies to all maintained schools. Academies are also required to offer a broad and balanced curriculum in accordance with Section 1 of the 2010 Academies Act.

“The national curriculum is just one element in the education of every child. There is time and space in the school day and in each week, term and year to range beyond the national curriculum specifications. (Their words not ours ed.) The national curriculum provides an outline of core knowledge around which teachers can develop exciting and stimulating lessons to promote the development of pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills as part of the wider school curriculum.”

Department for Education, (3.2) 2014. National curriculum in England: framework for key stages 1 to 4.

The structure of the national curriculum, in terms of which subjects are compulsory at each key stage, is set out in the table below:

All schools are also required to teach religious education at all key stages. Secondary schools must provide sex and relationship education.

Here you will find the links to each government framework

England – The national curriculum

Scotland – Curriculum for Excellence

Wales – New school curriculum

Northern Ireland – Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA)

For your convenience, we include below a very brief resume of aims by area which is by no means exhaustive.

Aims of England Curriculum

The national curriculum provides pupils with an introduction to the essential knowledge they need to be educated citizens. It introduces pupils to the best that has been thought and said, and helps engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.

Aims of Scotland Curriculum

​ Curriculum for Excellence is intended to help children and young people gain the knowledge, skills and attributes needed for life in the 21st century, including skills for learning, life and work.

Its purpose is often summed up as helping children and young people to become:

  • Successful learners
  • Confident individuals
  • Responsible citizens
  • Effective contributors.

Aims of Wales Curriculum

A new digital competence framework is now introducing digital skills across the curriculum, preparing them for the opportunities and risks that an online world presents.


The purpose of the new curriculum is to support our children and young people to be:

  • ambitious, capable learners, ready to learn throughout their lives
  • enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work
  • ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world
  • healthy, confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society.

Aims of Northern Ireland Curriculum

The Northern Ireland Curriculum aims to empower young people to achieve their potential and to make informed and responsible decisions through their lives.


The Northern Ireland Curriculum should provide learning opportunities for each young person to develop as:

an individual

to achieve personal fulfilment and individual well-being through living a successful life.

a contributor to society

to be concerned for the well-being of others as well as themselves, in their own society and beyond it.

a contributor to the economy and the environment

to appreciate how employment will impact on the economic choices they make and how they, in turn, impact individually and collectively on the environment.

There are key elements relating to each curriculum objective which can be highlighted through various subjects across the curriculum.

Developing as an individual

Personal understanding
Mutual understanding
Personal health
Moral character
Spiritual awareness

Developing as a contributor to society

Cultural understanding
Media awareness
Ethical awareness

Developing as a contributor to the economy and the environment

Economic awareness
Education for sustainable development