School as a whole can be quite difficult to get your head around. This is usually the reason why some parents don’t get very involved when it comes to their child’s academics and leave it all to the teachers, as it can come across as very confusing. From the content taught in classes to important areas of the curriculum, it can become overwhelming for many. However, in order to give your child the best support possible when it comes to learning, you need to have some idea of what is going on when they are at school. Being a parent means you will constantly be learning alongside your little one too. Most schools in the UK are required to follow the national curriculum, with independent schools being an exception. Outside of these set rules, schools may add their own aspects to the curriculum, so it is important you understand which one it is that your child will be following. Here is some advice from this private school in London on understanding your child’s school curriculum.
What is a school curriculum and why is it important?
Before explaining how to understand your child’s school curriculum, it is important that you understand what a curriculum is as a whole. A curriculum is a set of lessons and tests taught in an educational establishment by teachers. If you were to look at a curriculum on a piece of paper, it would cover everything your child is taught by their teachers whilst at school. It is important because it shows clear expectations for both teachers and students on what needs to be completed by the end of the school year. Having a set curriculum means that students will have the opportunity to achieve goals and grades that can help them progress and move on to further qualifications. It is quite common for students to move across to different schools during primary and secondary. Having a set curriculum means that the student will not suffer or miss out on any content that is being taught, and can just pick up in the new establishment without the risk of falling behind.
The national curriculum is divided into key stages.
- Key stage 1: This is the stage between Year 1 and 2 in the UK. Children at this stage are usually between the ages of 5 and 7. Students are taught content that helps them strengthen basic skills such as reading, writing and basic mathematics. At the end of year 2, students are expected to take SATs which are designed to assess their academic abilities in the most important areas. These tests aren’t very serious, but are created to help teachers understand if their students are achieving.
- Key stage 2: Children are between the age of 7 and 11 here. Once again, they take SATs at the end of primary school and are tested on reading, maths, spelling and grammar. This is to ensure they are academically prepared for the next stage of their education.
- Key stage 3: This begins in secondary with children being aged 11 to 14. There are no SATs involved but there a number of formal assessments created by teachers along the way.
- Key stage 4: This is the final stage of the school curriculum. Children are aged 14 to 16 here and complete GCSEs to conclude.
Talk to your child’s teacher
Alongside all of this, there are many things that your child’s school may do that can differ to another. Discuss any important aspects of the curriculum that you should be aware of to ensure you can support your child as much as possible when it comes to their learning.