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The New Curriculum 2014

Dear Parents,
In order to help you better understand the structure, processes and the exams taken during SATs week for your children, these videos have been created, which offer a step by step breakdown of the entire process. There are two videos. One for keystage one children, and another for our keystage two children offered here.

To watch the video, please click on the play button. If you have any questions, please feel free to talk to your class teacher/s or contact our school office. We hope that you find these two short videos useful.

KS1 tests 2016

A short video aimed at parents to give outline information about the new National Curriculum tests. A downloadable version is available from

KS2 tests 2016

A short video aimed at parents to give outline information about the new National Curriculum tests. A downloadable version is available from

Parent Guide to The New Curriculum

The 2014 National Curriculum: What Primary School Parents Need to Know

In September 2014 the primary school curriculum is to get a radical shake-up. So why the big change, and how will it affect your child?  

In 2013 the government announced plans to overhaul the national curriculum. For most children, these changes will take effect from September 2014, but children in Years 2 and 6 will follow the existing programmes of study until September 2015 in English, maths and science. From September 2013, schools will have the option of either continuing to teach the current curriculum or gradually transitioning to the new curriculum.

Why the big curriculum change?

The main aim is to raise standards, particularly as the UK is slipping down international student assessment league tables. Inspired by what is taught in the world’s most successful school systems, including Hong Kong, Singapore and Finland, as well as in the best UK schools, it’s designed to produce productive, creative and well educated students. 

Although the new curriculum is intended to be more challenging, the content is actually slimmer than the current curriculum, focusing on essential core subject knowledge and skills such as essay writing and computer programming. It also follows on from similar curriculum revamps in Scotland and Wales, which were implemented in 2010 and 2008 respectively and have a similar focus on excellence and core skills.

Will all primary schools follow the new curriculum from 2014?

No – academies and free schools are exempt. This is partly because these schools need more flexibility in what they teach (for example, in the case of faith schools that have a strong emphasis on religious education), but many critics think that the government is using the lure of not having to follow the national curriculum to encourage more schools to become academies. Academies and free schools do, however, still have to teach a balanced and broadly based curriculum that includes English, maths, science and RE.

What are the main changes?

The table below summarises the main changes in the core subjects covered by the National Curriculum.


What’s new?


  • Stronger emphasis on vocabulary development, grammar, punctuation and spelling (for example, the use of commas and apostrophes will be taught in KS1)
  • Handwriting – not currently assessed under the national curriculum – is expected to be fluent, legible and speedy
  • Spoken English has a greater emphasis, with children to be taught debating and presenting skills as well being expected to identify the difference between the spoken language and the written language. At Hillbrook we are encouraging children to use their ‘school voice’ orally and in their writing.


  • Five-year-olds will be expected to learn to count up to 100 (compared to 20 under the current curriculum) and learn number bonds to 20 (currently up to 10)
  • Simple fractions (1/4 and 1/2) will be taught from KS1, and by the end of primary school, children should be able to convert decimal fractions to simple fractions (e.g. 0.375 = 3/8)
  • By the age of nine, children will be expected to know times tables up to 12x12 (currently 10x10 by the end of primary school)
  • Calculators will not be introduced until near the end of KS2, to encourage mental arithmetic


  • Strong focus on scientific knowledge and language, rather than understanding the nature and methods of science in abstract terms
  • Evolution will be taught in primary schools for the first time
  • Non-core subjects like caring for animals will be replaced by topics like the human circulatory system

Design & technology

  • Afforded greater importance under the new curriculum, setting children on the path to becoming the designers and engineers of the future
  • More sophisticated use of design equipment such as electronics and robotics
  • In KS2, children will learn about how key events and individuals in design and technology have shaped the world

ICT / Computing

  • Computing replaces Information and Communication Technology (ICT), with a greater focus on programming rather than on operating programs
  • From age five, children will learn to write and test simple programs, and to organise, store and retrieve data
  • From seven, they will be taught to understand computer networks, including the internet
  • Internet safety – currently only taught from 11-16 – will be taught in primary schools


  • Currently not statutory, a modern foreign language (MfL) or ancient language will be mandatory in KS2. At Hillbrook we will continue to teach French as our MfL.
  • Children will be expected to master basic grammar and accurate pronunciation and to converse, present, read and write in the language

Will the 2014 primary curriculum involve any new tests?

The Department for Education is currently in the process of reforming KS2 tests, but details have not yet been published.

Could it all be too much for some children?

Some educationalists have complained that the new national curriculum fails to recognise the needs of children of different abilities. But the Department for Education (DfE) is standing by its plans. ‘We make no apologies for having high expectations for our children,’ says a DfE spokesperson. ‘We believe they can achieve more, and we will not stand by and allow pupils to lose ground with their peers in countries across the world.’

Since September 2013-14 we have been working towards the implementation of the New National Curriculum and therefore some of the higher expectations within each subject or year groups have already been embedded. For more information about the New National Curriculum please click on this link 


The National Curriculum and assessment in schools, has undergone some radical changes in the last few years. In terms of the curriculum, the introduction of a ‘new’ curriculum has seen the introduction of very different content to the ‘old’ curriculum. Many of the old objectives in the ‘new’ curriculum have shifted to lower year groups in the new, more rigorous curriculum. 

For assessment, due to direction from the Department of Education (DfE) (see below) we have moved to a system which removes the old assessment grades (e.g. 2a, 2b, 2c etc) that have been with us for many years.

"As part of our reforms to the National Curriculum, the current system of 'levels' used to report children's attainment and progress will be removed. It will not be replaced. We believe this system is complicated and difficult to understand, especially for parents. It also encourages teachers to focus on a pupil’s current level, rather than consider more broadly what the pupil can actually do. Prescribing a single detailed approach to assessment does not fit with the curriculum freedoms we are giving schools.”                                                                                  DfE June 2013    

Keyham Barton's ‘new’ assessment system is now directly linked to year group National Curriculum objectives, and in this way, it is a very positive change. We have seen this as an exciting opportunity to review our assessment and reporting systems in order to create a more holistic approach that makes sense to pupils, parents and staff.

We are now assessing children against the new curriculum framework and we have a robust assessment system, based on Age Related Expectations, which tracks and monitors pupil progress across the school in key areas of the curriculum.

If you have any concerns about your child's learning,  please speak to the class teachers or make an appointment with Mrs Gill. We are always happy to discuss this with you at our scheduled Parent Evenings or at a time which is convenient to both you and the member of staff. In this way we hope to assuage any worries and concerns in a timely manner.