Primary ‘A Curriculum for Excellence’



In September 2014 the primary school curriculum was given a radical shake-up by central government. 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, the new curriculum was designed to produce ‘productive, creative and well educated students’.

The aim of the changes was to raise standards. A copy of the complete Primary National Curriculum can be accessed HERE.


What are the main changes?

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

Subject What’s new?
  • Phonics and reading for pleasure is a priority
  • Less focus on genre and more on quality writing
  • 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, writing poetry and presenting skills
  • Five-year-olds will be expected to learn to count up to 100 (compared to 20 under the previous  curriculum) and learn number bonds to 20 (rather than 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 12×12 (previously 10×10 by the end of primary school)
  • A focus on mental maths
  • Children should understand Roman Numerals and will study Binary Code in Y6
  • 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
  • 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 will be taught in primary schools
  • Currently not statutory, a modern foreign language will be mandatory in KS2
  • Children will be expected to master basic grammar and accurate pronunciation and to converse, present, read and write in the language

Will the new primary curriculum involve any new tests?

The Department for Education has overhauled the format and content of national tests taken in Year 2 and Year 6 to reflect the new curriculum. Children will take these new tests for the first time in May 2016.

You can check out some example papers (link is external) on the DfE’s website.

In response to the new curriculum there will also be a new grading system replacing the previous national curriculum levels.

The PDF files below, produced by a commercial company ‘Rising Stars’, summarise the new primary curriculum being followed by our school.










The following  information provides an overview of what children will learn in English in particular year groups:

English in Y1

English in Y2

English in Y3&4

English in Y5&6


Learning Maths

In 2015-16 we adopted a new maths mastery programme Inspire Maths developed by Oxford University Press. We took part in a trial developing the resources and were impressed at the progress children achieved.

More information on the programme can be found by clicking HERE to link to the Inspire Maths website.

An overview of what’s taught through Inspire Maths can be read by clicking on the following links.

Inspire 1 – used in Y1 & Y2

Inspire 2 – used in Y2 & Y3

Inspire 3 – used in Y4

Inspire 4 – used in Y5 & Y6

Inspire 5 – used in Y6