School Curricula Guides

UK National Curriculum

The National Curriculum of England, Wales and Northern Ireland provides a consistent framework for schools across the UK (excluding Scotland).
UK National Curriculum
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
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The National Curriculum was introduced into England, Wales and Northern Ireland as a nationwide curriculum for primary and secondary state schools following the Education Reform Act (1988).

It is not a mandatory framework for independent or private schools. Private schools are free to choose their own curriculum and examinations and many have opted for the IGCSE which is not tied to the National Curriculum.

As well as private schools, UK based academies and free schools may also set their own curricula.

Scotland has its own national curriculum.

International schools - in the UK and outside of it - clearly choose to adopt the framework, each one more or less rigorously.

The purpose of the National Curriculum has been to standardise the content taught across schools to enable assessment, which in turn enabled the compilation of league tables detailing the assessment statistics for each school.

The idea has been to raise educational standards by being able to see where there are weaknesses.

These league tables, together with the provision to parents of some degree of choice in assignment of the school for their child (also legislated in the same act) was also intended to encourage a free market by allowing parents to choose schools based on their measured ability to teach the National Curriculum.

For international schools outside the UK, the framework allows schools to benchmark themselves against their peers in the United Kingdom. 

Assessments are carried out at three ages: seven (school year 2, at the end of Key Stage 1), eleven (Year 6, the end of Key Stage 2) and fourteen (Year 9, the end of Key Stage 3). Some aspects of subjects are teacher-assessed, whilst others involve sitting an examination paper.

The results are considered when school and LEA performance league tables are being compiled, but they do not lead to any formal qualification for the candidates taking them.


Subject Key Stage 1
(age 5–7)
Key Stage 2
(age 7–11)
Key Stage 3
(age 11–14)
Key Stage 4
(age 14-16)
English x x x x
Mathematics x x x x
Science x x x x
Computing x x x x
Physical Education x x x x
Geography x x x  
History x x x  
Music x x x  
Art & Design x x x  
Design & Technology x x x  
Modern Foreign Languages   x x  
Citizenship     x x
Work-related Learning       x
Welsh (Wales only) x x x x

 The study of most subjects under the National Curriculum would usually culminate in the sitting of GCSE exams at the end of Key Stage 4.



47 UK Schools offering UK National Curriculum

School name Community Region
Ardingly College West Sussex South East England
Bedales Petersfield South East England
Bede's Prep School East Sussex South East England
Bede's Senior School East Sussex South East England
Brighton College Brighton South East England
Casterton, Sedbergh Prep School Cumbria North West England
Charterhouse Godalming South East England
Cheltenham Ladies College Cheltenham South West England
Cranleigh Preparatory School Surrey South East England
Cranleigh School Surrey South East England
Downe House Newbury South East England
Dulwich College (UK) Surrey Greater London
Eton College Eton South East England
Frensham Heights Farnham South East England
Gordonstoun Elgin Scotland
Harrow School Harrow on the Hill Greater London
Hurtwood House Dorking South East England
King's School Canterbury Canterbury South East England
Lancing College Lancing South East England
Malvern College Malvern West Midlands
Marlborough College Marlborough South West England
Millfield (Senior School) Somerset South West England
Millfield Pre-Prep & Prep School Somerset South West England
Mount Kelly Tavistock South West England
North London Collegiate School Edgeware Greater London
Oakham School Rutland East of England
Roedean School Brighton South East England
Rossall School Lancashire North West England
Royal Grammar School Guildford Surrey Greater London
Rugby School Warwickshire West Midlands
Sedbergh School Cumbria North West England
Sevenoaks School Sevenoaks South East England
Shrewsbury School Cheltenham South West England
St Paul's Barnes Greater London
Summerhill Leiston East of England
Taunton International School Somerset South West England
The Hammond School Chester North West England
The Sylvia Young Theatre School Marylebone Greater London
Tonbridge School Tonbridge South East England
Tring Park School for the Performing Arts Tring East of England
Warwick School Warwick West Midlands
Wellington College Crowthorne South East England
Westminster School Westminster Greater London
Winchester College Winchester South East England
Wycliffe Prep School Gloucestershire South West England
Wycliffe Senior School Gloucestershire South West England
Wycombe Abbey High Wycombe South East England

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