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The school curriculum comprises all learning and other experiences that each school plans for its pupils. The national curriculum forms one part of the school curriculum.

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

  • promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and
  • prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

Maintained schools in England are legally required to follow the statutory national curriculum which sets out in programmes of study, on the basis of key stages, subject content for those subjects that should be taught to all pupils. All schools must publish their school curriculum by subject and academic year online.

All schools should make provision for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), drawing on good practice. Schools are also free to include other subjects or topics of their choice in planning and designing their own programme of education.

National Curriculum structure

Key Stage 1 Key Stage 2 Key Stage 3 Key Stage 4
Age 5-7 7-11 11-14 14-16
Year Groups 1-2 3-6 7-9 10-11
Core Subjects
English X X X X
Mathematics X X X X
Science X X X X
Foundation Subjects
Art and Design X X X
Citizenship X X
Computing X X X X
Design and Technology X X X
Languages X X X
Geography X X X
History X X X
Music X X X
Physical Education X X X X

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

Key Stage 1 Key Stage 2 Key Stage 3 Key Stage 4
Religious Education X X X X
Sex and Relationship Education X X

Source: DFE