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National Curriculum Overview

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

  • 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.

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. 

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. 

Schools are also free to include other subjects or topics of their choice in planning and designing their own programme of education.


The National Curriculum includes the following compulsory subjects:

Core Subjects

 English Mathematics  Science 

 Foundation Subjects

 Art and Design Computing  Design and Technology  Languages (KS2 only)
Geography History Music Physical Education

All state schools are also required to teach Religious Education to pupils at every key stage.

All schools should make provision for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE).


Click to download: The Primary Curriculum (whole document)