1.The National Curriculum in England: An Overview
3.1 The national curriculum provides pupils with an introduction to the essential knowledge that they need to be educated citizens. It introduces pupils to the best that has been thought and said; and helps engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.
3.2 The national curriculum is just one element in the education of every child. There is time and space in the school day and in each week, term and year to range beyond the national curriculum specifications. The national curriculum provides an outline of core knowledge around which teachers can develop exciting and stimulating lessons to promote the development of pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills as part of the wider school curriculum.
- Setting suitable challenges:
4.1 Teachers set high expectations for every pupil. They plan stretching work for pupils whose attainment is significantly above the expected standard. They have an even greater obligation to plan lessons for pupils who have low levels of prior attainment or come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Teachers use appropriate assessment to set targets which are deliberately ambitious.
Numeracy and Mathematics
5.1 Teachers use every relevant subject to develop pupils’ mathematical fluency. Confidence in numeracy and other mathematical skills is a precondition of success across the national curriculum.
5.2 Teachers develop pupils’ numeracy and mathematical reasoning in all subjects so that they understand and appreciate the importance of mathematics. Pupils are taught to apply arithmetic fluently to problems, understand and use measures, make estimates and sense check their work. Pupils apply their geometric and algebraic understanding, and relate their understanding of probability to the notions of risk and uncertainty. Pupils understand the cycle of collecting, presenting and analysing data. Pupils are taught to apply their mathematics to both routine and non-routine problems, including breaking down more complex problems into a series of simpler steps.
Language and literacy
6.1 Teachers develop pupils’ spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary as integral aspects of the teaching of every subject. English is both a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching; for pupils, understanding the language provides access to the whole curriculum. Fluency in the English language is an essential foundation for success in all subjects.
- Spoken language:
6.2 Pupils should be taught to speak clearly and convey ideas confidently using Standard English. They should learn to justify ideas with reasons; ask questions to check understanding; develop vocabulary and build knowledge; negotiate; evaluate and build on the ideas of others; and select the appropriate register for effective communication. They should be taught to give well-structured descriptions and explanations and develop their understanding through speculating, hypothesising and exploring ideas. This will enable them to clarify their thinking as well as organise their ideas for writing.
- Reading and writing:
6.3 Teachers develop pupils’ reading and writing in all subjects to support their acquisition of knowledge. Pupils are taught to read fluently, understand extended prose (both fiction and non-fiction) and be encouraged to read for pleasure. Schools do everything to promote wider reading. They provide library facilities and set ambitious expectations for reading at home. Pupils develop the stamina and skills to write at length, with accurate spelling and punctuation. They should are taught the correct use of grammar. They build on what they have been taught to expand the range of their writing and the variety of the grammar they use. The writing they do includes narratives, explanations, descriptions, comparisons, summaries and evaluations: such writing supports them in rehearsing, understanding and consolidating what they have heard or read.
- Vocabulary development:
6.4 Pupils’ acquisition and command of vocabulary are key to their learning and progress across the whole curriculum. Teachers therefore develop vocabulary actively, building systematically on pupils’ current knowledge. They increase pupils’ store of words in general; simultaneously, they should also make links between known and new vocabulary and discuss the shades of meaning in similar words. In this way, pupils expand the vocabulary choices that are available to them when they write. In addition, it is vital for pupils’ comprehension that they understand the meanings of words they meet in their reading across all subjects, and older pupils should be taught the meaning of instruction verbs that they may meet in examination questions. It is particularly important to induct pupils into the language which defines each subject in its own right, such as accurate mathematical and scientific language.