Key Stages

The National Curriculum is made up of blocks of years known as Key Stages.
key stages
  • Foundation stage
  • Age 4-5
  • Year R
  • Key Stage 1
  • Age 5-7
  • Years 1-2
  • Key Stage 2
  • Age 7-11
  • Years 3-6
  • Key Stage 3
  • Age 11-14
  • Years 7-9
  • Key Stage 4
  • Age 14-16
  • Year 10-11

Key Stages Explained


The National Curriculum is made up of blocks of years known as Key Stages. In Primary School they are Early Years Foundation Stage (which starts in pre-school or nursery), Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.

What is the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)?

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), is how the Government and early years professionals describe the time in your child’s life between birth and age 5.

Nurseries, pre-schools, reception classes and childminders registered to deliver the EYFS must follow a legal document called the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework- it is like a national curriculum for the under 5s

It sets out: • The legal welfare requirements that everyone registered to look after children must follow to keep your child safe and promote their welfare • The 7 areas of learning and development which guide professionals’ engagement with your child’s play and activities as they learn new skills and knowledge • Assessments that will tell you about your child’s progress through the EYFS • Expected levels that your child should reach at age 5, usually the end of the reception year; these expectations are called the “Early Learning Goals (ELGs)” S
What are the 7 areas of Learning and Development for the EYFS?

There are 3 main areas in which your child will develop first

  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development

As your children grow and develop they will attain skills in 4 specific areas

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design

Most of the learning in this stage happens through play and fun group activities not sitting at a table with pencils and paper. There are a series of Early Learning Goals for each study area which set out what most children are expected to achieve by the end of the Foundation Stage. Assesments are continuous and informal through the teachers observations and completed in the Foundation Stage Profile.

For more information about the Early Years Foundation Stage please have a look at the following links:

Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2
  • Year 1 and Year 2 of primary school are known as Key Stage 1
  • Years 3 to 6 of primary school are known as Key Stage 2
Children’s Learning in these two key stages is divided into three core subjects:
  • English
  • Maths
  • Science
and eight foundation subjects:
  • Design and Technology
  • Computing
  • History
  • Geography
  • Art and design
  • Languages
  • Music
  • Physical Education
Citizenship, the 9th foundation subject is only taught in KS3 & KS4.

Government guidelines suggest that about 60% of the total teaching week (a minimum of 21 hours at Key Stage 1 and 23.5 hours in Key Stage 2) is spent on the core subjects.

Although your child will probably be taught English and maths every day, science might only be taught once a week. Schools also have to teach religious education although parents have the right to withdraw their children from the lessons.


At the end of each key stage, each National Curriculum subject has attainment expectations and your child will be assessed by their teacher and in KS2, take national tests and tasks popularly called 'SATs'. This is to check that your child has reached the desired level of skills, knowledge and understanding in each desired subject.

For further information please visit: Department of Education >>

The website from the government department with in- depth detail of all the changes to the curriculum and when they are due to happen.