An Overview of the Primary Curriculum: A Guide for Parents 2023

Last Updated: 04 Sep 23
Five happy children at primary school.

This article provides a guide for parents who want to have a better understanding of the current Primary School National Curriculum

The Primary Years

The role of primary education is to ensure a child's development in terms of their social, emotional, cultural, academic and physical skills.

The subjects covered in Key Stages 1 and 2 are the same: English, Maths, Science, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Design and Technology, History, Geography, Art and Design, Music, Physical Education (including swimming), Ancient and Modern Foreign Languages (at Key Stage 2)

Schools must also provide Religious Education (RE), though parents have the right to ask their child to be absent from some or all of this teaching. Schools also often choose to teach: Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE), Citizenship, Ancient and Modern Foreign Languages (at Key Stage 1)

Early Years Home Tuition for Primary Students

The Early Years Foundation Stage covers the reception years, with children aged between 3 and 5. Some schools have a staggered entry for new starters into Reception, and some children attend part-time at first. During Reception, children develop exploring, investigating, watching, listening, discussing, communication and creating skills.

By the end of Reception, each child should be able to write their own name, know their alphabet, count and answer basic number questions, sing or recite songs, make up stories, use a computer, dress and feed themselves, be active, learn about healthy and unhealthy foods, focus and concentrate their attention on one thing, join in group activities with other children and take turns and share.

Key Stage 1 Home Tuition for Primary Students

Key Stage 1 covers the first and second primary school years at Infant School, with children aged between 5 and 7. At the end of Year 2, children will sit their Key Stage 1 SATs (Standardised Assessment Tasks), which are national tests. These tests assess children's academic ability in the key subjects of English and Maths. Separate teacher assessments also determine how well each child is doing. Parents are sent a copy of the teacher assessments and can request that the school send them the test results. SATs are not structured in a ‘pass’ and ‘fail’ way but are data for the government to measure national standards of learning and for schools to appraise how well each pupil is doing.

Key Stage 1 SATs dates for the academic year 2023/24

Date Activity
May 2024 Key Stage 1 test period
Week commencing Monday 10 June 2024 Phonics screening check


Year 1 Phonics Screening Check

A Phonics Screening Check will take place in June for Year 1. Each child will be asked to read 40 words out loud to their teacher. The teacher will then assess whether the child is on track or whether they may need extra support with reading. If a child does not do well enough with the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check, they will be required to repeat this Check in Year 2.

Key Stage 2 Home Tuition for Primary Students

Key Stage 2 covers the third to sixth primary school years, at Junior School, with children aged between 7 and 11. At the end of Year 6, children take their SATs, and much of their final year at primary school focuses on ensuring they know and understand all of the previous years of education. Key Stage 2 SATs were overhauled in 2016 to become more difficult. The test assesses children's reading, maths, spelling, punctuation and grammar abilities. Unlike the KS1 SATs, at KS2 the tests that children take are set and marked externally so that the results are used to measure the schools' performance (removing any possibility of bias). Each child's results are used with their teacher's assessment to give parents a broader picture of their attainment and academic ability.

The tests are taken in May, and parents receive the results and teacher assessments in July.

Key Stage 2 dates for the academic year 2023/24

Date Activity
Monday 13 May 2024 English grammar, punctuation and spelling papers 1 and 2
Tuesday 14 May 2024 English reading
Wednesday 15 May 2024 Mathematics papers 1 and 2
Thursday 16 May 2024 Mathematics paper 3


Key Stage 2 Multiplication Tables Check

In January 2016, the Government introduced a Multiplication Table Check in Key Stage 2. This check is intended to help teachers identify pupils who have not fully developed this important mathematical skill so that schools can give them additional support. Schools are required to administer a multiplication tables check within a 3-week period from Monday 10 June 2024 to assess whether pupils are able to fluently recall their multiplication tables up to 12, through a set of timed questions. The check consists of asking children 25 multiplication questions, and they have 6 seconds to answer each question with a 3-second pause between each.


The Benefits of Home or Online Tuition for Primary Children

Teachers To Your Home provides Primary Tuition across the UK, all Key Stages, and all abilities. All of our Primary tutors are qualified and experienced Primary Teachers; the vast majority currently work as teachers within the Primary and Prep School Sectors and have thorough and up-to-date knowledge and experience of the Primary National Curriculum.

1. Your tutor will be able to focus on the specific subjects and areas your child may be struggling with. At your Primary School, your class teacher can only give limited individual attention to your child, as there is limited classroom time available and the requirement for your class teacher to meet the needs of the whole class group.

2. There are fewer distractions for your child when they are learning in their home setting, with little noise or distractions from classmates, which can often impact their concentration and performance. 

3. Your tutor will quickly gauge your child's current achievement, future potential and learning style and will be able to adapt their teaching to this to bring the greatest benefit.

4. Your tutor can provide an academic challenge for your child if they do not find this at their current school. This can enthuse and invigorate learning and enjoyment for a particular subject, which can infect other areas of their school life.

5. Your tutor can provide academic support to your child if they have missed out on some of their learning, whether through illness, absence, a lack of understanding at school ... or a lack of effort. A short, direct and intensive course of lessons can profoundly impact your child's performance and confidence.

6. Your tutor can help develop your child's confidence in a subject. The more confident a child feels with their schoolwork, the more they are able to develop and progress their skills and knowledge.

7. Your tutor can help your child develop the right exam technique so that they are able to perform to their full potential in an exam situation. Often, children need a lot of practice doing trial exam papers, with a tutor alongside helping them to be precise and concise, to spot the traps that are set, to organise their timings, etc...

8. If your child is shy, they often will not ask questions in the classroom. In one-on-one teaching, your child will feel more able to ask questions when they are unsure of a concept.

9. If your child is struggling with homework from school, the tutor can provide support to help them with this. If your child is not receiving enough homework from school to consolidate their learning, the tutor can provide this.

10. Regular lessons with your tutor will help a disorganised child begin to focus on their work, with the responsibility of being ready for the next lesson. Once momentum builds, your child will begin to feel less anxious and more enjoyment as they begin to sense that they are making progress.

With many years of experience in teaching children on a one-to-one basis, we know that children often make remarkable progress in only a few weeks. Ability, self-belief, confidence, enjoyment … all begin to take root and grow.

Other Parent Guides you may wish to read include:

The 11+ Exam for grammar school entry in September 2025.

How to help your child with sleeping: A guide for parents.

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