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Key Changes To The National Curriculum (2014)
September 5th 2013

Changes to the national curriculum are to be implemented in September 2014. After a consultation period earlier this year, the education secretary Michael Gove plans to make the changes that will see our schools ‘catch up to the world’s best education systems.’

Prime Minister, David Cameron, has called the proposed curriculum changes a ‘revolution in education,’ but many teachers are concerned that the timescale for implementing these updates is too short and therefore unrealistic.

As an educator, you will of course already be familiar with the finer details of the new proposed curriculum and know which changes are applicable to you and the age-group of students you teach.

This article then will outline a selection of the key areas earmarked for change and describe briefly how pupils may react and feel motivated by the new things they will soon be taught in schools.

The Three R’s

In Maths lessons, children at the age of five will be taught simple fractions like halves and quarters and will be expected to have a strong grounding in the fundamentals of maths by the time they reach GCSE level.

By the age of eight, pupils will also be expected to present data on bar graphs and by nine years old they should know the 12 times tables, whereas previously they were required to know up to their 10 times tables by the time they leave primary school.

It is hoped that by GCSE students will understand complicated algebra and geometry problems and will hopefully be more encouraged to pursue maths into further education.

In English, pupils in secondary school will study at least two plays by Shakespeare and be expected to study two authors in-depth per year. A range of texts -both modern ones and books pre-dating 1914-will be studied, presenting a wide-ranging scope of literature.

For primary school students, they will be expected to conduct debates and recite poetry by heart and learn how to spell words with silent letters. For pupils, this means more of an emphasis on oral presentation skills, which will make for some lively class discussions indeed.


Evolution will be taught to primary school aged children for the very first time, plus they will study the solar system in-depth, which I’m sure, will be a fascinating and inspiring topic for them all. Teachers, brace yourselves for a lot of questions about aliens on far-flung planets and astronauts!  

In secondary schools, climate change will be looked at in detail in science lessons and diet and nutrition will also be an area of strong focus. Getting teenagers thinking about healthy foods with a scientific undertone should encourage them to think more carefully about what they eat, which will hopefully have a knock-on effect in their future lives.

Design And Technology

The way design and technology will be taught will see significant changes under the new 2014 curriculum. ‘Life Skills’ such as cookery will be taught in secondary schools with an emphasis on creating a wider range of healthy dishes than what has been taught in schools previously.

Bike maintenance, gardening and engineering will also feature on the new curriculum and pupils will be expected to design and create models using 3D printers.


Seven to eleven year olds will start to learn a foreign language in primary school, which will better prepare them for language lessons when they reach KS3. Experiments have shown that younger children pick up new languages significantly faster than adults, so hopefully these changes will encourage more of our children to learn a foreign language fluently.


Primary school children will study history from the Stone Age until the Normans and will compare our history with that of an ancient culture abroad (e.g. the Greeks). They will also learn more about their local history which will hopefully give them a good grounding in the subject and get them thinking about how the past influences our lives today.

Climate change will be studied as part of the geography syllabus and pupils aged 11-14 will be taught to understand the physical processes that impact our environment negatively. This comes as a result of campaigners pushing for this topic to be taught in schools. They will also be taught to locate cities and counties in the UK as well as abroad.

For more information on teaching, ahead of the new school year, check out our Back to School Teaching Resources from Primary School Teachers.

Do you have any comment on the new curriculum? Share them in the comments.  

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