Understanding Key Stages

An Overview

Many parents struggle to understand the Key Stage system used by schools. Here, we provide a brief overview of the Key Stages and programmes of study that are also used in EducateFirst’s learning centres and by our home tutors. This system is applied to all subjects of study.

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What are the Key Stages?

The National Curriculum is divided into four main Key Stages (1–4) that children are taken through during their school life. Key Stage 5 is the unofficial name given to students in sixth form or college. Targets defined in the National Curriculum are assessed at the end of each Key Stage.

The Five Key Stages

Key Stage Education Level Age (Years) School Year
Key Stage 1 Primary level Ages 5–7 Years 1 and 2
Key Stage 1 Primary level Ages 7–11 Years 3, 4, 5 and 6
Key Stage 3 Secondary level Ages 11–14 Years 7, 8 and 9
Key Stage 4 GCSE level Ages 14–16 Years 10 and 11
Key Stage 5 AS- / A-level Ages 16–18 Years 12 and 13 (sixth form)
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What are programmes of study?

Programmes of study set out what teachers should cover in every subject during each Key Stage. EducateFirst has developed its own comprehensive programmes of study in line with the National Curriculum for use in classes within its learning centres. These programmes of study provide additional support to children attending the classes in parallel with their school work, providing them with maximum benefit from their private tuition.

There are also four general teaching requirements, which apply across all subjects. These are summarised below for your information.

Teachers should:

  • use language effectively
  • use information and communication technology (ICT) effectively
  • follow health and safety guidelines
  • provide teaching that includes different ethnic minority viewpoints.
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