About the Northern Ireland Curriculum

In Northern Ireland, the curriculum is managed and maintained by CCEA.

The education system in Northern Ireland begins statutory education when a child is aged 4. All children must begin school in the September following their 4th birthday.

There are 12 years of compulsory education which are divided into 5 key stages.

  Ages School Years
Pre-School 2 - 4 For children in the year immediately before they enter Year 1
Foundation Stage 4 - 6 Years 1 & 2
Key Stage 1 6 - 8 Years 3 & 4
Key Stage 2 8 - 11 Years 5, 6 & 7
Key Stage 3 11 - 14 Years 8, 9 & 10
Key Stage 4 14 - 16 Years 11 & 12