The Key Stage 4 Entitlement Framework is a core element of the Northern Ireland Curriculum (DENI, 2010). The Entitlement Framework ensures that schools provide pupils with access to a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum. It provides pupils with access to a range of courses which are linked to relevant learning and career pathways.
The full requirements of the Entitlement Framework are being phased in as shown below:
|Key Stage 4||18 courses||21 courses||24 courses|
A third of these courses must be general and a third applied.
Schools also need to provide:
- at least one course to cover each of the Areas of Learning; and
- at least one course in an official language of the European Union (other than English, and in Irish speaking schools, Irish).
The nature of course provision is defined in terms of whether it leads to a general or applied qualification.
A general qualification is one where knowledge, understanding and skills are developed within a subject context. Assessment will mainly be through written tasks.
An applied qualification is one where knowledge, understanding and skills can be developed through practical demonstration and/or within a context related to employability. Assessment will be through a practical demonstration and/or within a context related to employability. Schools can access the list of DE approved courses at www.ef.audit.org/site/
Guidance on delivering the Entitlement Framework by 2013 can be found on the DENI website www.deni.gov.uk
The report on Advancing Shared Education highlights the importance of shared education as a mechanism for the delivery of the entitlement framework (Connolly, Purvis and O' Grady, 2013). Shared education involves two or more schools from other sectors and educational institutions collaborating with the aim of delivering educational benefits to learners. Schools should take into account this report when considering their Key Stage 4 curriculum provision.
Further information about Shared Education can be found at www.schoolsworkingtogether.co.uk/.