The Northern Ireland Curriculum was introduced in 2007 and covers all 12 years of compulsory education. It's a curriculum that focuses on the learning process and learners' needs, as well as their knowledge, understanding and skills.

The curriculum offers flexibility and specifies a minimum entitlement for all pupils. Schools have considerable scope to tailor this entitlement and to provide learning opportunities adapted to their own context and their pupils' needs.

Watch the short video below to find out more.

There are five compulsory key stages.

Stage Ages Years
Pre-School (not compulsory) 3 - 4 For children in the year before they start 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

You can select one of the stages above for a relevant overview and The Big Picture of the Curriculum.

Alternatively, for full details of the curriculum for primary schools, see The Northern Ireland Curriculum: Primary.

For full details of the curriculum for Key Stage 3, see the Statutory Curriculum at Key Stage 3: Rationale and Detail.

You can also view the key legislation behind the curriculum (statutory rule 46, 2007) at The Education (Curriculum Minimum Content) Order (Northern Ireland) 2007 and other statutory documents in the Legislation and Circulars section.