Key Stage 3

Age 11–14

At Key Stage 3 (post-primary Years 8, 9 and 10), the curriculum builds on the learning experiences that pupils bring from primary school. Pupils now attend classes in different subjects, and teachers typically teach specific subjects to pupils across the different Years.

COVID
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Curriculum at Key Stage 3

The Northern Ireland Curriculum aims to empower young people to achieve their potential and to make informed and responsible decisions throughout their lives. The learning opportunities provided should help young people to develop as individuals, contributors to society and contributors to the economy and environment.

The statutory curriculum at Key Stage 3 is set out under the following Areas of Learning and Whole Curriculum Skills and Capabilities.

The Development Pathway

Pre-School

Age 3–4 / Before Year 1

Pre-school education offers children one year of non-compulsory education. Children learn at their own pace through a breadth of learning experiences and challenging play activities in a stimulating environment.

Foundation Stage

Age 4–6

Primary school Years 1 and 2 make up the Foundation Stage. Children build on the learning experiences that they bring to school from home and/or pre-school. They learn through well-planned, challenging play that develops their interests, curiosity and creativity.

Key Stages 1 & 2

Age 6–11

Key Stage 1 (primary school Years 3 and 4) builds on Foundation Stage experiences, and Key Stage 2 (primary school Years 5, 6 and 7) builds on Key Stage 1 experiences. As children progress through these stages, they move from informal to more formal learning.

Key Stage 3

Age 11–14

At Key Stage 3 (post-primary Years 8, 9 and 10), the curriculum builds on the learning experiences that pupils bring from primary school. Pupils now attend classes in different subjects, and teachers typically teach specific subjects to pupils across the different Years.

Key Stage 4

Age 14–16 / Qualifications

At Key Stage 4 (post-primary Years 11 and 12), pupils build on their learning from Key Stage 3. Pupils meet the statutory curriculum requirements through compulsory Areas of Learning and optional courses that lead to general and/or applied qualifications.

Post-16

Qualifications

At post-16, young people can choose from a number of qualifications that we offer at Level 3 on the Regulated Qualifications Framework, including GCE A levels.

Latest News

Explore the impact of COVID-19 on young people with CCEA's Active Citizenship resources

Published: 05/10/2020, 2:30pm

The Active Citizenship project, in collaboration with the Department of Justice, aims to develop a framework for developing young people’s understanding of lawfulness in society. It can also provide the safe space pupils need to gain an understanding of their situation and create a sense of purpose through the uncertainty that surrounds them.

CCEA launches Wellbeing Hub for Primary, SEN and Post Primary Learning

Published: 17/09/2020, 1:30pm

CCEA has launched a Wellbeing Hub to support children’s and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing. The Hub is being developed in collaboration with the Departments of Education and Health, the Public Health Agency, the Health and Social Care Board, and the Education Authority (EA).

CCEA Marks Official End of School Year

Published: 01/07/2020, 11:30am

CCEA marked the official end of the school year yesterday by recording its thanks to everyone involved in the alternative awarding arrangements for the Summer 2020 examination series.

Students Achieve Entry Level Qualifications in Extraordinary Times

Published: 30/06/2020, 10:00am

Today, The Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) has published 1470 Entry Level Qualifications for a total of 774 students from 64 schools and colleges across Northern Ireland. This is the first set of results to be issued under the alternative awarding arrangements for 2020 and is a substantial achievement for young people, teachers, school leaders and the qualifications system. It marks the successful completion of another significant stage of this summer’s awarding process following the Minister of Education’s announcement on 19 March 2020 to close schools and

Online Publication of CCEA’s Curriculum Monitoring Programme: Stage One

Published: 29/06/2020, 11:45am

Today, CCEA has released the findings and feedback from the first stage of the curriculum monitoring programme. Originally intended for release earlier this year, the launch had to be postponed due to the global health emergency. Almost 1000 teachers provided their feedback and thank you to those who took part in a range of direct feedback, surveys and focus groups.