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.

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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

CCEA Chief Executive announces decision to pursue new career opportunity

Published: 04/02/2021, 6:20pm

After 6 years in post, CEO Justin Edwards, announces he will be leaving CCEA to pursue a new opportunity. Mr Edwards will remain in post until 30 April 2021. Alongside his established senior management team, he is fully committed to the implementation of the Minister’s decisions in relation to awarding examinations and CCEA’s wider programme of work.

CCEA resources to help support the curriculum and assessment in 2021

Published: 31/12/2020, 12:00pm

These resources may be useful for schools, teachers, parents and pupils, following the announcement of remote learning.

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.

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