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.

Subsection

Curriculum at Key Stages 1 and 2

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 Stages 1 and 2 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 provides update to Education Minister on curriculum and examinations during visit

Published: 28/03/2024, 5:30pm

Today, (28 March), Education Minister Paul Givan MLA, met with members of the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) and its staff to receive an update on preparation for this year’s summer GCSE, AS and A level examinations.

New Financial Education Guidance Launched to Support Teaching in Schools

Published: 05/03/2024, 2:45pm

Today (5 March 2024) the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), supported by CCEA, launched new free guidance to help schools deliver a quality financial education.

Education Chief Executives issue joint letter to Northern Ireland Secretary of State

Published: 07/12/2023, 8:55am

Chief Executives of the seven main education bodies in Northern Ireland have issued a joint letter to the Northern Ireland Secretary of State.

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