The National Curriculum is a blueprint used by schools to ensure that teaching standards are universally consistent.
On 20 January 2011 the Secretary of State for Education announced a review of the National Curriculum in England. The review will look at the National Curriculum for both primary and secondary schools with the aim of developing a coherent curriculum which allows children to build their knowledge systematically and consistently, and supports transition through from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 4.
The new National Curriculum will set out only the essential knowledge that all children should acquire, and give schools and teachers more freedom to decide how to teach this most effectively and to design a wider school curriculum that best meets the needs of their pupils.
Following public consultations, new Programmes of Study for English, mathematics, science and physical education will be made available to schools in September 2012. These will become statutory in September 2013 when new Programmes of Study for all other subjects included in the new National Curriculum will be also made available to schools.
From September 2014, teaching of the new Programmes of Study for all other subjects to be included in the National Curriculum will become statutory.
While the review is being conducted, the existing National Curriculum requirements for both primary and secondary schools will remain in force and schools will plan on that basis.
DfE - Primary Curriculum Subjects (external website)
DfE - Secondary Curriculum Subjects (external website)
Direct.gov - Understanding the National Curriculum (external website)