Overview

The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) is the central governing body responsible for education in England and Wales – separate Education Departments manage Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you are interested in teaching in Scotland, registration with the Scottish General Teaching Council is required.

Schools in England and Wales follow the National Curriculum. This is a programme of learning divided into four Key Stages;

Primary Key Stage 1 – 5-7 year olds (Years 1 - 2)
Key Stage 2 – 7-11 year olds (Years 3 - 6)
* In the primary sector, it is common to have separate nursery (3-5 years), infants (5-7) and junior (8-11 years) schools.
Secondary Key Stage 3 – 11 – 14 year olds (Years 7 - 9)
Key Stage 4 – 14 – 16 year olds (Years 10 - 11)
*The post 16 age group (Key Stage 5) may also be catered for in the Sixth Form or other further education colleges.

Schools are introducing a new 14-19 curriculum to allow for individualised learning. You may also be part of teaching this in your specialist subject area.

The year groups identify children who have birthdays between the 1st of September and the 31st of August the following year.

Foundation Stage – this covers the education of children at 3 and 4 years old in a range of settings (privately owned centres or run by the local borough – may or may not be attached to a school). The Foundation Stage prepares children for learning in Key Stage 1 and is consistent with the National Curriculum. Most Infant schools have a reception class for children who are 4 years old on September 1st of that year.

Each school is inspected fairly regularly by ‘The Office for Standards in Education’ (OFSTED), which is the regulatory body for schools in England and Wales. National testing takes place at ages 7, 11, 14 and 16. At the age of 18, students can take A levels or vocational qualifications, which are required for university entrance. Some schools offer the International Baccalaureate course and more information can be found at http://www.ibo.org.

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