Teaching is not always a teacher’s job. As parents, there are a lot of things that we must help our children understand. How to get dressed, how to brush your teeth, how to be polite, how to wash your hands… the list goes on. So, when your child goes to school and suddenly you’re not the only one teaching them, it can be a bit disorientating.
You know that they have a maths lesson every day, but what do they learn in that lesson? What lesson came before it and what was after? Are they any good at maths?
There are a lot of questions you can and want to ask, so we thought we’d bring you a quick guide to understanding what your child is learning in primary school.
What subjects are they doing?
In Primary School, your child will learn the following subjects:
English, Mathematics and Science as well as Computing, Art, History, Geography, PE, Music, Religious Education, Design and Technology and a Modern Foreign Language. The ‘Core’ subjects are English, Maths and Science. Most primary schools will teach these lessons daily for an hour or more. The other subjects are known as foundation subjects. They're not taught every day, but they're important for giving children a well-rounded start to their educations. The National Curriculum states that all state schools in England must teach these subjects.
What is The National Curriculum?
The National Curriculum is a document that explains the teaching requirements for every subject. State schools in England must follow the requirements that the National Curriculum sets. If you would like to see a copy of the newest 2014 curriculum, you can see it here.
It's a bit wordy, and it’s long, but the first few pages set out what the curriculum expects of teachers, particularly regarding maths, literacy, and making students good ‘all-rounders’.
You might find when taking a quick glance at the National Curriculum that you see a lot of ‘key stages’. The curriculum divides schools into four Key Stages.
Primary School students fall in to Key Stages 1 and 2. These stages are really important for preparing children not only for moving on up to high school, but for having a strong learning ethic and basic knowledge moving forward.
How do schools know that my child is doing well or is struggling?
The expectation is that teachers should be constantly assessing your child’s progress. They do this through visual assessments, in-class tests, and through marking their class work and homework. Officially, though, all pupils sit SATS at the end of Key Stage 1 and again at the end of Key Stage 2.
SATS are formal exams that assess children on topics such as spelling, punctuation and grammar (often referred to as SPAG), reading and mathematics. Doing these allows teachers to see if your child is meeting expected standards and, if they aren’t, what areas it is that they are struggling with.
We get it, this can all be overwhelming. SATS in particularly are stressful times for children and their teachers, but it’s an important part of ensuring that children are working to their best of their ability.