Education Guide 2018

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Over the course of the next two weeks, our Education Guide we will take a look at the ‘Key Stages’ of learning from Early Years to Primary, Secondary education to Post 16. We will give tips and advice to parents as well as speak to some of our local schools, colleges and educational providers to find out how they can help your child on their ‘road to learning’.

Pre-school learning

Making the right choice for your child, whether it’s for nursery or university, is a decision that needs a lot of thought, as well as a serious amount of information, in order to make the right call.

Preschool or Nursery will be your childs first, tentative, steps into the education system. It is both an exciting and nerve-wracking time for both you and your child, so being armed with the right information, advice and guidance can make the whole process a whole lot smoother.

I know! Scarcely is your baby out of nappies and you are starting to think about enrolling him or her into nursery or preschool. Don’t get me wrong, you are under no legal obligation to send your child to nursery – so if you choose, you can skip this section and go straight to primary schools. However, gradually easing your child into the education system may be more beneficial - each child is different and you know what’s best for your child.

If you do choose to start the ‘road to learning’ at preschool stage, then the options are as follows:

- Playgroups or preschool groups – run in the local community, for a few hours a day.

- Private nursery schools

- State nursery school or nursery unit of a primary school

- Workplace nursery.

Many of us aren’t lucky enough to have a nursery within our workplace, therefore a decision on which of the options best suits will no doubt have to be based around working hours and the availability of friends and relations.

To find out which options are available within the local area go to or

These sites will give you details of nurseries, childcare facilities and vacancies.

Despite the tenderness of your childs age, even at three or four, the government has laid out plans for your little one to learn a variety of skills to prepare them for road ahead. This framework of standards (called the Early Years Foundation Stage) is a guidline for playgroups, nurseries and childcare providers to meet so that your child is developing from birth to the age of 5.

When deciding on a preschool or nursery for your child it is important to have an idea of how each works. Some nurseries are small, some are big, some are independent, some are council run. Some may be affi liated to a local primary school, some are even owned by national companies.

With so much choice available it is no wonder many parents can suffer ‘paralysis by analysis’ when it comes to making the right decision. Invariably, most parents, when visiting a preschool or nursery will get a ‘gut’ feeling; something that just sits right and puts the mind at ease. This is why visiting a number of childcare providers gives you an idea of what is right for you and your little one.

This is your first experience of the education system and the better planned you are and the smoother the process is – the more relaxed you will be in future decisions.


With both child and parent having safely negotiated Nursery/Pre-School, your little one is ready for the next step on the education ladder – Primary School. The ‘basic’ school curriculum includes the ‘national curriculum’, as well as religious education and sex education.

The national curriculum is a set of subjects and standards used by primary and secondary schools so children learn the same things. It covers what subjects are taught and the standards children should reach in each subject.

School like academies and private schools don’t have to follow the national curriculum but they must teach a broad and balanced curriculum including English, maths and science. Throughout the state education journey there are a series of ‘Key Stages’ that make up the national cirriculum.

In Primary education, there are two ‘Key Stages’:

key stage one: (ages 5 – 7)

The main subjects that are focused on KS1 are Maths, English and Science. Within the first two years of Primary education, your childs will learn a variety of skills from counting forwards and backwards up to 100, addition and subtraction facts to 20.

They will start to learn about times tables through the use of simple multiplication and division problems.

Children will consolidate their learning of phonics. They will be encouraged to read a wide range of stories and listen to poems which they will start to recite by heart. Children will also be expected to punctuate sentences with a capital and full stop, and will begin to learn about question marks and exclamation marks.

In Science, they will look at Plants, identifying and naming plants and looking at their basic structure. Animals including humans, identifying and naming a range of animals and understanding how and why they are grouped. Everyday materials, looking at their properties.

At the end of Key Stage 1, the teacher will formally assess your child’s performance in the form of SATS (Scholastic Aptitude or Assessment Test). These assessments are to measure progression in mathematics, English reading and English grammar, punctuation and spelling.

key stage two: (ages 8 – 11)

At Key Stage two, your 8 year old will start to expand their learning to incorporate 11 subjects. Along with English, Mathematics and Science are introduced; Information and Communication Technology, Design Technology, History, Geography, Art and Design, Music, Physical Education and Religious Education.

At the end of Key Stage 2, SATS (Scholastic Aptitude or Assessment Test) papers will be marked externally/independently but will still cover mathematics, English reading and English grammar, punctuation and spelling.

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