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The Curriculum of the United Kingdom


A curriculum is the set of courses that a certain institution of learning offers. A curriculum is meant to guide the learners which are children to develop into useful individuals in society. A good curriculum is one that is focused on the formative activities that occur in the school and helps the learner to cope with the outside society. In general, a curriculum transforms an individual into what he or she ought to be in society. A curriculum can either be good or bad depending on the outcomes it is giving to the individuals and to society. The United States school curriculum is well designed to help the children to gather what it takes to be useful in life.

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Each state has its own independent curriculum in the individual district school in the United States. The curriculum of an institution, that is schools and even universities is determined by an external authoritative body mostly formed by the government of the state. In England, the curriculum is determined by the national curriculum for England for all English schools. (Jackson, 2001) This paper looks at the curriculum of the United Kingdom and analysis how it is important to the citizens.

Curriculum in England

The curriculum of our schools is a treasure and most of the educators are proud of our curriculum, which is the learning that the nation has decided to set for its young people. Teachers, parents, employers, the public, and the media should see the curriculum as something worth embracing and support in order for young people to be able to cherish the opportunities provided for discovery and achievements in life through the curriculum offered in the schools or across the nations.

The compulsory schooling in England for children between the age of five and sixteen years is very helpful for the children to discover their potentials in life. The variety of courses offered in full-time education is designed to assist young children to explore through the wide opportunities in life. Primary school education begins from four to eleven years. This is divided into two, infant schooling and junior schooling.

After junior schooling, the child can now proceed to secondary education which goes for five years until the child attains the age of sixteen. The secondary education curriculum has the sixth form college which follows the secondary education after sixteen years of age. The curriculum provides a standard universal examination to the children in both public and private schools. These exams are given at four stages referred to us the key stage National Curriculum Tests 1-4. They are administered as follows;

Stages in curriculum

Key stage I is given during the second year of study in infant schooling, that is between the ages six and seven, key stage 2 is done towards the end of the sixth year in junior primary school and is often given to children at age ten and eleven., Key stage 3 is given at the end of the 9th year to children between age 13 and 14 and the final key stage exam is offered in both last years of compulsory schooling in year 10 and 11 for children between the ages fourteen and sixteen. (Jackson, 2001)

The national curriculum is efficient as it ensures universality in both state and independent schools. The school offers a General Certificate for Secondary Education, GCSE to all students which marks the completion of the compulsory education. The curriculum allows the children to continue with education till the age of eighteen years in the sixth form which is not compulsory at all.

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The curriculum in further education is designed to assist the students that are 18 or above 18 years of age to be able to develop important skills in life. The students in further education are encouraged to study key communication skills, application of numbers, and most important students are encouraged to study at least some basics in information technology. Considering the dynamic changes in the world of technology the curriculum gives room for the study of IT. In fact, in some institutions this is compulsory. (Pinar, 2000)

The curriculum in the UK allows students who have completed their compulsory education to join higher education. They can join directly after they complete their compulsory schooling or after further education. Higher education in the universities admits students normally after they attain the age of eighteen. In the university, the curriculum in the university allows the students to study for an academic degree of their choice. The control of degree is only done for teacher training courses in the university.

The first degree is the bachelor’s degree which basically takes three years in the British universities. However, some institutions do offer undergraduate master’s degrees as the first degree. After completing the first degree one can register for a second degree which is referred to as postgraduate, this includes the master’s degree that takes only a year or the doctorate degree typically within a period of three years.

The national curriculum in England offers the best in educating its people. One can complete studies when he or she is still very young hence can achieve a lot in life.


Jackson, Philip. (2001), Conceptions of Curriculum and Curriculum Specialists, (New York: Macmillan Pub. Co.).

Pinar, William. (2000), Understanding Curriculum: An Introduction to the Study of Historical and Contemporary Curriculum Discourses (New York, Peter Lang).

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