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Understanding the UK education system’s key stages is essential for parents, teachers, and students alike. The terms KS1 to KS5 might sound like a secret code, but they’re simply a way to classify different phases of schooling.
In this guide, we’ll break down what each of these stages entails. So, whether you’re a curious parent or a student wanting to grasp the bigger picture, let’s dive into this article on KS1 to KS5.
Key Stages are a way of organizing the school curriculum in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
They are used to group children of similar ages together and to ensure that they are all taught the same essential skills and knowledge.
Similarly, they are used to define the learning objectives for each stage, and to assess children’s progress
Key Stage 1 (KS1) is for children from 5 to 7 years old. It is the first stage of formal education in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
KS1 is divided into two years: Year 1 and Year 2.
In Year 1, children learn the basics of reading, writing and mathematics. They also learn about science, geography, history, art, music and physical education.
In Year 2, children continue to develop their skills in reading, writing and mathematics. They also learn about other subjects such as computing, design and technology, and personal, social and health education (PSHE).
The following are the core subjects that are taught in Key Stage 1:
In addition to these core subjects, schools may also choose to teach other subjects such as modern foreign languages, religious education and citizenship.
There are two main assessments that take place in Key Stage 1:
The results of these assessments are used to track children’s progress and to identify those who may need additional support.
The main difference between Key Stage 1 (KS1) and Key Stage 2 (KS2) is the age of the children. KS1 is for children from 5 to 7 years old, while KS2 is for children from 7 to 11 years old.
Another difference is the depth and complexity of the subjects that are taught. In KS1, the focus is on the basics of reading, writing and mathematics. In KS2, children learn more advanced skills in these subjects, as well as other subjects such as science, geography, history, art, music and physical education.
Finally, the assessments that take place in KS2 are more formal than those that take place in KS1.
Key Stage 2 (KS2) is for children between that ages of 7 to 11 years.
The subjects are English, maths, science, computing, PE, art, design and technology, music, history, geography, religious education, and citizenship.
There are two main assessments that children take in Key Stage 2:
Key Stage 3 (KS3) years are for children within the ages11 to 14 years old.
English, maths, science, computing, PE, art, design and technology, music, history, geography, religious education, and modern foreign languages.
There are no assessments in K3, however, the school may choose to test students understanding.
Key Stage 4 (KS4) is the two years of secondary education in England, Wales and Northern Ireland when pupils are aged between 14 and 16.
It is also known as the GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) phase, as pupils typically take GCSE exams in a range of subjects in these two years.
KS4 is divided into two years: Year 10 and Year 11.
In Year 10, pupils continue to study the core subjects of English, mathematics and science. They also choose to study a range of other subjects, such as history, geography, modern foreign languages, art, music and design and technology.
In Year 11, pupils take their GCSE exams. The number of GCSE exams that pupils take varies, but most pupils take between 8 and 10 exams.
At the end of KS4, pupils are awarded GCSE certificates in the subjects that they have taken. These certificates are used to apply for further education or employment.
Key Stage 5 (KS5):
It is a combination of A-levels, BTECs, and other qualifications.
Key Stage 5 (KS5) is the two years of post-16 education in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is also known as the A-level phase, as pupils typically take A-level exams in a range of subjects in these two years.
KS5 is divided into two years: Year 12 and Year 13.
In Year 12, pupils typically study three or four A-level subjects. They also have the option to study other subjects, such as BTECs, apprenticeships or vocational courses.
In Year 13, pupils take their A-level exams. The number of A-level exams that pupils take varies, but most pupils take three A-levels.
At the end of KS5, pupils are awarded A-level certificates in the subjects that they have taken. These certificates are used to apply for university or employment.
The key assessment for KS5 is the A-level exam. A-levels are rigorous exams that assess pupils’ knowledge and understanding of a particular subject. They are graded on a scale of A* to E, with A* being the highest grade.
In addition to A-levels, there are other qualifications that can be taken at KS5, such as BTECs, apprenticeships and vocational courses. These qualifications are also valued by universities and employers.
There are a variety of assessments in each key stage, including:
The main differences between Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 are the age range, the focus of the curriculum, and the amount of assessment. Key Stage 1 is for children aged 5-7, while Key Stage 2 is for children aged 7-11. Key Stage 1 focuses on the basics of literacy and numeracy, while Key Stage 2 builds on these skills and introduces children to a wider range of subjects. There are also more assessments in Key Stage 2 than in Key Stage 1.
The curriculum is designed to help children develop the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in later life.
Children learn at different rates, so it is important to be patient and supportive.
There are a variety of resources available to help parents support their children’s learning.
The EYFS is the first stage of formal education in England. It covers the years from birth to 5. KS1 is the first two years of primary school. Children in KS1 are typically aged 5-7 years old.
Key Stages provide a framework for organizing the school curriculum and ensuring that all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential. They are an important part of the education system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.