Stages of primary school education

A child’s primary school education consists of three statutory stages:

  • Foundation Stage (3-5 years)
  • Key stage 1 (5-7 years)
  • Key Stage 2 (7-11 years)


Foundation Stage:

Children in education will spend two years (from the age of 3 to 5) in the Foundation Stage.  The first year is spent in Nursery and the second in Reception.  Ursuline does not have its own Nursery and admits children from several different Nursery settings into its Reception classes.

The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (also known as EYFS) is delivered throughout the Foundation Stage, both in Nursery and Reception.  It consists of 3 prime areas of learning and development:

  • Personal/Social
  • Communication & Language
  • Physical


Four Specific areas of learning and development:

  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Understanding the world
  • Creative design

Alongside these areas, we teach the Catholic Religious Education syllabus know as Come and See.

Learning in the Foundation Stage is play based and experiential.  The teaching staff plans the curriculum accordingly.  Learning takes place both inside the classroom or outside in the outdoor learning area and is tailored to children’s developmental needs.

Each area of learning consists of a set of Early Learning Goals (ELG). A child’s progress through the Foundation Stage ELG is tracked by the Foundation Stage Profile, which, as a statutory requirement, is shared regularly with parents throughout the year.

Key Stage 1:

Upon completion of the reception year children enter year 1, the first year of Key Stage 1 (5-7 years).  During Key Stage 1 children will be taught the National Curriculum, an entitlement which consists of 10 separate subject areas: 

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Computing
  • Design and technology
  • History
  • Geography
  • Art
  • Music
  • Physical Education (PE)

The learning objectives for each subject are listed in the National Curriculum Key Stage 1 Programmes of Study.

Religious Education (RE) and Personal, Social & Health Education (PSHE)  are also taught during Key Stage 1.

Not all children will have successfully achieved all of the Foundation Stage ELG during the reception year.  For this reason the approach used in reception is continued and gradually adapted to ensure that all children’s learning styles are addressed and met.  In this way the transition from reception to year 1 is a comfortable experience for the children.

Children in year 1 undertake a national phonics screening check towards the end of the academic year.

At the end year 2 (the second year of Key Stage 1) children undergo statutory national test (known as SATs), these in-turn inform teacher assessments.  These are, as a statutory requirement, reported to parents.        

Key Stage 2:

All National Curriculum subjects are taught in Key Stage 2 (years 3-6) through the Key Stage 2 Programmes of Study, along with RE and PSHE. In addition, French is taught throughout Key Stage 2.

Children in year 4 undertake a national times tables test towards the end of the academic year.

At the end of year 6 children undergo national Statutory Assessment Tests (SATs).  These are, as a statutory requirement, reported to parents and appear in national achievement and attainment tables.  Year 6 teachers will also report teacher assessments for English, Maths and Science.

As well as the Foundation stage Profile, Key Stage 1 and 2 tests, the school carries out its own internal assessment and testing in order to track children’s progress throughout their school life.

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