Independent review of the primary curriculum (England)

14 May 2009

This Review has tried to capture the distinctiveness of the primary phase. The curriculum that primary children are offered must enable them to enjoy this unique stage of childhood, inspire learning and develop the knowledge, skills and understanding which are the building blocks for secondary education and later life.

The final report was published on 30 April 2009. It also includes the proposed programmes of learning that would make up a new curriculum and the Essentials for Learning and Life that will be developed throughout the curriculum. The Review has sought to reduce prescription and content so that schools have greater flexibility to shape how it is taught and to supplement it to meet local circumstances and pupils’ individual needs.


The Review has sought to address two central questions:

  • What should the primary curriculum contain?

  • How should the content and the teaching of it change to foster children’s different and developing abilities during primary education?

The key features of the primary curriculum put forward by this Review are:

  • Recognising the continuing importance of subjects and the essential knowledge, skills and understanding they represent.

  • Providing a stronger focus on curriculum progression.

  • Strengthening the focus on ensuring, that by the age of seven, children have a secure grasp of the literacy and numeracy skills they need to make good progress thereafter. 

  • Strengthening the teaching and learning of ICT to enable them to be independent and confident users of technology by the end of primary education.

  • Providing a greater emphasis on personal development through a more integrated and simpler framework for schools. 

  • Building stronger links between the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, and between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3. in offering exciting opportunities for learning languages for 7-11 year olds.

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