• To be able to identify the difference between statutory frameworks and non-statutory guidance
  • To identify key guidance relating to the curriculum
  • To identify key legislation that is setting the context for education in the 21st Century.

Which one(s) of these are/is statutory - which has to be used/applied/covered in school?


And subjects?


How does it all fit together?


Key Statutory Frameworks

The key statutory frameworks which will impact upon the role of the TA are underpinned by legislation which protects both staff, pupils and families in order for schools to best meet the needs of pupils in their care.

  • The National Curriculum - in force following 1988 Education Act with a number of revisions and ammendments following
  • Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
  • Every Child Matters - follows the Children's Act 2003
  • SEN Code of Practice - revised in 2001 following the SEN and Disability Act (SENDA)
  • Statutory Assessment - EYFS Profile and teacher assessments at the end of KS1, 2 and 3 via National Curriculum (NC) Levels or P Scales for pupils working below NC Level 1


Equalities Legislation (Teachers' TV video)
SEN/LDD Statutory Frameworks (DCSF Guidance)

What is the "curriculum"?


Thinking of your own experience, how would you define what the curriculum is?
What are the characteristics of a good learner?

Now consider how, where and when learning takes place in school – brainstorm your ideas

The following definitions of the term “curriculum” are from a range of literature:

  • which of these relate to your own ideas
  • which fits closely
  • what similarities or differences can you identify?

"all the learning which is planned and guided by the school, whether it is carried out in groups or individually, inside or outside the school." (Kerr, 1968)

"an attempt to communicate the essential principles and features of an educational proposal in such a form that it is open to critical scrutiny and capable of effective translation into practice." (Stenhouse, 1975)

"the learning experiences of students, in so far as they are expressed or anticipated in educational goals and objectives, plans and designs for learning and the implementation of these plans and designs in school environments." (Skilbeck, 1984)

“A curriculum is a particular way of ordering content and purposes for teaching and learning in schools. Content is what teachers and students pay attention to when they are teaching and learning. Content can be described as a list of school subjects or, more specifically, as a list of topics, themes, concepts or works to be covered. Purposes are the reasons for teaching the content. Among broad reasons for teaching school subjects are to transmit the culture, to improve society or to realise the potential of individual students” (Walker, 2003)

The National Curriculum states:
“The school curriculum comprises all learning and other experiences that each school plans for its pupils”
“The National Curriculum is an important element of the school curriculum”
“Education only flourishes if it successfully adapts to the demands and needs of the time. The curriculum cannot remain static. It must be responsive to changes in society and the economy, and changes in the nature of schooling itself.”

The National Curriculum’s definition goes beyond timetabled components and includes what is known as the “hidden” curriculum

Can you identify the wider aspects of curriculum in your context? Look back at your notes

More about the hidden curriculum

Skelton defines the hidden curriculum as:

“That set of implicit messages relating to knowledge, values, norms of behaviour and attitudes that learners experience in and through educational processes. These messages may be contradictory, non-linear and punctuational and each learner mediates the message in her/his own way.”

Ross (2003) states: “Even within compulsory education, it is also possible to refer to the “hidden” curriculum; that which is not overtly stated… Beyond this, curriculum exists in much wider domains, and it can include any socially constructed or prescribed activities… that result in the transformation of the individual.”


How would you now define:

  • The written/expressed curriculum
  • The hidden curriculum

: what do you as a TA require for effective delivery of the curriculum in the classroom?

The National Curriculum

The National Curriculum applies to pupils of compulsory school age in community and foundation schools, including community special schools and foundation special schools, and voluntary aided and voluntary controlled schools. It is organised on the basis of four key stages.

Key stage 1: Ages 5-7 (Years 1-2)
Key stage 2: Ages 7-11 (Years 3-6)
Key stage 3: Ages 11-14 (Years 7-9)
Key stage 4: Ages 14-16 (Years 10-11).

National Curriculum:

Primary Curriculum Review (2009 Teachers' TV video)

14-19 Reform

P-Scales information

The Early Years Foundation Stage: 6 key areas of development (statutory: Sept 08)

6 Key areas of learning:

Personal, Social and Emotional Development;
Communication, Language and Literacy;
Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy;
Knowledge and Understanding of the World;
Physical Development;
Creative Development.

Early Years Foundation Stage:

Every Child Matters

A government agenda designed to bring services for children together to meet the following 5 outcomes:

  • Be Healthy
  • Stay Safe
  • Enjoy and Achieve
  • Make a positive contribution
  • Achieve economic wellbeing

The Every Child Matters website gives the historical background to the legislation and how this can be translated into practice.

Every Child Matters:

A guide to the working of Children's Trusts (Teachers' TV)

Video: Every Child Matters - Tom's Team Teachers' TV video


Complete the Swim Lane diagram below:


Non-statutory guidance

These documents are recommended as good practice, but schools may apply it as they wish or opt out altogether.

National Strategies - Primary and Secondary, SEAL, etc

DCSF National Strategies site

QCA Schemes of Work

Designed to "satisfy" the requirements of the National Curriculum

Units of work
Learning objectives and learning outcomes
Teaching activities

QCA Schemes of Work:

An interesting resource:

What would you like to see?

  • Flexibility in curriculum delivery
  • Exploring learning-focused (rather than content-focused) to promote 'real' learning situations that simulate virtual situations;
  • Exploring project-based approaches to the curriculum rather than discrete, one-off lessons. This also breaks down the potential constraints of subject-specific teaching;
  • Using the curriculum to support a set of skills rather than as an end in itself, matching the aims of the National Curriculum to the areas of their learning profile;
  • Using ICT to help pupils manage their own learning, such as through a virtual learning environment whereby pupils can communicate with staff more freely.