The English National Curriculum – An Overview

Having a general knowledge about The English National Curriculum (ENC) can help you support your child’s learning. This page will provide you with an informative overview about the ENC and our learning and teaching approach here at My Online Schooling.

What is the English National Curriculum?

The English National Curriculum, known as the ENC, is used by the vast majority of schools in England and by thousands of British Curriculum schools all over the world.

The ENC is a very well-established and recognised curriculum known for providing a broad and balanced curriculum that is relevant and progressive for pupils.

The first version of the ENC was developed the late 80’s out of an aim to make learning more balanced and consistent across schools. However, it is constantly reviewed to ensure the programmes of study are remaining relevant across the stages.

The Key Stages of the Curriculum

The curriculum is divided into Key Stages;

The ENC is the intended curriculum that the Department for Education have set out with standards of what pupils should be learning in each subject at each age and stage.

The programmes of study are then converted into schemes of work for teachers to implement in the classroom. This ensures that pupils are gaining a rich, coherent and enjoyable learning experience.  

Parents who educate their children at home do not need to be qualified teachers, or follow a National Curriculum. The only requirement you need to meet is to provide a full-time education that’s suitable to the age and ability of your child.

What can we offer at My Online Schooling?

We offer an online school from 8am to 3pm with live lessons and teachers, support groups, after school clubs and 1:1 sessions. Our qualified teachers are delivering lessons based on the ENC in a coherent, progressive and interactive way.

Typically English, Mathematics and Science are the core subjects in state primary and secondary schools. However, it is up to you and your child to choose the subjects you are wanting to pursue.

Currently we offer a range of subjects at Key Stage Two (KS2), Key Stage Three (KS3), International General Certificate of Secondary Education (iGCSE) qualification level, and this year we are starting A Level qualification studies.

Progress in our classes is measured through day to day lessons, termly assessments and by performance descriptors – ‘working towards expected level of attainment,’ ‘working at expected level of attainment’’ and ‘working above expected level of attainment’.

Here at My Online Schooling we strive to keep our class sizes to a minimum, allowing much more one-on-one contact with the teacher. Break-out rooms and the ‘hands up’ feature allow pupils to ask questions or clarify anything related to the lesson.

Pupils are able to keep in constant communication with their teacher through voice, text or interactive presentation. We know this way of teaching is beneficial, and we are constantly working on improving our learning and teaching to the highest standard.

Key Stage 2

For pupils in Year 5 and 6, we offer an engaging course encompassing seven key curricular areas. Class sizes are small and all lessons and taught live by our team of experienced primary teachers that are there, every step of the way in your child’s learning. We encourage active participation, whilst making lessons fun and enjoyable.

Key Stage 3

We offer an excellent programme of study at KS3 level for pupils in Year 7, 8 and 9. The programme is both engaging and promotes independent learning.

iGCSE – Key Stage 4

In Year 10, pupils typically begin their two year studies towards achieving their iGCSE qualification. Pearson Edexcel iGCSEs are globally recognised academic qualifications equivalent to a UK General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE). They are linear qualifications, meaning that pupils take all of the exams at the end of the course.

Pearson-Edexcel have recently introduced the 9–1 grading scale ensuring iGCSEs are comparable to the GCSEs. iGCSEs are ideal for pupils studying qualifications by distance learning or at home as they can be 100% externally assessed, and do not have any coursework. They are considered to be more challenging and rigorous than GCSEs, though they are the same level of qualification.

AS / A Levels

In Year 12, pupils may wish to progress on to AS and A Levels. These qualifications involve studying the theory of a subject combined with some investigative work. AS levels generally take one year to complete and A Levels are studied across two years.


Exams take place in May/June. iGCSE examinations can be sat in thousands of exam centres in over 120 countries globally. We will support students through the exam enrolment process and help you find an exam centre that offers iGCSE exams (see iGCSE Exam Enrolment Guide link below for more details).

Not all centres can offer iGCSEs, all subjects and oral/practical exams. Most subjects have written exams but French and Spanish exams also include an oral assessment and Computer science involves a practical assessment carried out using a computer system. You may wish to contact your closest exam centre, before your child starts their studies, to find out more information about what they can offer.

Pupils are enrolled for exams as a Private Candidate. Exam fees which are payable to the exam centre can be found here

For information on how to enrol in exams as a private candidate, please take a look at our iGCSE Exam Enrolment guide here.

Progression From KS2 to iGCSE Level

Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3

Here is an example of the progression from KS2 – iGCSE in one of the curricular areas, English . At KS2 level, pupils develop language and vocabulary to support their reading and writing, gaining knowledge from stories, plays, poetry, non-fiction and textbooks.

Pupils will learn how to read root words, prefixes and suffixes to understand new words, comprehend new fiction, poetry, plays, non-fiction and reference books, and engage with a wide range of books including myths, legends, traditional stories and modern fiction. They will write using words with silent letters, good vocabulary, grammar, and punctuation and use dictionaries and thesauruses.

Key Stage 3 to iGCSE (Key Stage 4)

Pupils then progress on to KS3 where the main aim is promote high standards of language and literacy, by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. Pupils will cover reading, writing, grammar and vocabulary and spoken English.

iGCSE (Key Stage 4) to AS /A Level

Pupils may wish to then progress on to iGCSE English language studies, where they will study a range of reading and writing skills. In writing, they will learn transactional writing, imaginative writing, and they will develop their ideas, use of rhetorical devices, variety of sentence structures, variety of punctuation and use of advanced vocabulary.  

They will read a range of extracts and build confidence in approaching unfamiliar material, focus on the ‘writer’s perspective’, and read poetry and prose fiction extracts. iGCSE English Literature is a different course which will include modern drama, literary heritage texts, poetry anthologies and modern prose.

Pupils will consider the social, historical, and cultural contexts of modern drama and heritage texts, by considering plot development, characters and their relationships, key themes, and the effect of form and structure.

They will develop poetry reading skills through exploring a variety of poems, and practising timed exercises to build exam confidence. Exam and writing techniques will be developed, including using quotations, key words, structuring answers, referencing the question and using an analytical paragraph structure.

Pupils will then be equipped with the skills and knowledge to progress on to their studies at AS level then A Level.

Find Out More

To find out more detailed information about all of the subjects offered and the progression through stages, please refer to our School Handbook.

Remember that children learn in different ways and at different rates. Our small class sizes encourage a more individualised style of learning.

Get in touch

If you’d like to get in touch, please contact us on +44 800 031 4340 or email

We are also available to talk to you between the hours of 8:30am and 4:30pm Monday to Friday (UK time), through the live chat feature in the bottom right of the website.

Alternatively please complete our Enquiry Form here, and we will be in touch with you to discuss any questions you have.

We look forward to hearing from you!