Curriculum requirements: maintained schools

If your school is reviewing or updating its curriculum, find out what it needs to cover to stay compliant with requirements and meet DfE expectations.

Last reviewed on 20 September 2023See updates
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 41491
  1. Key Stage 3 (KS3) requirements 
  2. Key Stage 4 (KS4) requirements
  3. Secondary schools must also teach RE and RSE at both Key Stages
  4. Not all of PSHE is statutory, but your school is expected to teach it
  5. Schools also need to provide for pupils' SMSC development
  6. Subject teaching time
  7. Next steps

All maintained schools must follow the National Curriculum

Key Stage 3 (KS3) requirements 

Pupils in KS3 are expected to learn these core and foundation subjects (click the links to see the programmes of study):

Core subjects

Foundation subjects

Key Stage 4 (KS4) requirements

Pupils in KS4 are expected to learn the core subjects listed above, along with:

The rest of the curriculum is broken into 4 entitlement areas which are not compulsory after the age of 14. However, all pupils have a statutory entitlement to be able to study a subject in each area.

The areas are:

Your school needs to provide access to at least 1 course in each of the areas, and give pupils the