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Curriculum, Qualifications and Assessment

Male primary school teacher with children

NASUWT members continue to identify excessive planning as a significant contributor to excessive workload and bureaucracy in schools. The NASUWT's model planning polices are available below. You can also find there a streamlined lesson planning sheet used in a secondary school that was recently evaluated as outstanding by Ofsted. 

Curriculum in the UK

England, Wales and Northern Ireland

By law, all children between the ages of 5 and 16 must receive a full-time education. The National Curriculum was introduced fully by 1992 and state schools are required to adhere to it until students reach age 16. However, independent schools and, in England, academies are not required to do so.

The Government has reviewed and rewritten the National Curriculum in England.

The Department for Education has also instigated drastic changes in the English qualification system. This has led to increased divergence between the systems in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.


Scotland has its own qualification framework that is separate from that in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. After seven years of primary education and four years of compulsory secondary education, students aged 15 to 16 may take the Scottish Certificate of Education (SCE). The Scottish Certificate of Education is recognized throughout Britain as the equivalent to GCE A-levels and is usually the entry qualification for university.

The Scottish curriculum, called A Curriculum for Excellence, is intended to provide a streamlined curriculum for 3-18-year-olds.

Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) Management Board Meetings

The NASUWT has represented members’ interests in meetings of the Curriculum for Excellence Management Board. During these meetings, the NASUWT robustly represented the interests of classroom teachers and is the only union which deployed a classroom teacher in these crucial meetings.

The NASUWT will continue to press key points, and argue for the interests of Scottish teachers.




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Assessment, use of performance data and target setting

The NASUWT has produced detailed advice and guidance for teachers on the use of pupil performance data in schools and the setting of targets for teachers.

Use of performance data in England

Use of performance data in Wales

Use of performance data in Northern Ireland

Use of performance data in Scotland

Following discussions with the Welsh Government over the administration and the marking of the literacy and numeracy tests that will be undertaken by learners from year two through to year nine in May, the NASUWT offers the following points of clarification to school representatives and members.

  • Teachers should not be expected to administer the tests, unless they form part of a timetabled lesson and are undertaken in the teacher’s classroom.
  • Teachers should not be expected to prepare their classrooms for the tests.
  • Teachers should not be expected to mark the tests.
  • Teachers should not be expected to input data from the tests.

This position reflects the views expressed to the NASUWT by Welsh Government officials and statements made by the Minister, and can be supported by the joint national action.
The NASUWT expects all schools to put in place arrangements that comply fully with these four points.

If resolution cannot be reached through contact with your headteacher and, if necessary, with the Chair of Governors, the matter will be referred with a view to escalation of the national action to protect you from this additional and unnecessary workload.


Standing Up For Standards Logo

Key Stage 2 Assessment Advice

NASUWT position statement on testing and assessment

The NASUWT's Response to the Tickell Review of early education

The NASUWT's submission to the Wolf Review of Vocational Education

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Fit for Work Assessments 06/05/2015 9:03

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