The National Curriculum applies to pupils of compulsory school age in English maintained schools, ie community and foundation schools (including special schools) and voluntary aided and voluntary controlled schools. There is no requirement for academies, free schools or schools from the independent sector to follow the National Curriculum, although they are required to offer a broad and balanced curriculum as prescribed by the Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2014.

The secondary phase is covered by Key Stages 3 and 4.

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