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What UK National Curriculum Levels Mean

Here in the UK, the educational system is managed by a series of national curriculum levels. It is important to have an understanding of them in order to judge your child's progress. There are 8 main levels, then they are followed by the letters a, b or c. But what do the letters in national curriculum levels mean?

c - this is to show that a child has only just started to work at this level, so has yet to grasp all of the concepts contained within that level
b - this means that a child is working comfortably within the level
a - this indicates that a child has reached the top of the level and is ready to move on to the next level

The next question is how to know when a child is working at the correct level. Often, parents know their child's levels but they don't know whether this means they are average, above average or below average. The basic rules in the Key Stage 2 National Curriculum Levels are:

By the end of Year 2 - A child should be at a level 2 in order to be in the average band
By the end of Year 3 - A child should be working somewhere between level 2a and 3b in order to be in the average band
By the end of Year 4 - A child should be working at a level 3 in order to be in the average band
By the end of Year 5 - A child should be somewhere between level 3b and 4c in order to be average
By the end of Year 6 - A child should be working at level 4 in order to be in the average band
A child who gets a level 7 at the end of Year 9 is often projected to get a Grade C in their GCSEs, but of course this will vary.

How many levels should a child be progressing by each year? The target set is to go up a whole level every 2 years, so each year your child should be progressing by 1.5 sublevels.

When it comes to maths, the national curriculum is separated into different teaching attainments:

Attainment 2: This is the section called Number & Algebra, which covers operations and problem solving
Attainment 3: This section is Shape, Space and Measure, which covers topics such as area, volume and time
Attainment 4: This section starts at Key Stage 2 and is called Handling Data. It includes graphs and charts

For further information on maths curriculum levels, go to: National Curriculum Website




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