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Learning and national curriculum

13 September 2016

Here you can find information about the national curriculum and qualifications.  These include General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSEs), AS and A Levels, key stage tests (often called SATs), the 11+ selective test and other assessments.


For information about when your child will take their exams please contact their school directly.


The stages of education are:

  • Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
  • Children aged between 0 and 5 (preschool and reception class).


Key stage 1

Pupils aged between 5 and 7 (years 1 and 2).

Key stage 2 

Pupils aged between 7 and 11 (years 3 to 6).

Key stage 3

Pupils aged between 11 and 14 (years 7 to 9) (since 2009 SATs are no longer taken at this key stage).

Key stage 4 (GCSE)

Pupils aged between 14 and 16 (years 10 and 11).
To view information on a particular school in Essex you can visit our directory of schools maintained by the Essex local authority (LA) for primary schools and secondary schools. This has links to each school’s examination performance record, as well as the Ofsted report, admission policy and a link to the school’s own website.
Performance tables (league tables) for all Essex schools are available on the Department for Education (DfE) website.

Useful links

Parents’ centre – a guide to your child’s education.
BBC Schools - help and advice for students, parents and teachers.

11+ selective test

The 11+ selective test is for Year 6 students who wish to gain entry to the following selective (grammar) schools:
  • Chelmsford County High School for Girls
  • King Edward VI Grammar School
  • Colchester County High School for Girls
  • Colchester Royal Grammar School
  • Cecil Jones College
  • Shoeburyness High School
  • Southend High School for Girls
  • Southend High School for Boys
  • St Bernard’s High School and Arts College
  • St Thomas More High School for Boys
  • Westcliff High School for Girls
  • Westcliff High School for Boys.
The test is normally available to children in Year 6 who are aged 11 years but under 12 years on 31 August in the desired year of entry. It includes English, mathematics and verbal reasoning tests. For more information on the 11+ selective test please visit the Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex (CSSE) website. You may also wish to find out about schools which offer the International Baccalaureate.