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FAQs

Teachers and parents with specific queries about Core Knowledge UK are welcome to get in touch with us - our contact details are here. Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions.

What is Core Knowledge UK, in brief?

Core Knowledge UK is a project led by the educational charity Civitas that consists of the Core Knowledge Sequence UK, the Core Knowledge UK curriculum, and various Core Knowledge resources for parents, teachers and home educators.

What subjects does Core Knowledge UK cover?

Core Knowledge UK is a guideline of the fundamental content and skills to cover in English, maths, history and geography, science, music and visual arts.

What age range does Core Knowledge UK cover?

Core Knowledge UK is for children aged 4- to 11-years-old. It is intended for use in years 1 to 6.

What is the Core Knowledge Sequence UK?

The Core Knowledge Sequence UK is a year-by-year outline of the specific, fundamental content and skills to be taught in Years 1 to 6 in the arts, humanities and sciences. Learn more about the content of the curriculum here.

How does the Core Knowledge Sequence UK fit in with the National Curriculum?

The Core Knowledge Sequence UK is a springboard for learning in English, maths, science, history and geography, music and visual arts. It can be incorporated into the framework of a school following the National Curriculum to provide a coherent, cumulative and knowledge-rich foundation. The sequence offers specific guidelines to teach knowledge that can reasonably be expected to make up about half of any school's curriculum, leaving ample room for local requirements and emphases.

How has the content of the Core Knowledge Sequence UK been decided?

The content of the sequence has been adapted from the American Core Knowledge Sequence. This adaptation has drawn on a broad panel of teachers and subject specialists. In many cases, particularly in maths and science, our adaptation differs little from the content and skills in the American version—because knowledge is universal. The most significant change is the replacement of American history and geography with British history and geography. American history is incorporated into the world history sections. This replacement necessitated further changes: for example, in Year 1, we've replaced two traditional American tales with two British ones, the legend of 'Saint George and the Dragon' and 'King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table'. Some of the artwork in the visual arts section has also changed to reflect masterpieces exhibited in galleries across the UK and Ireland.

Is Core Knowledge UK the basis for a topic-based curriculum?

The Core Knowledge UK approach is not taught by a thematic or topic-based approach but, rather, offers subject-specific content with meaningful cross-curricular links. For example, for many years British primary schools have taught history through topics, such as Florence Nightingale, Henry VIII and his six wives and the Great Fire of London. These topics are all interesting, and have an obvious appeal to children, but their popularity often results in children going over this material several times in the course of their school career, whilst not covering other very important areas. By treating history, for example, as a series of topic projects, there is a danger that children never learn the sequence of events in history which makes it clear to them how one thing has led to another, and how each generation builds on the experiences of those who have gone before them. As we don't specify how to deliver Core Knowledge UK in lessons, there is scope for teachers to make links between the content where they see fit.

What kind of schools can use Core Knowledge UK?

The Core Knowledge Sequence UK can be used in any primary school. It ensures that all pupils establish a coherent foundation in the core subjects from which knowledge can build cumulatively. The sequence provides an effective practical solution to reduce educational inequalities.

How much does it cost to set up a Core Knowledge UK curriculum?

There are relatively few costs involved in implementing the Core Knowledge curriculum. The complete Core Knowledge Sequence UK is available to download free of charge from this website, as are supporting resources for parents and teachers. Core Knowledge UK is supporting pioneering pilot schools that are using and developing the Core Knowledge curriculum. If you would like to find out more about using Core Knowledge, please read our advice to schools and get in touch.

Do schools lose the power to make decisions about their curriculum if they use Core Knowledge UK?

The Core Knowledge Sequence UK is not an outline of a whole of the school curriculum; rather, it offers explicit guidelines that can reasonably expect to make up about half of a school's curriculum, leaving sufficient room for statutory requirements and local emphases. The sequence is not prescriptive in its implementation, giving teachers the freedom to explore different ways of teaching the key skills and content.

How is Core Knowledge UK assessed?

We believe schools need to develop their own assessment methods that are tailored to their pupils' needs and their school's targets. We do not offer specific assessment materials but, rather, we give schools the freedom to decide on this for themselves. As Core Knowledge UK is in line with the National Curriculum, children will be covering all required areas, and much more!

How do we start using Core Knowledge UK?

Parents and home educators can find Core Knowledge UK materials on this website and can purchase books from the What Your Child Needs to Know series. Schools can begin implementation of the sequence in three ways: implementation can begin in Year 1 and build year-on-year; it can be implemented in three stages with one third of the sequence implemented each year over three years; or the curriculum can be implemented across all school years at once. Each of these approaches have proven effective in schools in America, and Core Knowledge UK can support any of these routes to achieving 100% implementation of the sequence in your school.