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Education Act 2002


Sections 76 and 77

215.This Part re-enacts sections 350 to 368 of the EA 96 in their application to England, and thereby makes separate provision for a National Curriculum for England.

Section 76: Interpretation of Part 6

216.This lists the definitions of terms used later in the Chapter. They are mainly taken from the EA 96 except for:

  • ‘Foundation stage’, which was a new stage introduced on a non-statutory basis in September 2000. It covers the period from age three to the end of the reception year in primary school. The foundation stage is organised in six areas of learning with early learning goals, which set out what most children are expected to achieve by the end of the foundation stage. The foundation stage is defined as a stage of the National Curriculum, but not as a key stage.

  • ‘Maintained nursery school’, which is a school maintained by the LEA used mainly or wholly for the purpose of providing education for children who have attained the age of two but are under compulsory school age. It does not include a special school.

  • ‘Programmes of study’, where the definition has been changed to mean the skills and processes which are required to be taught to pupils by the end of a key stage rather than during a key stage. This removes an implicit barrier in the legislation that pupils should only be taught material from the programme of study for their chronological age, making it clearer that teachers can allow pupils to proceed at a faster pace. Programmes of study are defined only in relation to key stages not the foundation stage.

Section 77: Meaning of ‘nursery education’ and related expressions

217.The inclusion of the foundation stage broadens the definition of the National Curriculum to include children below compulsory school age.

218.This section defines “nursery education” as education suitable for children below compulsory school age and defines “funded nursery education” as that provided by maintained schools, maintained nursery schools or by other providers who are receiving public funding to provide early years education.

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