National Curriculum Schools England


The curriculum for schools in England has been encoded and published online. It was originally created by the Qualifications and Curriculum Agency (QCA) then updated and modified by Becta and QCAand was revised in 2008. both these agencies no longer exist. There are 28 separate vocabularies that make up the whole framework.

This version of the curriculum is likely to be superceded as the Department for Education make changes.

General information

(see Example source guidance)

information to be gathered details
Name / title of source/model and version if applicable National Curriculum - England, 2008
Stakeholder Department for Education - England
URL of source or stakeholder
Orientation (work, education, etc.) Schools education.
Explicit model or implicit model? Explicit
Can organisations have competence?  
Number of people currently affected This is difficult to judge since all pupils and teachers are affected by the curriculum. In practice there are developers and examination boards that rely on the curriculum, though they may also use the paper and online documents available and not just the published LOCs.
Sectors covered School education in England
Groups of actual users Publishers of learning resources and systems have used the framework for tagging or building user interfaces.
Significant use cases The use of the above versions of the National Curriculum was a requirement for Curriculum Online metadata then of Becta's Learning Platforms. With the expected update of the curriculum the LOCs will no longer be valid. How any new LOCs will be managed or related to existing ones is not clear.
The National Strategies produced a large number of online resources that were managed using the National Curriculum vocabularies and new ones.
Significant business cases Changes in policy, the scrapping of Curriculum Online, Becta and the National Strategies mean any business cases are no longer promoted and would have less currency anyway.
Sample materials The National Strategies resources can now be found in the National Archives: [[
]] One thing worth noting is the facetted classification that allowed filtering, using subject, year and key stage for example. Though for resources the same principles could be applied to LOCs, learning opportunities or people.

The Becta online resources, including Curriculum Online documentation, have also been archived.
Key features influencing their uptake of InLOC outputs One reason for suppliers using the National Curriculum LOCs was that there was ELC funding associated with the portal and this required us of the metadata that included LOCs. There was also agreement amongst suppliers to use the National Curriculum as provided as the basis fro tagging and navigation in their platforms.


(see the Features page or the separate pages for each feature)

N Features ? notes
00 More than one model 1 There are 28 separate vocabularies that make top the complete National Curriculum framework.
01 Identifiers 1 Examples: 002916 and Gg-0039. See below for http URI REST service
02 Hierarchy (internal) 1 Provided by standard thesaural relationships (BT, NT)
03 Internal relationships 1 Provided by standard thesaural relationships (RT, USE-UF). Terms are reused across the vocabularies, rather than create new terms and linking using "sameAs".
04 External relationships 1 Some vocabularies refer to terms from other vocabularies, though these are all available from the same service.
05 Conditionality / optionality 0  
06 Text syntax 0  
07 Structured identifiers 1 Some identifiers do have a structure that has been inherited, e.g. Ma for mathematics items. Later identifiers did not.
08 Classification 1 Items can be classified as "objective" or by categories used for application of styles.
09 Level attribution 1  
10 Level definition 1  
11 Context 1  
12 Evidence and assessment 1  
13 Extensions 1  
14 Profiles 0  
15 Adaptation 0  
16 Definition by example 0  
17 Learning resources 0  
18 Learner records 0  
19 Multilinguality 0 The models used are capable of multilinguality but all items are monolingual.

Further information

The National Curriculum consists of 11 subject specific Programmes of 10 Study and Schemes of Work. Some items are classified as "objectives". Items in these vocabularies are mapped to a set of terms from the vocabulary National Curriculum Specifiers. Preferred terms from the National Curriculum Specifiers are used to tag resources and they represent topics covered.

There are also vocabularies for Early Years and Foundation Stage, Attainment Level, Cross Curricular Skills, Teaching Subjects and a Subject Keystage View that defines which subjects are taught at which key stages.

There is a REST API that has several calls that can return, for example, a complete, vocabulary, a term and all its direct relationships, the entire tree above or below a term, the vocabularies the term is used in, the delta or history between any two revisions.

An extension is used to denote the format to be returned, for example skos or vdex.


gives the term 000758 in the vocabulary 1001-000706 with authority QCA in skos format and returns the following:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<rdf:RDF xmlns:rdf="" xmlns:rdfs="" xmlns:skos="" xmlns:dc="" xmlns:dcterms="" >
<skos:ConceptScheme rdf:nodeID="1001-000706">
<dc:description>A view of the QCA programmes of study that are part of the National Curriculum for schools in England from September 2008. The programmes of study have been designed to give teachers a less prescriptive, more flexible framework for teaching, creating more scope to tailor the curriculum to meet the needs of each individual student. Produced by Vocabulary Management Group for Becta and QCA.</dc:description>
<skos:prefLabel>Programme of study Geography 2008</skos:prefLabel>
<xthes:authority xmlns:xthes="">QCA</xthes:authority>
<skos:Concept rdf:nodeID="000758">
<skos:inScheme rdf:nodeID="1001-000706"/>
<studio:curriculumType xmlns:studio="" source="0001-CurriculumType">objective</studio:curriculumType>
<xthes:prefix xmlns:xthes="">g</xthes:prefix>
<xthes:authority xmlns:xthes="">QCA</xthes:authority>
<skos:prefLabel>examine geographical issues in the news</skos:prefLabel>
<studio:guid xmlns:studio="">1001-000758</studio:guid>
<skos:broader rdf:nodeID="000754"/>
<skos:narrower rdf:nodeID="Gg-0001"/>
<skos:narrower rdf:nodeID="Gg-0100"/>

Guidelines requirements