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  /    /  Developmental Milestones: Key Stage 1

Key Stage 1

What is KS1?

Key Stage 1 is the UK National Curriculum term that refers to primary school years 1 and 2, when pupils are 5 – 7 years old.

Please keep in mind that these milestones are guidelines only, as all children are different and develop at their own pace. Do not be concerned if your child does not perfectly ‘tick all the boxes’ and avoid comparing your child to other children of a similar age. If you are worried that your child’s development is particularly delayed, visit your GP.


  • Children learn to sound and blend unfamiliar printed words quickly and accurately using the phonic knowledge and skills that they have already learned
  • They continue to learn new grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) (a phoneme is the smallest unit of sound and a grapheme is how they are written down) and revise and consolidate those learnt earlier
  • The understanding that the letter(s) on the page represent the sounds in spoken words should underpin pupils’ reading and spelling of all words. This includes common words containing unusual GPCs
  • Children develop the skill of blending the sounds into words for reading and establish the habit of applying this skill whenever they encounter new words
  • Children need to hear, share and discuss a wide range of high-quality books to develop a love of reading and broaden their vocabulary
  • They need to be encouraged to listen and repeat familiar stories and rhymes
  • There needs to be opportunities to discuss new vocabulary



  • Writing develops at a slower rate than reading
  • Children need to encode the sounds they hear in words (spelling skills)
  • They should know the alphabet and distinguish between different spellings for the same sound
  • They need to develop the physical skill needed for handwriting
  • Children need to develop oral vocabulary as well as their ability to understand and use a variety of grammatical structures
  • They need to be given opportunities to say what they are going to write out loud first; they can then start to combine sentences to form short narratives
  • They should be able to use basic punctuation in their writing
  • Count to and across 100, forwards and backwards, beginning with 0 or 1, or from any given number
  • Count, read and write numbers to 100 in numerals; count in multiples of twos, fives and tens
  • Identify one more and one less
  • Identify and represent numbers using objects and pictorial representations, including the number line
  • Use the language of: equal to, more than, less than (fewer), most, least
  • Read and write numbers from 1 to 20 in numerals and words.
  • Work with numbers up to 20 using addition and subtraction
  • Children should begin to solve simple word problems
  • Identify halves and quarters
  • They need to use a range of measures to describe and compare different quantities such as length, mass, capacity/volume, time and money
  • Begin to tell the time – o’clock and half past
  • Children should develop their ability to recognise, describe, draw, compare and sort different shapes (2d and 3D) and use the related vocabulary
  • Know the days of the week and months of the year
  • Identify, name and describe features of plants
  • Identify and name Animals (including Humans)
  • Identify, name and describe properties of Everyday Materials
  • Recognise and describe Seasonal Changes
  • Use a range of materials creatively to design and make products
  • Use drawing, painting and sculpture to develop and share their ideas, experiences and imagination
  • Develop a wide range of art and design techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space
  • Learn about the work of a range of artists, craft makers and designers, describing the differences and similarities between different practices and disciplines, and making links to their own work
  • Understand what algorithms are; how they are implemented as programs on digital devices; and that programs execute by following precise and unambiguous instructions
  • Create and debug simple programs
  • Use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs
  • Use technology purposefully to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content
  • Recognise common uses of information technology beyond school
  • Use technology safely and respectfully, keeping personal information private; identify where to go for help and support when they have concerns about content or contact on the internet or other online technologies


  • Design purposeful, functional, appealing products for themselves and other users based on design criteria
  • Generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through talking, drawing, templates, mock-ups and, where appropriate, information and communication technology



  • Select from and use a range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks (e.g. cutting, shaping, joining and finishing)
  • Select from and use a wide range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their characteristics



  • Explore and evaluate a range of existing products
  • Evaluate ideas and products against design criteria
  • Technical knowledge
  • Build structures, exploring how they can be made stronger, stiffer and more stable
  • Explore and use mechanisms (e.g. levers, sliders, wheels and axles) in their products
  • Use the basic principles of a healthy and varied diet to prepare dishes
  • Understand where food comes from

Locational knowledge

  • Name and locate the world’s seven continents and five oceans
  • Name, locate and identify characteristics of the four countries and capital cities of the United Kingdom and its surrounding seas


Place knowledge

  • Understand geographical similarities and differences through studying the human and physical geography of a small area of the United Kingdom, and of a small area in a contrasting non-European country


Human and physical geography

  • Identify seasonal and daily weather patterns in the United Kingdom and the location of hot and cold areas of the world in relation to the Equator and the North and South Poles
  • Use basic geographical vocabulary to refer to:
    • key physical features, including: beach, cliff, coast, forest, hill, mountain, sea, ocean, river, soil, valley, vegetation, season and weather
    • key human features, including: city, town, village, factory, farm, house, office, port, harbour and shop


Geographical skills and fieldwork

  • Use world maps, atlases and globes to identify the United Kingdom and its countries, as well as the countries, continents and oceans studied at this key stage
  • Use simple compass directions (North, South, East and West) and locational and directional language (e.g. near and far; left and right), to describe the location of features and routes on a map
  • Use aerial photographs and plan perspectives to recognise landmarks and basic human and physical features; devise a simple map; and use and construct basic symbols in a key
  • Use simple fieldwork and observational skills to study the geography of their school and its grounds and the key human and physical features of its surrounding environment
  • Pupils should develop an awareness of the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time
  • They should know where the people and events they study fit within a chronological framework and identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods
  • They should use a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms
  • They should ask and answer questions, choosing and using parts of stories and other sources to show that they know and understand key features of events
  • They should understand some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is represented


Pupils should be taught about:

  • Changes within living memory. Where appropriate, these should be used to reveal aspects of change in national life
  • Events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally (e.g. the Great Fire of London, the first aeroplane flight or events commemorated through festivals or anniversaries)
  • The lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements. Some should be used to compare aspects of life in different periods (e.g. Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria, Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong, William Caxton and Tim Berners-Lee, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and LS Lowry, Rosa Parks and Emily Davison, Mary Seacole and/or Florence Nightingale and Edith Cavell)
  • Significant historical events, people and places in their own locality
  • Use their voices expressively and creatively by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes
  • Play tuned and untuned instruments musically
  • Listen with concentration and understanding to a range of high-quality live and recorded music
  • Experiment with, create, select and combine sounds using the inter-related dimensions of music
  • Master basic movements including running, jumping, throwing and catching, as well as developing balance, agility and co-ordination, and begin to apply these in a range of activities
  • Participate in team games, developing simple tactics for attacking and defending
  • Perform dances using simple movement patterns

Children love to play and this is a great way to support their development and learning. See below for our independently tested and approved toys and apps to support your child’s development at Key Stage 1. 

More Child Development Milestones by Age