As a result, most schools in England tend to have more advanced examinations with small class sizes as opposed to the Scotland schools that are generally characterized by large class sizes and less advanced examinations (Gearon, 2002, p.36). Additionally, the average age range for primary schools in Scotland is between 4 and 12 and this is equivalent of the English reception classes. With regard to the curriculum differences, early education in England follows the strict national curriculum that applies to the states of England, Northern Ireland and Wales. The National curriculum requires the compulsory teaching of subjects such as English, Science, Math, ICT, Geography, Design technology, Physical education and the optional modern foreign languages On the other hand, Scotland is currently in the process of implementing its own model of education curriculum for academic excellence. The educational reform in Scotland is particularly aimed at providing a wide education as well as improving the flexibility and the range of courses being offered in Scottish schools for early learners especially those of the age below 18 years. Consequently the Scottish CfE programme has focused on improving the capacities of the pupils and helping them become successful, confident responsible and effective contributors to the national development. This paper critically discusses the main policy aspect that has resulted in the curriculum differences in early education between England and Scotland. The National Curriculum and the Early Years Foundation Stage act According to Holt and Donnell, (1999, p.78), one of the policies that have significantly shaped the early education across the United Kingdom is the Early Years Foundation Stage act which was passed in 2006 and became effective in 2008. The act not only stipulates a set of welfare requirements to be observed in the early education systems but also specifies some of the learning and development requirements that should be followed by the providers of early education especially to children under the age of compulsory education in the UK. The national learning and development requirements are however applicable to England only and are therefore not observed in the other countries such as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is this policy aspect that has resulted in significant differences in early learning between England and Scotland. England for this case has been able to revise various policies that aim at improving the education sector. Of importance to note is that some of the aspects of the curriculum used in England tend to differ with the ones used in Scotland. Earlier education policies in England such as Early Years Foundation Stage take into consideration an aspect of welfare requirements for the child. In Scotland the polices major on learning and development for children bellow five years that all education institutions have to adhere to as a form of policy to streamline the sector. Learning and development requirements have been majorly emphasized in England as compared to Scotland that majorly majors on the welfare aspects of children in the early stages of learning. All early childhood institutions have to register under the childcare act so as to legally operate and comply with
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