An Overview of Intermediate Phase Subjects in South Africa

Intermediate Phase, comprising grades 4 to 6, provides a crucial foundation for learners transitioning from the Foundation Phase. In this phase, students explore more complex concepts, delve into new subject areas, and refine their skills like language proficiency, numeracy, and critical thinking. This article concisely summarises each subject taught during the Intermediate Phase in South Africa.

Home Language and First Additional Language

Learners are required to take at least one home language, which could be English or Afrikaans. This subject seeks to enhance the student’s proficiency in their primary language, focusing on reading comprehension, writing, oral communication, and language structure.

Alongside this, learners are also expected to study a second language at either Home Language or First Additional Language level. This could be English, Afrikaans, or a mother tongue language such as isiZulu or isiXhosa. The second language study broadens learners’ linguistic repertoire and exposes them to diverse cultures and perspectives.


The Mathematics curriculum extends the mathematical skills acquired in the Foundation Phase. Learners are introduced to more complex mathematical concepts and problem-solving strategies. Topics covered include number sense, geometry, data handling, measurement, and algebraic expressions.

Natural Sciences and Technology

In Natural Sciences and Technology, learners explore the natural world and develop a foundational understanding of critical scientific and technological concepts. This subject is split into two sections. The natural sciences section focuses on life and living, matter and materials, energy and change, and earth and beyond. The technology section introduces learners to technological processes, products, and systems.

Social Sciences

The Social Sciences curriculum is divided into History and Geography. Through the study of History, learners are introduced to the concepts of historical time and chronology, cause and effect, continuity and change, and historical interpretation. In Geography, they learn about places’ physical and human characteristics, spatial relationships, and how people interact with their environment.

Life Skills

Life Skills is an important part of the curriculum that covers many vital competencies. This subject helps learners to develop social, personal, intellectual, emotional, and physical skills. It includes creative arts, physical education, health and environmental awareness, personal and social well-being, and beginning knowledge.

Coding and Robotics

A recent addition to the Intermediate Phase curriculum is the subject of Coding and Robotics, currently undergoing pilots in some schools. This subject is designed to equip learners with the skills necessary to thrive in the digital age. It introduces learners to the basic concepts of coding, computational thinking, and robotics, fostering problem-solving skills, creativity, and digital literacy.

The Intermediate Phase subjects in South Africa are designed to provide a balanced, comprehensive education that equips learners with the necessary skills and knowledge for their future academic journey. These subjects contribute to a learner’s intellectual, social, and emotional development, laying a solid foundation for lifelong learning.