The DfE KS3 maths guidance – what you need to know

Let us show you what the guidance includes, and the resources available to get the most out of it


The DfE KS3 maths guidance – what you need to know

At nearly 300 pages, the 2021 KS3 maths guidance – published by the DfE and written by the NCETM’s Secondary Team – isn’t exactly a short read. But it contains lots of useful information, examples and advice that will help a secondary maths department create a coherent and well-resourced curriculum. Here we give you some insights into what it contains and point you to some resources available to help make sense of it.

Getting started

As a starting point, why not watch our two-minute video? It gives you a brief tour of the guidance and shows you the main sections and how to use them. It’s an easy way to see what’s on offer and where to find what you need.

Classroom-facing materials

The guidance is packed with examples for use in the classroom with your students. In addition, you will find details of difficulties and misconceptions that you are likely to come across when teaching each topic, so you can plan a curriculum which tackles these issues head on.

Our recent feature Using the DfE’s KS3 maths guidance in secondary teaching focuses on percentage change and gives a step-by-step approach to using examples from the guidance in lesson planning.

Creating a curriculum

As well as providing student-facing content, the guidance also supports departments in creating a coherent and connected curriculum. It could be used in a departmental meeting to review your existing curriculum and ensure that it is well-resourced and uses appropriate representations consistently. There is even a sample curriculum framework that you could base yours on or check yours against. Each school term is broken down into topics and sub-topics using an easy-to-follow approach.

Additional materials

If you’d like to hear directly from a teacher starting to use the guidance, listen to our recent podcast episode. A maths lead from a multi-academy trust getting to grips with the guidance talks to Carol Knights, the NCETM Director for Secondary, and one of the authors of the document.

For further supplementary classroom-facing materials, we have created a series of key ideas PowerPoints. They contain activities and professional development stimuli based on the 52 exemplifications found in the guidance.

And don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter to be the first to hear about new resources we publish to complement the guidance. Our recent Week in Focus looked at what the KS3 guidance has to offer. You can find out more by searching #NCETMWeekInFocus on social media.