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Implementing the new curriculum

Created on 19 April 2013 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 25 September 2013 by ncetm_administrator


Implementing the new curriculum


How do I start putting a new curriculum in place in my school? Is the new National Curriculum for mathematics very different from the current one? Do I need to tweak my schemes of work? How will the focus on arithmetic proficiency change what I do? What impact will a focus on multi-representational approaches to algebra have? How do I go about improving practice in the classrooms and ensuring all my learners make good progress? Do I need to think more about the pedagogy involved in balancing conceptual understanding with arithmetic fluency?

These are some of the questions that mathematics subject leaders and all those involved in implementing a new curriculum in schools will be asking themselves. This Essentials package will give you some ideas and advice to get you started.


An effective way to introduce change is to collaborate. This can be within school and department teams, or more widely. Make use of local mathematics leader networks, including teaching schools and cluster groups.

As a subject leader you may find the Excellence in Mathematics Leadership (EiML) resources a good place for suggestions on how to develop expertise in your own leadership. The package supporting colleagues in my primary school has further suggestions.

For secondary schools the CPD workshop Planning for progression is a good starting point when setting up a scheme of work.

The developing a scheme of work; microsite has resources and ideas suitable for all key stages.

Our suite of videos to support the teaching of key ideas from the new KS1 and 2 National Curriculum programme of study are available to be viewed and downloaded.

The Mathematics Matters report gives a summary of the essentials of “good” mathematics teaching and some interesting case studies highlighting possible approaches.

Discussion Point

Balancing conceptual understanding with written proficiency is one of the bedrocks of mathematics, and a focus throughout the Mathematics Made to Measure report. Here is one teacher’s perspective from an article in our secondary magazine. This Mathemapedia article might be a useful starting point for developing schemes of work that focus on ensuring confidence and understanding. Another source of ideas would be the Mathematics to Share feature on errors and misconceptions.

The National Centre’s suite of videos to support the implementation of the new National Curriculum can be seen here. These are accompanied by a supporting powerpoint that can be used to field discussions in a staff meeting.

Intervention strategies for learners who are not achieving the levels we expect of them are an important tool, the microsite Supporting teachers to implement effective mathematics has useful case studies and suggestions for primary and secondary teachers.

In the new curriculum, the use of calculators is discouraged at Key Stage 1, and there is no longer a calculator paper in the end of Key Stage 2 tests, but there are still times when it might be appropriate to use a calculator and so it is important to introduce children to efficient ways of using them. This Maths to Share feature from the Primary Magazine refers to guidance from 2006, but the ideas are still valid.

This paper on the use of dialogue to promote conceptual understanding highlights the importance of good questioning in the classroom, it not only gives a discussion point but something to consider when planning.

As the new curriculum will be affecting Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 3 from September 2014, there are going to be implications for the transition process between Key Stages. Schools are going to want to keep high achievement rates with the new assessments but with pupils coming from the previous curriculum structure there are going to be gaps. Close links with feeder and partner schools will be more important than ever before. This Departmental Workshop on developing links with primary schools is a good starting point.

“Pupils should make connections across mathematical ideas to develop fluency, mathematical reasoning and competence in solving increasingly complicated problems”
—The National Curriculum in England, Framework document for consultation, Department for Education, February 2013

A key aim for teachers and schools is to ensure that schemes of work identify the bigger picture, encouraging learners to link skills and concepts from different areas of mathematics. Will your scheme of work promote this? This article describes a lesson with ratio, fractions and circles that secondary teachers might find interesting.

Explore a piece of mathematics

Strategies for developing subject knowledge in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are in these Maths to share articles from the Primary Magazine. A firm understanding of place value is essential for any work with number.

The Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 content has an increased emphasis on teaching number skills; balancing conceptual understanding with arithmetic proficiency is essential. Cottage cheese is a nice introduction to work with fractions, decimals and percentages.

The Key Stage 2 curriculum now includes specific reference to improving algebra skills in Year 6. This Maths to Share feature from the Primary Magazine will encourage some discussion around this. When introducing and working with Roman Numerals a bit of history is often invaluable to give a context.

Specific reference is made to naming parts of circles; this was used to effect when exploring the lifeboat station in Plymouth

Approaches to teaching some of the topics that might not have been taught at Key Stage 3 are developed in the departmental workshops: surds, proportional reasoning quadratic functions, expanding binomials, quadratic and other higher order sequences, use of set theory and Venn diagrams, exponential and reciprocal graphs, and constructing equations. Multi-representational approaches to algebra are discussed in this Mathemapedia entry.

For some examples of modelling real life situations in a mathematical context see Star trekking, Maths + sport, tea cup ride.

Learning from each other

There are National Curriculum discussion threads on the primary and secondary forums

THE NCETM magazines are a great starting point for ideas and discussions on all aspects of mathematics teaching. The archives have all the copies and as a bonus the Primary Magazine essentials package will help you find just what you are looking for. A great resource to look at is how to use a counting stick – the video on 17 times tables provides a challenge for all!

Courses and Networks

NCETM Communities and forum are great places to share ideas with like minded people. These ones might be of particular interest when adapting your curriculum offer.

Early Years Forum (children from 0–8), Primary Forum, Secondary Forum and of course the Maths Cafe.

The NCETM is providing a free support programme for those leading professional development in primary and secondary schools. The Professional Development Lead Support Programme will contribute to the implementation of the new National Curriculum.

There are a number of providers who have taken part in the NCETM's Professional Development Lead Support Programme. You can find these in the NCETM Professional Development Directory with a purple rosette. CPD providers on this programme have been equipped to support schools to implement the key areas of the new National Curriculum.

Courses are advertised through the Professional Development Calendar. Follow these links for Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3.

Personal Learning

The NCETM has developed a wide range of Self Evaluation Tools for teachers of all age groups. These cover the curriculum content and pedagogy appropriate to the current National Curriculum and are being updated to include changes in the curriculum for 2014

Primary colleagues may want to consider developing subject knowledge and pedagogy further by gaining a Maths Specialist Teacher (MaST) qualification. There are also several microsites that have further ideas and case studies. For example, Building a Picture of Professional Development; use of ICT and digital technologies; Masters Level support; Mathematics resources for Teachers in Training; Professional Learning – Lesson Study and Teachers Talking Theory: In Action.



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11 June 2018 11:27
You can find out more about the English national curriculum for primary maths here: https://www.ncetm.org.uk/resources/41211
10 June 2018 18:58
Hi where can i get primary curriculum ?
17 June 2014 14:36
Since the Programmes of Study for Key Stage 3 (unlike those for Key Stages 1 and 2) are not broken down into year groups, it is not as straightforward to produce a progression map that suggests a chronological order for teaching within each topic area. We are currently reviewing how we can augment the existing KS3-related resources. Please watch the News section of our website for announcements.
16 June 2014 09:56
The progression maps for KS1 and 2 are fantastic. Can I find a similar format for KS3 or will it just remain as the overview?
By kateyjane83
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10 March 2014 17:03
When available, we will outline Key Stage 3 in the Resource Tool at: https://www.ncetm.org.uk/resources/41211
10 March 2014 16:31
Where can I find the new KS3 curriculum outlined?
By elft26
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