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Mathematics in the National Curriculum: facts and guidance

Created on 03 June 2013 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 11 October 2016 by ncetm_administrator


A new National Curriculum, covering Key Stages 1, 2 and 3, began to be introduced in autumn 2014.

Summer 2016 marks the first time when pupils, in Years 2 and 6, will take National Curriculum tests matching the new curriculum.

At the NCETM, we applaud the broad aims embedded in the mathematics curriculum, namely that pupils develop mathematical fluency and can reason mathematically, and we’re very pleased that there is an emphasis on problem-solving throughout, making connections across mathematical ideas and applying knowledge in other subject areas.

Here’s a flavour of how this curriculum differs from the one it replaced.

Primary: higher expectations overall; a greater emphasis on arithmetic, and written (as well as mental) methods; less prominence given to data, with probability removed altogether; a steer away from use of calculators until the later primary years.

Secondary: higher expectations overall, with increased requirements in the areas needed for calculus in the sixth form, for example algebra, geometry, proportion and rates of change.

How the NCETM is helping

Since 2014, the NCETM working with primary teachers, has produced a series of resources and guidance to help teachers and schools implement the new curriculum.

  • Planning: a Resource Tool to help classroom teachers plan lessons in line with the new curriculum
  • Assessment: in summer 2015, the NCETM, working with primary teachers within the Maths Hubs programme, published materials to support teachers in the task of assessing pupils’ mastery of the mathematics National Curriculum
  • Marking: in spring 2016, the NCETM produced guidance of effective marking strategies and evidence-collection consistent with the new curriculum and with a teaching for mastery approach
  • Calculation Guidance: detailed guidance based on experiences and feedback from around 70 schools involved in the England-China project within the Maths Hubs programme
  • Videos: a growing selection of videos showing classroom teaching, where conceptual understanding and swift recall of knowledge are learnt in tandem
  • Supplementary resources on: teaching of fractions; teaching using the bar model; developing a scheme of work, and progression in reasoning
  • Broader support and resources: an Essentials Page to help subject coordinators and heads of department plan for the implementation of the new curriculum across a Key Stage or whole school.

Quick Links

National Curriculum Resource Tool

National Curriculum Videos

Assessment Materials

Assessment Materials

The Bar Model


Scheme of Work

Reasoning Skills

National Curriculum Essentials


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