Friday, 14 December 2012

Changes to the Primary Maths Curriculum

When and how is the curriculum changing?
In June 2012, the Education Secretary set out the draft Primary National Curriculum Programmes of Study for English, Maths and Science. The next draft is expected for consultation in early 2013, including details about how current levels of achievement will be replaced with the expectation that children master age-related concepts and skills in the new curriculum. The final version is due in schools by September 2013, with statutory implementation beginning in September 2014. The new Programmes of Study are clearly more demanding than the existing National Curriculum, so schools need to be aware of the changes.

What are the aims of the Programme of Study for Maths?
The draft National Curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:
become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics
can solve problems by applying their mathematics
can reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry.

How will the curriculum be organised?
The Attainment Targets of the current National Curriculum (2000) and the strands of the Primary National Strategy Mathematics Framework (2006) will be replaced and the 2014 Programme of Study for Mathematics will be structured and sequenced under the following domains, with content arranged into yearly blocks which children will be expected to master.

What are the key differences?
Overall, the levels of expectations have been raised, especially in relation to number and recall of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division number facts. A strong emphasis has been placed on mental and written calculation of whole numbers, decimals and fractions. Many mathematics topics are now introduced at an earlier stage and taught at an accelerated pace. This is especially the case in Key Stage 1 where, at the end of Year 1, children will be expected to recall and use number bonds and related subtraction facts within 20. Some new topics have also been introduced, such as Roman numerals, identifying parts of a circle, recognising binary numerals and a more formal introduction to algebra in Year 6.

How can schools get ready for 2013–2014?
In preparation for 2013–2014, I would strongly advise schools to:
become familiar with the draft Programme of Study for Maths and updates to follow
begin to look at any differences between current levels/standards and expected levels/standards
identify two or three priorities for your school and begin to implement these
refocus teachers, support staff, children and parents on the importance of memorizing key mathematical facts and, in particular, knowing by heart the:
- addition and subtraction number facts to 5, 10 and 20
- times-tables and related division facts up to 12 x 12
- product of a multiple of 10 and 100 and a 1-digit number, e.g. 40 x 7, 600 x 9.

Where can schools find more information?

Keep up to date with the new Primary National Curriculum:

Download reports related to this article:
DFE–00135–2011 (report of the Expert Panel)
DFE–RR178 (analysis of curricula of high-performing jurisdictions worldwide)
DFE–00136–2011 (responses to the call for evidence)

Peter Clarke
Series editor, Collins New Primary Maths

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