Curriculum 2014 – overview of the draft Maths programme of study

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By John Dabellteacher, writer and Ofsted-trained inspector

We look at some of the curriculum changes included in the draft maths programme of study.

2014 National Curriculum logo

The new overhauled national curriculum will be with us soon. Like it or lump it, by September 2014 we’ll be face to face. What will we find inside?

After a pre-consultation process the draft Programmes of Study (PoS) for all subjects at Key Stages 1-3 were formally published in February 2013. This consultation closed in April and now we wait.

The government has stated that the new curriculum embodies a shift in what pupils and teachers are expected to achieve particularly in the big three core subjects. Introducing harder concepts earlier in children’s school lives will help raise the bar. At the primary level, the aim is to help pupils progress to being secondary-ready by engaging in more challenging study supporting greater breadth and depth of learning.

Exciting, challenging, significant change is clearly on the way and the shift for primary mathematics in terms of coverage, content and expectation is far-reaching. So, what have been the key changes in the draft PoS for maths?

In, out, shake it all about

Let’s do the maths. The draft has three overall aims: that pupils should develop fluency, reason mathematically, and be able to solve problems. These aims are followed by the significance of spoken language, and the importance of justification, argument and proof. This is all very encouraging. But what’s in and what’s out?

In summary, the draft POS:
  • greatly increases the pace of teaching and learning with many topics being introduced earlier and taught faster. So from a Ford Focus we go to a Bugatti Veyron.
  • increases the emphasis on written and mental calculation with more work on fractions and decimals. We now get the addition and subtraction of fractions, which was something pupils wouldn’t encounter until their secondary career.
  • emphasises the importance of rote-learning in relation to number facts and underlying principles.
  • states calculators should not be used until pupils’ mental and written methods have been mastered, and not until the end of KS2.
  • focuses on fewer topics, but has more content going into each topic in greater depth.
  • throws levels of achievement out of the window. Children will be expected to master a bank of specifically age-related skills.
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