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22nd April 2014 - Numeracy in the revised curriculum: How does it add up?

Catch Up Blog

Q: If you had 8 apples in one hand and 5 apples in the other, what would you have?
A: Really big hands!

There are quite a few changes to Numeracy in the Revised Primary Curriculum and as these are deliberately aimed at raising the bar for pupils who do not find mathematics difficult (think PISA results), they could present a real challenge to those pupils who struggle with numeracy (and the adults trying to help them).

Basically, the revised curriculum is slightly less broad and a bit deeper (and there are a few surprises!).

The Programme of Study for Mathematics in the Revised Curriculum is set out on a year-by-year basis and although schools have some flexibility about when they teach content within each Key Stage, they do have to specify the curriculum for each year (and put this online for parents, governors and Ofsted).

This could be good news from the SENCO’s point of view as it could help to more readily identify pupils who are slipping behind age-related expectations.

So what’s gone in Key Stage 1?

Year 1

  • statistics

  • specific requirement to describe patterns

  • specific requirement to describe ways of solving problems or explain choices

Year 2

  • rounding two digit numbers to the nearest 10

  • specific requirement for halving/doubling

  • using lists, tables, diagrams to sort objects

What’s new you have to do?

Year 1

  • count and write numerals up to 100 (compared with 20 in the ‘old’ curriculum)

  • write numbers in words up to twenty

  • know number bonds to 20 (currently 10)

  • identify and record the number sentences involved in a problem

  • emphasis on use of vocabulary such as equal, more than, less than, fewer

Year 2

  • solving problems with subtraction

  • finding/writing fractions of quantity, eg, ⅓…“ ¼ ¾

  • adding two two-digit numbers

  • adding three one-digit numbers

  • demonstrating commutativity of addition and multiplication

What's new in Key Stage 2?

  • increasingly complex decimals and fractions

  • converting those fractions to decimals, eg, ⅜ = 0.375 (and back again!)

  • knowing the times tables up to x12

  • greater emphasis on ‘derived facts’ ie, keeping knowledge ‘on the boil’ through varied and repeated practice

  • Roman numerals have been introduced in the Year 3 curriculum

  • doing long division (in Year 6)

  • a particular emphasis on ‘multi-step’ problems with addition and subtraction (using concrete and pictorial representations)

  • more emphasis on time and money

  • emphasis on ‘mental fluency’

  • 'partitioning’ numbers in different ways, eg, 23 = 20 +3 and 23 = 10 + 13

  • the use of efficient written methods in the four mathematical operations

  • There is an emphasis on applying mathematical concepts across a range of situations– not seeing ‘using and applying’ as a separate strand

What won’t you do in Key Stage 2?

  • Calculators are banned in the KS2 SATs

  • Probability has been removed

Otherwise, it’s pretty much ‘business as usual’ at Key Stage 2.

So what are the implications for Catch Up®?

  • The emphasis on derived facts is one of the 10 numeracy components in Catch Up® Numeracy and the Catch Up® sessions are the ideal opportunity to offer varied and repeated practice

  • The endorsement of using ‘concrete and pictorial representations’ fits well with the Catch Up® model, where objects, fans, cards etc are used to support understanding

  • A key element in Catch Up® sessions is helping pupils to partition numbers in different ways

  • As for embedding the use and application of mathematical knowledge – that’s what underpins every Catch Up® Numeracy session

The most important message is: if the bar has been raised by the revised curriculum then it’s even more important that all pupils are helped to grasp the basics, because without a solid foundation in the 10 components of numeracy no progress can be made. Pupils who are anxious about mathematics will need the reassurance of working at their own point of learning, one-to-one with an adult away from the competition within the classroom. Once misconceptions and barriers to learning are removed, the pupil will be able to achieve age-related expectations in mathematics.

Dee Reid, Catch Up® Consultant and Trainer

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