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Mathematics KS3 Curriculum FAQs

What changes will the new National Curriculum require?

Q: What's different?

A: The old Framework has gone, and there will no longer be prescribed or recommended content for particular years. Instead, there will be just one mass of content that you will need to cover during KS3. The spiral curriculum has gone, with a greater emphasis on learning a topic once every year and learning it well. Levels have been removed and are not being replaced, meaning that schools must devise their own assessment systems. As the aim is to give all students access to the same curriculum, there is no prescribed differentiation. Some KS3 topics have moved down into KS2 (particularly calculation/arithmetic skills and introduction to algebra), while a few new topics have come in, for example Sets. As a result, the curriculum is more demanding. There is less study made of statistics and a new emphasis on fluency, reasoning (including proportional reasoning), problem-solving, and arithmetic.

What about levels?

Q: So what are we supposed to do about levels?

A: Levels have been removed and are not being replaced. Schools will therefore have to devise their own assessment systems. Any systems devised must be as good as the previous system and schools must be able to demonstrate visible progress for all their students.

What will happen to my Year 7s?

Q: Are my Year 7s going to be better at maths?

A: Not necessarily, and probably not at the start since the announcement that in 2014-15, Year 6 students would follow the current National Curriculum, so it’s going to take a while to filter up into Year 7. Ultimately there will probably be more of a mix of prior experience and competence in arithmetic and algebra so it will be especially important to test your students' incoming knowledge on entry into Year 7. Then Year 7 itself should consolidate and extend their upper KS2 learning.

How can I find out what I should teach, and when?

Q: How will I know what to teach and when?

A: The framework has gone, and with it the old ‘sample medium-term plans’. Schools must now devise their own schemes of work and teaching.

When do the new changes come into effect?

Q: When do I need to start delivering the new National Curriculum?

A: The revised National Curriculum will come into effect in September 2014. The current curriculum, however,no longer applies from September 2013. This gives you the chance to start adapting your schemes of work in preparation for next year. You could start teaching the new curriculum now if you wish to give your students a smoother transition to GCSE.

What about teaching materials?

Q: Will I need to buy new resources?

A: Most of the topics are the same, but it is more demanding and there are a few new topics. It’s mainly the process skills that are different – fluency, reasoning and problem-solving. Past resources have tended to focus on fluency (used to be called ‘practice’), so new resources that include problem-solving should be welcome. Students will particularly hit the problem-solving when they come to do GCSE, as the emphasis here is increased.