The new national curriculum will begin to be implemented in September 2014. Ahead of the changes, TES Connect’s maths adviser Craig Barton has put together this short guide to what’s changing for primary teachers, along with some resources to help you make the transition.


General changes to the maths curriculum


  • There is higher expectation overall – pupils will be benchmarked against age-related expectations in other nations.
  • Progression shown year-by-year – but it will be for teachers to set out their year-by-year approach in their school curriculum.
  • Conceptual development of number has been addressed in detail, especially in relation to arithmetic and proportionality.
  • There are fewer things in more depth in primary, so data has less prominence and probability will not be introduced till Key Stage 3.
  • All pupils will be expected to build firm foundations and not be accelerated to content expected in secondary school.


The new maths curriculum changes – in detail


  • There are earlier and more challenging requirements for multiplication tables, which have been increased to 12x12.
  • The curriculum has clear expectations around written methods in addition to mental methods.
  • There is an earlier and more challenging requirement for fractions and decimals.
  • There is an increased requirement for pupils to use formulae for volume and to calculate the area of shapes other than squares and rectangles.
  • Probability has been removed from the primary curriculum.
  • There is an increased requirement for understanding of proportional reasoning – for example through volume and calculations with fractions.
  • Financial education has been reinforced, with a renewed emphasis on essential numeracy skills, using money and working with percentages.
  • The curriculum has a strong steer that the use of calculators should be restricted until the later years of primary.
  • There is a greater emphasis on the use of large numbers, algebra, ratio and proportion at an   earlier age than in the current documentation. Expectations for learning ratio and proportion have been accelerated since the initial draft.
  • Roman numerals have been introduced in the Year 3 curriculum.
  • There is a focus on counting beyond whole numbers, eg, decimals, fractions.
  • Abstract symbols have been introduced in Year 1.
  • Data handling has decreased, but the curriculum makes more reference to interpretation of data.
  • To understand expectations in Years 5 and 6, equivalent objectives in the primary framework would need to be drawn from Years 7, 8 and 9.
Relevant resources
Still have questions about the new curriculum? Join us on Monday 10 March between 7 and 8pm for our live chat with DfE minister Liz Truss. You can also discuss the finer points of the new curriculum with the DfE's Stephen Rogers on Thursday 13 March between 6 and 7pm.