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Maths curriculum in primary schools in England

(38 Posts)
mathsquestion Mon 15-Jun-09 22:24:01


After hearing some horror stories about the level of maths teaching in primary schools in England (3 years to learn time tables, no operations with fractions until secondary, etc.), I feel I need to do my homework before deciding on my son's school (English or following my home country's curriculum). We live in London.

Could somebody please direct me to some web page where I can check what is covered in the maths curriculum of state schools in England each year?

Thanks a lot for your help

lilac21 Mon 15-Jun-09 22:29:26

You need to look for the Primary Framework on either Teachernet or the DCSF website, it will all be there.

In defence of primary teachers, the maths curriculum is HUGE and and it certainly isn't true they don't do fractions - my year twos know what halves and quarters are.

Goblinchild Mon 15-Jun-09 22:30:30

mathsquestion Wed 17-Jun-09 00:28:29

Thanks a lot for your replies. It's good to know that they actually do fractions, it goes to show that you can't trust hearsay.

seeker Wed 17-Jun-09 08:05:04

I have a year 3 in an ordinary state primary, and he's doing fractions. He also knows most of his tables (My dd at the same school didn't at this age but that wasn't the schools's fault!)

mimsum Wed 17-Jun-09 09:27:16

of course they do fractions! they don't as a rule do algebra before secondary, but more able children may well start as part of extension work

The learning of times tables is certainly becoming more rigourous. My very bright ds1 left y5 of his state primary without knowing his times tables by heart, so he was having to work each separate sum out every time he came across them. Luckily his mental maths is very good, so for him it was as quick as knowing them by heart, but it must have been hard for children who struggle with calculations. My middle child's in y4 and he's had much more emphasis on learning times tables, and has been tested on them much more frequently.

Goblinchild Wed 17-Jun-09 09:52:26

'It's good to know that they actually do fractions, it goes to show that you can't trust hearsay.'

But it's so much more exciting to believe snippets and schoolgate chat, and to mix it together with tabloid articles. grin
And urban legends spread so much faster than facts.

Goblinchild Wed 17-Jun-09 09:54:30

I do algebra with Y3/4
3x = 21 what is x?
3x + 10 = 22
We even venture into brackets!

seeker Wed 17-Jun-09 13:23:55

My ds does algebra too - but the call it "missing numbers"

singersgirl Wed 17-Jun-09 13:54:45

I think they don't do operations with fractions - they may add and subtract fractions, but I don't think they multiply or divide them until Y7. DS2 is Y3 and knows all his tables up to 12 x 12. DS1 didn't and we had to teach them rigorously in Y5.

mummyrex Wed 17-Jun-09 17:33:01

I am following the curriculum used by the top independant schools with my children which I got from here
They go to a regular state school and we are just doing it after-school. They love it and are doing much better at school too.

Independent schools don't have to follow the National Curriculum and tend to be much more academic.

seeker Wed 17-Jun-09 18:04:17

Which top independent school is that, mummyrex?

mummyrex Wed 17-Jun-09 19:59:58

Sorry seeker, I don't have a list of the names. Never having been in the money and not having grown up here it is not a scene I have ever got into. All I can say is I first came across them overseas where they were being used by some of the international schools in the region (S E Asia). Having been educated at one myself I can vouch for the fact that they are very academic compared to the average state school. Anyway, I got chatting to the Head of Maths at one school and he had introduced them having used them in the UK. They used them in preference to UK National Curriculum courses but also to locally available Singapore style textbooks. I also saw them reccommended by John Clare, late of The Telegraph whose opinion I respect (he said something like using them was as close you could get to sending your kids to a top prep school without actually sending them). PLUS, to ice the cake for me, a couple of home-schooling friends of mine in the US started using them and said they were very home-ed friendly.

As regards Independent Schools, the textbooks are all endorsed by the Independent Schools Examinations Board and they don't seem to reccommend much else!

But, at the end of the day it is about if you and your kids get on with them, which we do.

trickerg Wed 17-Jun-09 22:21:30

That will give you the whole primary curriculum for state schools in England. I think you'll find it quite comprehensive. I dread to think who's been giving you these cock and bull stories.....

mathsquestion Wed 17-Jun-09 22:35:12

Thanks again for all the info, it's really useful. It was actually a current university lecturer who used to teach maths in a secondary school the one who scared with the "they arrive at 13 without having done fractions" story.

trickerg Wed 17-Jun-09 22:43:23

Oh, and you'll notice that they do fractions from Y1 onwards in Block E!! wink

seeker Wed 17-Jun-09 23:57:09

And they don't arrive in secondary school at 13 either - so i would take anything else he's told you with a pinch of salt!

mummyrex Thu 18-Jun-09 09:35:24

Hi seeker, it depends on the area, some places still have a 3 tier system with, junior, middle and then secondary schools where children do start secondary school at 13.

seeker Thu 18-Jun-09 16:51:15

Stand corrected - sorry!

What's the big deal with fractions anyway?

scienceteacher Thu 18-Jun-09 19:50:24

I don't think there is much wrong with the mathematics curriculum. The problem is that they aren't rigorous enough. They do two or three examples and then move on, so it is no surprise that many kids are left behind.

When I was at school, it was a case of doing 50 problems in class and another 50 for homework. You got it, and were hungry for more challenging problems. Now it is as we are afraid to give the children too much.
They typical KS1 state school homework of collecting a bunch of coins to arrange them on the worksheet actually makes me quite cross. Thankfully, I have rescued my children from that degrading level of work and they get proper sums to work on.

trickerg Thu 18-Jun-09 20:11:33

I agree with that to a certain extent, scienceteacher. This is why we set from Y2 (tut, tut, chorus all!!!).

We find that the spiralling curriculum (5-10 days on one strand, then move on) works for the higher ability children. The children who still haven't grasped basic concepts need to concentrate for longer on the basics and not learn so many alternative methods, as they get confused.

At the end of the year, we ensure that both sets have covered all blocks. However, the top set will have covered it with greater breath and extension work, because of their broader understanding and ability to link ideas.

Feenie Thu 18-Jun-09 20:45:13

"...they get proper sums to work on."
Just addition then, science teacher? grin

Goblinchild Thu 18-Jun-09 20:52:00

Ah yes, I thought the same. We call them calculations you know.
Sometimes they are even inverse calculations.

Goblinchild Thu 18-Jun-09 20:53:38

Hmm. I haven't worked out how to show stage directions on this site yet.

Feenie Thu 18-Jun-09 20:54:47


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