National Curriculum: Mathematics

The National Curriculum for Mathematics was introduced into England, Wales and Northern Ireland as a nationwide curriculum for primary and secondary state schools following the Education Reform Act 1988. The basis of the curriculum and its associated testing was to standardise the content taught across schools in order to raise standards of attainment in mathematics. The National Curriculum (NC) went hand-in-hand with the development of national tests (SATs) at the end of the Key Stages. The NC introduced Programmes of Study (PoS), Attainment Targets (AT) levels and Statements of Attainment (SoA). Following the Cockcroft committee recommendations (Mathematics Counts), Using and Applying Mathematics was a significant inclusion in the curriculum through ATs 1 and 9 which included using mathematics in practical tasks, in real life problems and to investigating within mathematics itself. The National Curriculum required all schools to address the issue of teaching solely for the acquisition of knowledge and skills in isolation from the application of mathematics, and to develop a teaching and learning approach in which the uses and applications of mathematics permeate and influence all work in mathematics. This was a major undertaking for schools, and perhaps the single most significant challenge for the teaching of mathematics required by the National Curriculum in its aim of raising standards for all students. The National Curriculum required students to develop a range of methods for calculating - from mental methods through to the use of electronic calculators. In order to progress through the levels, students at every stage were to be encouraged to develop their own methods for doing calculations, a feature which was developed further through the Numeracy project and the Framework for Teaching Mathematics. Although Mathematics in the National Curriculum underwent a number of revisions, the mathematical content changed very little and kept assessment as a major constituent. To enable teachers to make sense of the new curriculum, non-statutory guidance and training materials were published to go alongside training for all teachers.



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Mathematics from 5 to 16: Responses to Curriculum Matters 3 1987

A resource from the National Curriculum Council (NCC). This booklet from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate (HMI) was a response to Mathematics from 5 to 16 1985, which was the third in a series intended to stimulate discussion about the curriculum as a whole and about...

Mathematics: Non-Statutory Guidance

The National Curriculum Council (NCC) published non-statutory guidance to support the teaching of mathematics in the National Curriculum in 1989, and again in 1991, to accompany the first revision of the National Curriculum.


National Curriculum Council Consultation Report 1991

A report from the National Curriculum Council (NCC). In January 1991 the Secretary of State for Education and Science announced an urgent review of the attainment targets in mathematics because:
• the structure of the 14 targets was proving an obstacle to...

Numeracy Matters 1998

A resource from the National Curriculum Council (NCC). One of the first acts of the new Labour government was to announce national targets for literacy and numeracy, these were for 75 per cent of 11 year olds to achieve the standards expected for their age in mathematics by 2002.

The Numeracy Task Force was...