Principles and Purpose of Maths Curriculum

BCCS students develop fluent knowledge, skills and understanding of mathematical methods and concepts.


They acquire, select and apply mathematical techniques to solve problems. They are able to reason mathematically, make deductions and inferences and draw conclusions. It is crucial that they can comprehend, interpret and communicate mathematical information in a variety of forms appropriate to the information and context. These are not just academic subject goals but they are essential life skills for all our learners, whatever their need or prior attainment.


Powerful knowledge in mathematics is not individual skills or topics, but rather the understanding of what mathematics is, and what it tries to do. It is just a language, and we need to demystify it, support our students becoming fluent in its  methods of describing things, albeit abstractly often. This leads to them seeing the interconnectedness of all of its strands, and it becoming one big picture rather than a series of linear steps. This leads to an ability to think logically and evaluate effectively in areas way beyond the classroom and throughout their lives.

Why this, why now?

Our KS3 curriculum is centred around White Rose Maths. The concrete, pictorial , abstract progression within topics supports our learners wide range of needs.  We use manipulatives where it helps learners move from the concrete to the pictorial, and then support their future progress by being able to reference them within the classroom. White Rose is widely used within Primary settings, so, with our broad catchment, this maximises the chances of students experiencing a sense of continuity within the subject. In Year 7 we start with geometry, in all ability classes, as we get to know the students. The accessibility of this topic allows all students the opportunity to feel positive about the subject and to enable our approach to learning to be developed, whatever their prior attainment, or differing needs. This is particularly important as our students come from a high number of Primary Schools and have had a varied prior experience, which may influence prior attainment. By changing the curriculum and not streaming in the first weeks of year 7 the teachers are able to contribute professionally to decisions that will be made on class setting. The choice of geometry also allows for the notion of algebra to be used before we embark fully on that topic area.


Due to our high proportion of SEND students we now start GCSE maths in year 9. Although this does not significantly influence content, the aim is to expose students to the content and style of questioning for a longer period of time. The specific phrasing and construction of the questions at GCSE differs greatly from KS3; the additional time means students become more familiar with these, which leads to greater reassurance for the students’.


Our students are expected to cover the content as shown on the curriculum map. Pace of progression through this content will vary; some students will have a briefer experience of some of the content to allow for consolidation of core knowledge, prior to moving forward with the curriculum.  It is important for our students to access work, achieve success and feel motivated so they continue learning as they progress.

Maths Curriculum 

Teaching the Maths Curriculum

Students will be supported to show courage in class contributions, and will develop a feeling of being successful through demonstrating good learning behaviours. Classes have a silent start, with students working individually on a “Skillscheck”, before a period of peer discussion, followed by feedback. These tasks are designed to routinely practise key skills and interleave previous topics.


When our students meet new content from the Scheme of Learning they will have its place in their mathematical development anchored by its “Building blocks”. This will lead naturally to the new content, “Next steps”. This approach is  used as a way of reinforcing for our learners their progression through the curriculum. The teacher will be explicit in their instruction, whilst allowing the students to see the natural progression, and modelling the next steps of the new content. Students will be engaged in the maths - asking questions and discussing ideas with their fellow students and with their teacher. Opportunities for problem solving will be as part of the natural exploration of the topic, rather than alternative stand alone tasks. The relevance of the skills being developed and their application in real world scenarios, a strong motivator for our cohort, will be highlighted overtly or through the use of tasks that illustrate them. In the latter case the teacher will draw attention to the link. Teachers know their classes well and will have a clear awareness of who in the class may need effective supportive strategies, or need extra support during independent work.  Through having strong subject knowledge and pedagogy they are able to build again, scaffold or support in different ways, to allow the student to feel secure. Teachers will use all their classroom experience and shared school information to respond to students' needs, when to progress quickly and when to bring the class together to address misconceptions or to delve more deeply into areas of interest.

Assessing the Maths Curriculum

Teachers use questioning and discussion to assess the class as a whole, as well as individual students to gauge how they are progressing within a lesson or unit of work. Formal exercises, including exam style questions, are used periodically and lesson time is used to provide feedback on these. Students will start lessons in a focussed routine of “Skillschecks”. This provides the quiet start that our diverse cohort requires to be able to focus on the task before discussion and allows all students to engage with the routine layering and retrieval practice of fundamental skills . Skillschecks are collected every lesson which give ongoing feedback.


Progress is assured within lessons through targeted use of oral and written questions. More formally there is regular focussed assessment on content recently learnt. These begin by being focussed on declarative and procedural knowledge to help embed a sense of attainable success, before moving to conceptual knowledge. There are also less frequent summative assessments at the end of terms or the year. Each of these opportunities allows us to monitor progress and to inform targeted responses from the teacher to ensure students' progression.


Outside of the classroom, students will be completing tasks on SPARX. This supports our learners using AI to personalise their learning, adapting to close the gaps in misconceptions whilst progressing through the current curriculum. Consolidation and practice outside of the classroom is essential for students' success and the routines within SPARX support students to develop and maintain productive learning behaviours.

Progression in the Maths Curriculum

Progression is mapped through a cyclical curriculum, returning to and building on the areas of number, algebra, geometry and statistics throughout the key stages. This progression is highlighted in the SOL, with colour coding following a strand as it develops. This allows for layering, retrieval and support of knowledge which is crucial for all learners to be successful, as well as being able to see how the strand develops moving forward. 


An example of progression through the curriculum is captured here for Algebra.


By the end of Key Stage 3 students will have developed their mathematical fluency through

  • Consolidation of their numerical and mathematical capability from key stage 2 and extending their understanding of the number system and place value to include decimals, fractions, powers and roots. This develops further in Key Stage 4 and may include fractional indices.
  • Being able to select and use appropriate calculation strategies to solve increasingly complex problems. At Key Stage 4 this develops to include exact calculations involving multiples of π, and potentially surds for higher attaining students, along with the use of standard form and application and interpretation of limits of accuracy.
  • Being able to use algebra to generalise the structure of arithmetic, including to formulate mathematical relationships. This develops at Key Stage 4 with them extending their understanding of algebraic simplification and manipulation to include quadratic expressions, expressions involving surds and algebraic fractions.
  • Being able to substitute values in expressions, rearrange and simplify expressions, and solve equations. This develops at Key Stage 4 to include quadratic equations, simultaneous equations and inequalities
  • Being able to move freely between different numerical, algebraic, graphical and diagrammatic representations (for example, equivalent fractions, fractions and decimals, and equations and graphs). 
  • Developing algebraic and graphical fluency, including understanding linear and simple quadratic functions. This develops into Key Stage 4 to develop linear and quadratic functions, and include reciprocal, exponential and trigonometric functions.
  • Use language and properties precisely to analyse numbers, algebraic expressions, 2-D and 3-D shapes, probability and statistics.


They will  have learnt to reason mathematically through

  • Extending their understanding of the number system; make connections between number relationships, and their algebraic and graphical representations. At Key Stage 4 they extend their ability to identify variables and express relations between variables algebraically and graphically.
  • Extending and formalising their knowledge of ratio and proportion in working with measures and geometry, this develops into trigonometry in Key Stage 4. In formulating proportional relations algebraically, working further with these at Key Stage 4 including graphically. Identifying variables and expressing relations between variables algebraically and graphically.
  • Making and testing conjectures about patterns and relationships; look for proofs or counterexamples. At Key Stage 4 they begin to use algebra to support and construct arguments and proofs.
  • Beginning to reason deductively in geometry, number and algebra, including using geometrical constructions.
  • Interpreting when the structure of a numerical problem requires additive, multiplicative or proportional reasoning.
  • Exploring what can and cannot be inferred in statistical and probabilistic settings, and begin to express their arguments formally. At Key Stage 4 they assess the validity of an argument and the accuracy of a given way of presenting information.


They will have developed their mathematical knowledge through interpreting and solving problems, then evaluating the outcomes, including multi-step problems and financial mathematics. At Key Stage 4 they make and use connections between different parts of mathematics to solve problems


They will have begun to model situations mathematically and express the results using a range of formal mathematical representations. At Key Stage 4 they  reflect on how their solutions may have been affected by any modelling assumptions.


They will be able to select appropriate concepts, methods and techniques to apply to unfamiliar and nonroutine problems. At Key Stage 4 they interpret their solution in the context of the given problem.