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KS3 Mathematics

“The only way to learn mathematics is to do mathematics.” – Paul Halmos

Our vision is for every child to enjoy and succeed in mathematics, regardless of background. Schools today face a range of barriers to success. All of which make building and
embedding an effective approach to maths teaching more important – and more challenging – than ever. In the most successful countries teachers have high expectations for all students, address gaps in learning immediately, ensure that all
students have access to rich mathematical content and teach conceptual and procedural maths together.

Our curriculum is developing to be underpinned by research on task design, variation theory, concept development and raising achievement. This evidence is explored in Helen Drury’s books, ‘Mastering Mathematics’ and ‘How To Teach Mathematics for

Classroom principles

Our school curriculum approach empowers and equips teachers to improve students’enjoyment, resilience, understanding and attainment in maths.Our classroom principles are the evidence-based foundations upon which our entireteaching approach is built. The principles are interconnected and together the wholeis greater than the sum of its parts:

Success for all

Every child can enjoy and succeed in mathematics as long as they are given the appropriate learning opportunities. Positive and supportive relationships enable us to help students develop resilience and confidence.

Deeper understanding

Students must be given time and opportunities to fully explore mathematical concepts. The challenge comes from investigating ideas in new and complex ways –
rather than accelerating through new topics.

Students can give up too quickly when they are faced with challenges. Supporting them on how to deal with new and different ideas helps develop greater resilience.


Enabling learners to solve new problems in unfamiliar contexts so that they can apply their learning across the wider curriculum and in their lives beyond the classroom, a key aim of mathematics education. Identifying, applying and connecting
ideas enables students to tackle new and more complex problems.

Mathematical thinking

Successful mathematicians are known to develop mathematical ‘habits of mind’. To encourage this, we must support students to be systematic, generalise and seek out patterns. Questioning is a key element of this.

Mathematical language

Mathematical language strengthens conceptual understanding by enabling students to explain and reason. This must be carefully introduced and reinforced through frequent discussion and group work to ensure it is meaningfully understood.

This is important for all students, but especially those coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. Furthermore, we are keen to avoid as many misconceptions as
possible by using accurate language.

Multiple representations

Objects, pictures, numbers and symbols enable students to represent ideas and make connections in different ways. This develops understanding and problem-
solving skills – while making lessons engaging and fun.

Weaker students benefit greatly from being exposed to representations as they are enhancing their understanding.

We believe high-quality, maths-focused professional development for teachers can make this happen.

Nothing is more powerful or effective than teachers supporting teachers. Teacher collaboration is key.

Ongoing access to high-quality professional development is also important and we are working with White Rose Maths to further develop our key stage 3 provision so that we can adopt further evidence based best practice.


Our aims continue to be to enhance: an increase in enjoyment, resilience, understanding and attainment in maths.

An independent, randomised controlled trial funded by the EEF found the Mathematics Mastery programme had a positive effect on student attainment after only one year. As we continue to adapt and incorporate mastery into the curriculum
we will see further improvements in outcomes.

Students should be able to see relate their learning to real work contexts and understand the importance and relevance of what they are learning.

KS3 Curriculum summary

Pupils entering Brighouse High School are taught in their form groups for the first few weeks of term. During this time they are baseline tested and these scores alongside KS2 results are used to place the pupils in sets by ability.  The sets are then taught
towards the relevant GCSE tier of entry, although this is not fixed in year 7 and movement between sets, and hence between tiers, does occur.
At Key Stage 3, pupils cover topics in depth to promote mastery and understanding. The initial content focuses heavily (though not exclusively) on number work and algebra as these are considered essential building blocks for the rest of the content. 
Pupils are timetabled 4 hours of Maths in year 7, 3 hours in year 8 and then 4 again in year 9.  

Each block of content typically takes between 8 and 12 weeks depending on the ability of the class and the pace at which it is delivered.  Pupils are tested formally at appropriate milestones in order to monitor progress.  After each of these tests the
topics that require strengthening or have proved difficult are highlighted by the teacher and pointed out to the pupils.  Alongside the teacher, pupils are encouraged to start taking responsibility in addressing these weaknesses through independent means such as the internet or by seeking assistance at a dinner time session.  This independence is a skill necessary to take through to Key Stage 4.