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.
HEALTH and SAFETY
Any use of a resource that includes a practical activity must include a risk assessment. Please note that collections may contain ARCHIVE resources, which were developed at a much earlier date. Since that time there have been significant changes in the rules and guidance affecting laboratory practical work. Further information is provided in our Health and Safety guidance.