KS3 Mathematics


The design of our KS3 curriculum has been heavily influenced by the “Teaching for Mastery” approach championed by the NCETM. The aim of this ambitious and inclusive approach is for all students to develop a deep and connected understanding of mathematics. Each term has a main theme, which allows plenty of time to go into depth in each area of mathematics, but tasks are also designed to make links to prior knowledge where possible. Teachers work collaboratively to plan and refine sequences of lessons using the five “big ideas” of teaching for mastery: fluency, variation, representations, coherence and mathematical reasoning. Students have a firm foundation for success because our carefully designed retrieval starter questions and homework tasks enable them to develop mathematical fluency. Throughout the curriculum they are challenged to explain their reasoning and to apply their knowledge to a range of different problem-solving questions.


Curriculum sequence


Term 1

Term 2

Term 3

Term 4

Term 5

Term 6

Year 7

Commutative, Associative and Distributive laws, and negative numbers.

Algebraic manipulation and solving equations


Ratio and Proportion

Properties of Shapes and Transformations

Angles and Constructions

Year 8

Types of Number and Sequences

Graphs of linear functions

Averages and representing data


Fractions and Percentages

Line Graphs and Scatter Graphs


Developing Skills

  • accurately recall facts, maths specific vocabulary and definitions
  • use and interpret notation correctly
  • accurately carry out methods or tasks requiring multi-step solutions
  • persuade others using mathematical reasoning
  • interpret and communicate information accurately
  • critically evaluate a given piece of maths, including the methods used and results obtained
  • translate problems, including in context, into a series of mathematical processes
  • make and use connections between different parts of mathematics
  • interpret results in the context of the given problem and evaluate these solutions to identify any possible assumptions

National curriculum links

The maths curriculum at Didcot Girls’ School has been mapped against the framework of the national curriculum to ensure that we meet all detailed objectives. The focus on the big ideas of Teaching for Mastery ensures that we also meet the spirit of the main aims of the national curriculum: for students to be fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, to be able to reason mathematically, and to be able to solve both routine and non-routine problems.

Meeting the needs of SEND and Pupil Premium students

In accordance with our whole school policy, maths teachers place SEND and Pupil Premium students at the heart of their lesson planning.  

In maths we provide for the progress of SEND and Pupil Premium students by:

  • A focus on high quality teaching and learning
  • Ensuring that SEND and Pupil Premium students are targeted with probing questions during hands down questioning
  • Encouraging attendance at lunchtime and after school support sessions
  • Prioritising SEND and Pupil Premium students for intervention


Our curriculum is taught to be securely learnt. The mastery approach means that students are given the chance to explore concepts in depth before moving on, so they are not rushed through content. We know that students need the chance to regularly practice knowledge and skills that they have learned, so our students are given a carefully planned diet of retrieval questions, in starter questions at the beginning of lessons and in their written and online homework tasks.


Near the beginning of year 7, students sit a baseline assessment which is split into 5 main areas: understanding number, written methods for the 4 operations, angles and measures, fractions, and proportional reasoning and percentages. These assessments give class teachers a more detailed picture of what our new students can do. They also help to place the students eligible for the catch-up premium into intervention groups linked to the 5 topics from the test. 

Throughout the rest of KS3, students sit a mixture of short half hour tests in terms 2 and 4, and longer 55 minute tests in term 3 and at the end of term 5 (for year 7) or the beginning of term 6 (year 8).

A guiding principle of our assessment model is that it should help students to become independent learners. Students are given a revision checklist each term with a list of all the topics to be covered, as well as links to relevant online tasks. This checklist is regularly referred to and students are encouraged to select appropriate revision tasks for their individual needs. Before each longer assessment, the students are given a more specific list of topics to focus on in preparation. After each assessment, students are given time to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses, and are advised to proactively address these by using their feedback to identify the best online tasks to help them improve. Booster lessons are designed to go over topics with which the whole class may have struggled.

Contact details:

Head of Maths

Key Stage 3 Coordinator

GCSE Mathematics


Our GCSE mathematics course provides a framework that allows students to: build fluency in essential mathematical skills, develop their mathematical reasoning and problem-solving skills, and to provoke curiosity and enjoyment in the subject.

Course outline

GCSE mathematics is split into two tiers, Foundation and Higher. Both tiers cover the six main strands of mathematics:

  • Number
  • Algebra
  • Ratio and Proportion
  • Geometry and Measures
  • Probability
  • Statistics

Both tiers challenge students to reason mathematically and to apply a range of mathematical skills to both routine and non-routine problems.

Assessment and Progression

We continue to provide the same structure of retrieval and feedback as KS3. Students will be familiar with the structure of independent learning linked to the knowledge organisers and skills check feedback.

In Year 9, students sit a mixture of short half hour progress checks in terms 1, 3, and 5, and longer 55 minute assessments in term 2 and 4, with an end of year assessment in term 6. In Year 10, a short progress check is done in term 1 with longer assessments in terms 2 and 3. In terms 4 and 5, Year 10 students start weekly exam practice before their mock exams in term 6.  

Students who are making good progress will be given the opportunity to move to a higher class, if appropriate. For students who are identified as requiring additional support, there are two lunchtime clubs to provide help with homework, and after school revision sessions are added in year 11. PP and SEN students are prioritised for intervention and for mentoring programs.

The highest attaining students in Year 10 will start studying towards the GCSE Further Mathematics qualification, to be sat at the end of Year 11. This is an excellent qualification for those students aiming to take A level Mathematics.

Examination Board:   AQA


GCSE mathematics is assessed in three equally-weighted final examinations at the end of the course.

Paper 1 (80 marks) Non calculator

Paper 2 (80 marks) Calculator allowed

Paper 3 (80 marks) Calculator allowed

There is no difference in content between the three papers. Any topic can appear on any paper.

Grading system: 9 – 1

Progression to Post-16:  A level Mathematics

Future career links: A strong foundation in understanding mathematics is essential for many careers, particularly those in science, engineering, finance, design and technology and computing.


Head of maths

Key stage 4 coordinator

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