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For information on the New 2014 National Curriculum click here.

10ticks national curriculum definitions

To ensure you order the correct National Curriculum Level, ask your child's teacher what level they are working at. The National Numeracy Strategy guidelines show the expectation of an "average" child.

Year 4         consolidation of Level 3 and start on Level 4.
Year 5         revision of Level 3, but mainly Level 4.
Year 6         consolidation of Level 4, start of Level 5.
Year 7         revision of Level 4, but mainly Level 5.
Year 8         consolidation of Level 5, start of Level 6.
Year 9         revision of Level 5, but mainly Level 6.

Here is a guide to the GCSE levels and the National Curriculum levels. This is only a guide, as the National Curriculum Levels do not match up exactly with the GCSE grade boundaries.

GCSE Higher Level
A*, A, B, C, D, U              tests mainly Levels 7, 8, 9 and 10.

GCSE Intermediate Level
B, C, D, E, U                    tests mainly Levels 5, 6, 7 and 8.

GCSE Foundation Level
D, E, F, G, U                    tests mainly Levels 3, 4, 5, 6.

Note: The notation Level 9/10. These levels are also referred to as exceptional performance (EP) at Key Stage 3. We use 9/10 as it is a natural progression of the numbering system!

The end of Year 9 denotes the end of Key Stage 3. This year 67 per cent of pupils achieved Level 5 or higher in Mathematics, a one per cent increase on last year. National targets are for 75 per cent of pupils to achieve Level 5 or higher by 2004 and 85 per cent by 2007.

The Key Stages and Assessment

Age Stage Year Test
3-4 Foundation
5-6 Key Stage 1 Year 1
6-7 Year 2 National tests and tasks in Maths and English.
7-8 Key Stage 2 Year 3
8-9 Year 4
9-10 Year 5
10-11 Year 6 National tests in Maths, English and Science.
11-12 Key Stage 3 Year 7
12-13 Year 8
13-14 Year 9 National tests in Maths, English and Science.
14-15 Key Stage 4 Year 10 Some pupils take GCSEs.
15-16 Year 11 Most pupils take GCSEs or other qualification.

The Key Stage 'Levels'

Key Stage 1 (ages 5-7) Key Stage 2 (ages 7-11) Key Stage 3 (ages 11-14)
Level 8
Level 7
Level 6
Level 5
Level 4
Level 3
Level 2
Level 1



During the appropriate Key Stage, most children will work between these levels.


By the end of the appropriate Key Stage, most children will achieve these levels.

What Mathematics should your child be learning?

  Key Stage 1  
  It is expected that most children of around 7 years will be able to:

Use and Application of Maths
  • choose a sensible approach to tackle a problem
  • use words, symbols and simple diagrams to record what they do in a mathematical way
  • notice patterns and describe them
  • explain how they solved a problem.

  • count, read and write whole numbers up to 100, and put them in order
  • count on or back in ones or tens from different starting numbers
  • tell if numbers are odd or even
  • know that you can undo an addition with a subtraction
  • know by heart all adding and subtracting facts for each number up to ten (for example, know the facts that 6 + 4 = 10, 10 - 4 = 6 and 10 - 6 = 4, 4 + 2 = 6 and 6 - 4 = 2, 6 - 2 = 4, and so on)
  • know the pairs of numbers in tens that make 100 (for example, 30 + 70 = 100, 70 + 30 = 100)
  • know that they can do addition in any order, a nd that it's easier to start with the bigger numbers
  • understand that multiplying is the same as adding more of the same number
  • double numbers or halve them
  • know the 2 and 10 times tables by heart.
Shape, Space and Measures
  • use the mathematical names for common two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes; say how many sides and corners a shape has, and if it has any right angles
  • predict how a shape would appear in a mirror
  • recognise turning movements such as whole turns, half turns and quarter turns or right angles
  • measure or weigh things using units such as centimetres, metres, litres or kilograms; choose sensible units to use
  • use a ruler to draw and measure lines to the nearest centimetre
  • tell the time to the half and quarter hour.
  Key Stage 2  
It is expected that most children of around 11 years will be able to:

Use and Application of Maths
  • tackle a problem using different approaches, trying out ideas of their own
  • apply maths to practical problems
  • present their results in a clear and organised way.
  • multiply and divide decimals by 10 or 100, and whole numbers by 1000 in their heads
  • put in order a set of numbers with up to three decimal places
  • work with decimals to add and subtract on paper
  • reduce a fraction to its simplest form (for example, four-sixteenths to one-quarter)
  • work out fractions of numbers or quantities (for example, they should be able to work out five-eighths of 32, seven-tenths of 40 and nine-one hundredths of 400 centimetres)
  • understand that a percentage is the number of parts in every hundred, and work out simple percentages of whole numbers
  • solve problems involving ratio and proportion
  • know all the times tables and use them to divide as well as multiply
  • use +, -, ÷, and \ to solve problems given in words, which could be about numbers or measures (kilograms, kilometres and so on)
  • use paper and pencil methods of multiplying and dividing for harder calculations (for example, 434.25 multiplied by 8, 195 divided by 6 and 352 multiplied by 27).
Shape, Space and Measures
  • use a protractor to measure angles to the nearest degree
  • calculate the perimeter and area of shapes that can be split into rectangles
  • read and plot coordinates in all four quadrants
  • interpret numbers accurately on a range of measuring instruments
  • tell the time and solve problems involving time on a 12-hour or 24-hour clock.
Handling Data
  • solve a problem by collecting and using information in tables, graphs and charts.
  Key Stage 3  
It is expected that most children of around 14 years will be able to:

Use and Application of Maths
  • plan how to tackle a problem, including working out what information they need
  • solve complex problems by breaking them into smaller, more manageable tasks
  • describe mathematical situations using symbols, words and diagrams
  • link their solutions to the initial problem and present them to a sensible degree of accuracy
  • explain their reasoning and begin to give mathematical justifications for their solutions.
Number and Algebra
  • in their heads, do some calculations involving decimals, fractions, percentages, factors, powers and roots
  • multiply and divide any whole number by 10, 100 and other powers of 10
  • estimate and approximate answers to calculations
  • use standard written methods for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division involving whole numbers, decimals and fractions
  • give one number as a fraction or percentage of another
  • use efficient methods to add, subtract, multiply and divide fractions
  • use the relationships between fractions, decimals, percentages, ratio and proportion to solve problems
  • find and use prime factors of numbers
  • use calculators efficiently and interpret the display in the context of the problem; use the constant, the sign change key, pi, function keys for powers, roots and fractions; use brackets and the calculator memory
  • use index notation and simple instances of index laws (know, for example, that 22 x 23 = 25 and 26 ÷ 22 = 24)
  • set up and use equations and their graphs to solve word problems
  • simplify and transform algebraic expressions, knowing how to substitute positive and negative numbers for symbols
  • generate terms of a sequence and use algebra to describe the nth term of a simple sequence
  • begin to use trial and improvement methodically, to find rough solutions to equations such as x3 - x = 100.
Shape, Space and Measures
  • use a ruler, protractor and compasses to construct lines, angles and two-dimensional or three-dimensional shapes
  • use the properties of straight-sided shapes, and intersecting and parallel lines, to solve problems
  • recognise when two triangles are congruent
  • know and use formulae to calculate: -the circumferences and areas of circles -areas of straight-sided shapes -volumes of cuboids
  • use two-dimensional diagrams to analyse three-dimensional shapes
  • rotate, reflect, translate and enlarge two-dimensional shapes and understand how these transformations affect their sides, angles and position
  • write instructions for a computer to generate and transform shapes and paths.
Handling Data
  • design a survey or experiment
  • gather the data they need from different sources (for example, from tables, lists and computer sources)
  • choose the right kind of graph to show the data they have gathered
  • summarise raw data using range and measures of average
  • interpret graphs and diagrams and draw conclusions
  • calculate probabilities and solve problems in situations where there are limited numbers of equally likely outcomes (for example, when rolling a dice)
  • estimate probabilities from data gathered in experiments.