KS3 Maths Curriculum: What Students Will Learn and How to Support Them

Posted on September, 2022

For children in Key Stage 3, it is essential that they build up confidence in maths in order to undertake GCSE with a strong platform beneath them.

The National Curriculum states that children must be provided with the encouragement and opportunity to consolidate their Key Stage 2 learning and be able to extend this further as they move from year 7 through to year 9.

In this post we will give an outline of the KS3 maths curriculum, providing detail on the aims and the 7 key areas of learning that you children should be supported with in order to achieve the best of their ability.

KS3 Maths Curriculum Aims

The KS3 maths curriculum is split in 7 key areas, however there are 3 overarching aims that are essential if children are to achieve success within their maths studies.

The three aims are based around children building on the skills and knowledge they have gained in earlier stages.

The National Curriculum states that the aims below are the main 3 that should be focused on when supporting children’s learning and progress.

Fluency in the Fundamentals of Mathematics

Children should build confidence through varied practice frequently throughout school and homework, and they should move onto more complex problems as they move through KS3.

Equally important is children’s ability to recall the knowledge they have learnt from one type of problem and apply this knowledge to another. This helps children to solidify their understanding by using various areas of the maths curriculum for different question styles.

Reason Mathematically

Mathematical reasoning is a critical skill that enables children to further harness the other skills they have already mastered.

The aim here is to support children’s understanding of maths as they begin to follow lines of enquiry and justify the logic behind maths problems.

Children should be able to link relationships in maths problems together and should be able to develop an argument as to why a certain sum has a specific answer through explanations and workings out.

Problem Solving

This might be an area where some children struggle most, as it’s essential for children to persevere when seeking solutions to the problems in front of them.

Through this, children can build their confidence by breaking down problems into easier steps to confirm that their workings out are right and gradually remembering rules and quicker ways to solve problems.

maths sums on a page

The 7 Areas of KS3 Maths Curriculum

According to the national curriculum, there are 7 key areas that children should be introduced to and become confident with during their time in KS3.

These areas will help to build on what has already been touched on and learnt in KS2, but also introduce some new material to challenge students.

In all areas children should receive encouragement and support in order to further build their confidence in mathematics, and ensure they are learning in the most effective way.

1. Working Mathematically

This first area focuses mainly on the 3 main aims above, incorporating fluency, reasoning and problem solving into mathematics problems.

This involves consolidation of the key areas children learnt in KS2 such as:

  • extending understanding of the number system
  • free movement between numerical representations
  • develop their mathematical knowledge through problem-solving
  • extend their knowledge of ratio and proportion in different mathematical situations

This is just a brief overview of the subject content that applies to all subject areas.

Below we will go into further detail about the specific mathematical areas and skills that your child should feel confident in.

2. Number

While maths is a wide and varied subject, there are specific skills within each topic that your child needs to practice and understand moving forward.

Whilst each topic has an influence on others, the number topic is useful throughout the rest of the curriculum as it underpins the whole of mathematics.

Children will need to have a greater understanding of:

  • applying calculation using operators
  • decimals, percentages and fractions
  • exponents and roots
  • skills of estimation
  • integers and rational numbers
  • inequalities for calculating errors

All of these subtopics will be enhanced by the further exploration of calculator use, as children will be encouraged to become confident using a calculator to aid a range of sums and problems.

algebra on blackboard

3. Algebra

As mentioned above, the number subtopic will enhance children’s learning in the following areas, as they can be viewed as building blocks that support one another.

Algebra will get children used to solving equations when exact numerical values are not given, and instead letters are substituted in their place.

This will include tasks such as:

  • algebraic notation
  • substituting values into equations and expressions
  • changing the subject of the formulae
  • interpreting graphical solutions
  • recognising and sketching graphs
  • solving simultaneous equations
  • finding the nth term
  • modelling situations using algebra

This subtopic is particularly useful in getting children more familiar with using rules to solve problems and thinking logically to break problems into smaller parts.

4. Ratio, Proportion and Rates of Change

This topic will provide children with a better understanding of the difference between a ratio and a proportion.

A ratio is a comparison of two quantities, and a proportion is an equality of two ratios. An earlier understanding of fractions will help within this broader topic.

The sums involved in ratio and proportion lessons will most likely be based on day-to-day problems, such as calculating weights, heights, distance, or time and will involve:

  • solving problems of direct and indirect proportion
  • converting between units
  • using ratio notation
  • scaling factors, diagrams and maps
  • learning the relationship between ratios and fractions
  • understanding percentage change problems

geometry

5. Geometry and Measures

This section of the curriculum is where children should be encouraged to focus on accuracy and bring in some of the subtopics they have already learnt such as using formulae.

Geometry and measures focuses on shapes and angles and how they can be enlarged and reduced, as well as encouraging practice of scale drawing.

Other important aspects of this topic include:

  • use various formulae to find the area of certain shapes
  • finding the volume of various 3d shapes
  • scale drawing
  • drawing various geometric figures using a compass/protractor and ruler
  • understanding congruence in triangles and similarity between shapes
  • transformations, reflections, enlargements and rotations
  • using triangles to deduce the size of any angle within a regular polygon
  • interpret mathematical relationships both algebraically and geometrically
  • understand angle relationships between pairs of parallel lines
  • use pythagoras’ theorem
  • understand the properties of 3d shapes to solve problems

This topic may be daunting for children as it is quite a jump from KS2 geometry, so it is important they get the support they require.
This may be in the form of extra practice with a tutor to help solidify their earlier knowledge, before diving into mixing formulae with shapes. This is where Redbridge Tuition can help. We have a team of experienced tutors who can help support your child, and solidify their knowledge in all areas of the maths curriculum.

6. Probability

This topic is also known as ‘the maths of chance’ and focuses on the likelihood of something happening, as well as decimals, fractions, and percentages.

Therefore, the earlier number topic can be extremely useful when getting to grips with probability as children should already have a solid understanding of these concepts.

The topic of probability includes gaining a good grasp of solving problems that involve:

  • understanding the use of union, and intersection and how they can be used within probabilistic contexts in venn diagrams, tables and grids
  • use the appropriate language to describe the probability of an event or outcome
  • understand the differences between theoretical and experimental probability
  • understand that the probabilities of all possible outcomes equal 1
  • describe a probability as a fraction
  • understanding the difference between a mutually exclusive outcome, independent outcome, single events and combined events

As this is a topic involving the word ‘chance’ this can be just as daunting as understanding geometry, as it can cause confusion for some children. This is where a good tutor or teacher who can explain the concept properly is essential.
As a parent, explanation of topics is key and sometimes it may be one or two specific areas that your child is struggling with and you may feel they would benefit from some additional help.
At Redbridge Tuition, we offer a free 15 minute consultation in order to discuss your child’s needs, whether that is help in one or two topics or across the whole curriculum.

bar chart

7. Statistics

Statistics or handling data is the final topic covered within the National Curriculum, and involves multiple topics we have already covered in this post.

The skills involved in this topic are as follows:

  • describing and interpreting mean, mode, median, and range
  • constructing and interpreting tables, charts, and diagrams for numerical data
  • describing mathematical relations between two variables using scatter graphs

Therefore, number, geometry, and mathematical working are all useful in helping your child master the final part of the curriculum.

Conclusion: How to Support KS3 Students

In order for children to excel in their KS3 maths work, they must be supported along the way as well as being encouraged and challenged.

As we have covered, there is a wide range of skills within the National Curriculum, from algebra to reasoning that children must feel confident in before they embark on their GCSE learning and exams.

A large proportion of these topics and subtopics can be used together as well as separately, making it simpler for children to mix methods in their workings to get to their final answers.

The move from KS2 to KS3 is a huge transition in learning for children, and it is often the stage when children either push forward or struggle to cope.

Either way Redbridge Tuition can provide that extra support that your child may need, by providing experienced tutors who can help them build a concrete foundation in mathematics.

We have tutors who can help to solidify children’s understanding of earlier maths areas, whilst keeping children goal-oriented as they move though to GCSE maths studies.

Get in touch with us if you feel we could help provide support and guidance for your child in any stage of their maths studies.

Want a free consultation?