Key Stage 3 Mathematics


Mathematics is an interconnected subject in which pupils need to be able to move fluently between representations of mathematical ideas. The programme of study for key stage 3 is organised into apparently distinct domains, but pupils should build on key stage 2 and connections across mathematical ideas to develop fluency, mathematical reasoning and competence in solving increasingly sophisticated problems. They should also apply their mathematical knowledge in science, geography, computing and other subjects.

Working mathematically

Through the mathematics content, pupils will be taught to:

Develop fluency

  • consolidate their numerical and mathematical capability from key stage 2 and extend their understanding of the number system and place value to include decimals, fractions, powers and roots
  • select and use appropriate calculation strategies to solve increasingly complex problems
  • use algebra to generalise the structure of arithmetic, including to formulate mathematical relationships
  • substitute values in expressions, rearrange and simplify expressions, and solve equations
  • move freely between different numerical, algebraic, graphical and diagrammatic representations [for example, equivalent fractions, fractions and decimals, and equations and graphs]
  • develop algebraic and graphical fluency, including understanding linear and simple quadratic functions
  • use language and properties precisely to analyse numbers, algebraic expressions, 2-D and 3-D shapes, probability and statistics

Reason mathematically

  • extend their understanding of the number system; make connections between number relationships, and their algebraic and graphical representations
  • extend and formalise their knowledge of ratio and proportion in working with measures and geometry, and in formulating proportional relations algebraically
  • identify variables and express relations between variables algebraically and graphically
  • make and test conjectures about patterns and relationships; look for proofs or counter-examples
  • begin to reason deductively in geometry, number and algebra, including using geometrical constructions
  • interpret when the structure of a numerical problem requires additive, multiplicative or proportional reasoning
  • explore what can and cannot be inferred in statistical and probabilistic settings, and begin to express their arguments formally

Solve problems

  • develop their mathematical knowledge, in part through solving problems and evaluating the outcomes, including multi-step problems
  • develop their use of formal mathematical knowledge to interpret and solve problems, including in financial mathematics
  • begin to model situations mathematically and express the results using a range of formal mathematical representations
  • select appropriate concepts, methods and techniques to apply to unfamiliar and non-routine problems