Primary Mathematics Curriculum and Assessment Changes

Primary Numeracy Co-ordinators Update – Winter 2017/18

The government report ‘Primary assessment in England’ September 2017 lays out the following changes to primary mathematics:



The Early Learning Goals will be aligned with the KS1 curriculum – particularly in literacy and mathematics.  Work will be undertaken to improve the teaching of numeracy.

The government intends to explore further whether it is feasible to reduce the ELGs to 3 areas; mathematics, literacy and ‘communication and language development, physical development and personal, social and emotional development’.

Any changes to the ELGs will come into effect from the 2020 to 2021 academic year.


There will be a new assessment early in the reception year.  In mathematics this is expected to involve counting, basic number operations and simple 2d shapes.  This assessment will only be used to generate a whole-school progress measure and for analysis of national data.  The assessment is due to be introduced in autumn 2020 following large scale piloting in 2019.  It will be provided by a single supplier.   It will not be an observational assessment which is carried out over time but it should not feel like a ‘test’ or be different from many of the existing on-entry assessments that schools already undertake with their pupils.

Authentic Maths EYFS course (designed for teachers and teaching assistants working in the final year of nursery and reception class) strengthens EYFS mathematics teaching without compromising other areas of teaching. It achieves this up-skilling teachers to use more powerful and efficient teaching methods and to quickly recognise and implement the specific interventions children need.

At KS1:

The curriculum will remain the same.

The first children to be assessed in reception class will reach the end of KS2 in the summer of 2023.  The end of KS1 test will not be statutory for these children if they are in all-through primary schools from 2023.  It is not yet clear whether this test will be statutory for children in infant schools, first schools and other schools which are not all-through primary schools.  Clarity on this issue is expected by January 2018.

The requirement for schools to report on pupil performance and attainment to parents in more detail at the end of KS1 will remain.  Optional end-of-KS1 tests will be available for schools to use as they see fit.

Meanwhile the interim teacher assessment frameworks for mathematics at KS1, together with the guidance and exemplification materials will be updated and published in due course for first use in 2018/19 (with the current year 1).

Authentic Maths Y1 and Y2 courses teach KS1 teachers and teaching assistants the key representation of number and powerful teaching techniques that will help them ensure all children fully understand KS1 mathematics. 

At KS2:

The curriculum will remain the same.  KS2 SATs will still be statutory.  However the statutory requirement for schools to report teacher assessment judgements in English, reading and mathematics will be abolished. The current year 6 (with KS2 SATs in 2018) will be the last group for which teacher assessment judgements will be required.

Authentic Maths Y3, Y4, Y5 and Y6 courses teach KS2 teachers the key representation of number that help all children fully understand their maths.  A separate course is available for KS2 TAs.  All courses are delivered in your school and take 2 hours (+ 1 hour preparation for teachers) 

The new tables check:

The substantial change in KS2 will be the introduction of the multiplication tables check.  This will take place at the end of year 4 and will become statutory in 2020 (for the current year 2) following extensive trialling in 2019 (with the current year 3).  Schools will have a window in which to administer the assessment and there will be no requirement for a class to take the check at the same time.  The check will be brief, and will be administered online, with an off-line option available for schools without suitable internet connectivity.  Results will be available to teachers instantly and there will be no additional data submission burdens.

No information is available on whether the test will include division as well as multiplication and nobody seems able to answer this question or know when it is likely to be answered at present.

Authentic Maths tables INSET prepares schools to nail the tables check.  The INSET focuses on ensuring teachers from Reception class to Year 4 teach all the relevant skills in ways which will make sure every child understands, enjoys and is fluent with their tables.  Year 5&6 teachers should also attend to ensure their teaching builds from the new practice and standards.   Paired infant and junior schools should book joint training where possible.

For more information about Authentic Maths courses and recommendations for them please see the accompanying sheet, visit or contact

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