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John Milton Academy Trust

These schools are part of the John Milton Academy Trust. Click on the school's logo to visit their website.

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Powerful Knowledge

During KS3 our curriculum allows students to become fluent in the building blocks of maths building on their prior knowledge from Primary school. It provides students with problems that increase their problem solving ability and their mathematical reasoning whilst giving them an appreciation of the logic and beauty of mathematics. Students will:


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


Teachers are the role model in the classroom and therefore use correct mathematical terms during their lessons.

Students are taught correct mathematical terminology and are encouraged to use such vocabulary when giving answers and during class discussions.

When introducing new mathematical terms the root, prefix or suffix of the word is discussed with students so they can understand how many mathematical terms have originated from Greek or Latin.

In addition, the new maths GCSE, with its increased focus on real world problem solving, demands higher literacy skills. It is therefore imperative that we ensure students understand key mathematical terms and raise their literacy so they can access the exam questions and demonstrate their true mathematical ability.

When considering literacy we also consider mathematical literacy. This is the ability to use numbers to help solve real-world problems. By developing mathematical literacy, students are able to understand the language of mathematics. Knowing and understanding the language of mathematics is important because maths is everywhere. Maths is a fundamental tool we use to understand the world we live in.

School Context

Students will be offered a wide variety of opportunities and experiences that widen their appreciation of mathematics and the world around it. These will include:

  • Developing an appreciation of some aspects of finance and more creative mathematics during enrichment week activities
  • National competitions such as the UK Mathematics Individual Challenge and Team challenges
  • Code breaking competitions with opportunities to visit Bletchley Park
  • Origami
  • Maths in different cultures
  • Opportunities to further explore mathematical ideas with key exponents in the mathematics community
  • Students will be encouraged to read extracts around mathematics

Students have access to a number of recreational mathematics books that contain several puzzles and challenges that they can work on at any time


Formative assessment takes place through a variety of methods. Within lessons students’ progress is assessed through teacher questioning, mini whiteboard work, low stakes quizzes and self, peer or teacher marking of work. Homework tasks will either consist of a paper based assignment or a task set on Sparx Maths that tests students’ understanding of either their current topic or a past topic.

When students have been set a task on Sparx Maths it is marked automatically by the software giving students instant feedback. Teachers then review the work that has been completed and provide written feedback to the students on what they need to do to improve. Where whole class misconceptions are identified time is then allocated within lessons to re-cover this topic.

Starters are predominantly used for retrieval practice and where gaps in students’ knowledge are found teachers set aside future lesson time to re teach this topic and allow further practice. Where it is noticed that only a handful of students are struggling with understanding a prior learned topic we set up tutor time interventions with these students to work with them on this topic and increase their understanding and confidence.

Students sit topic tests at the end of each unit. These are peer marked during the lesson and then reviewed by the teacher. FIT tasks are then provided in a subsequent lesson alongside individual and whole class feedback to allow students time to improve their knowledge and skills. Areas of difficulty are noted by the class teacher and included in retrieval practice starters in future lessons.

Students sit summative assessments three times per year. These assessments cover all prior learning. Results are analysed and used to create forthcoming starters, plan additional teaching of topics and identify students who require intervention.


Maths is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment.

Posters detailing potential careers in Maths are displayed around the department and students are encouraged to ask about the mathematical content in a range of careers. Where explicit links can be made between a topic and how this could be used in the workplace, relevant resources or examples are used or discussed within lessons. However, as a department we are conscious that when using real life contexts we may have to modify or simplify the complex mathematics in order for our students to understand and are wary of making this appear contrived.

The importance of being numerate in every job and the impact this has on career prospects and salary is discussed with students at various points in the curriculum. For example when studying displaying data a variety of poor graphs are shown and analysed to demonstrate how statistics can be used to manipulate data.

Throughout KS3 we embed enrichment weeks into our curriculum. These allow discussions about real life applications of mathematics and in particular we focus on financial planning skills during Year 9.

Specific careers that involve a high degree of maths are: accountant, architect, actuary, bank manager, business adviser, credit manager, economist, financial advisor, insurance account manager, insurance underwriter, investment analyst, revenue officer, management accountant, management consultant, money adviser, mortgage adviser, pensions manager, stockbroker, tax advisor, web developer, games developer, lawyer, event manager, journalist, media programmer, doctor, nurse, copywriter, data analyst, chemical engineer, mechanical engineer, civil engineer, research scientist, statistician, self employed business owner.