Bowland Maths and the National Curriculum

In the framework document for the National Curriculum (NC) in England, 2013, the Aims for Mathematics are stated as follows:

The national curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils have conceptual understanding and are able to recall and apply their knowledge rapidly and accurately to problems
  • reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
  • can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non- routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.

Mathematics is an interconnected subject in which pupils need to be able to move fluently between representations of mathematical ideas. The programmes of study are, by necessity, organised into apparently distinct domains, but pupils should make rich connections across mathematical ideas to develop fluency, mathematical reasoning and competence in solving increasingly sophisticated problems. They should also apply their mathematical knowledge to science and other subjects.

The new curriculum’s emphasis on problem solving reinforces the need for teaching resources such as those offered by Bowland Maths. These curricular aims are also reflected in the new Assessment Objectives for the GCSE examination, reinforcing the critical need for schools actively to help pupils learn problem solving.

These changes in England are consistent with international developments. For instance, ‘problem solving’ features prominently in the Mathematical Practices of the new USA Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.

Working Mathematically

‘Using and Applying Mathematics’ has been a constant feature in the national curriculum since 1988. In the 2008 version it was called ‘Key Processes’. The 2014 programme of study for key stage 3 mathematics includes a section on working mathematically, which is consistent with, although not as detailed as, the ‘key processes section’ from the 2008 version of the NC.

In order to retain the detail on the process aspects of mathematics, Bowland Maths continues to use a framework for describing its problems which is familiar to all schools, as summarised below (taken from the 2008 National Curriculum).

Key concepts:
  • Competence
  • Creativity
  • Applications and implications of mathematics
  • Critical understanding
Key Processes
  • Representing
  • Analysing (reasoning)
  • Analysing (procedures)
  • Interpreting and evaluating
  • Communicating and reflecting
Content areas:
  • Number and Algebra
  • Geometry and Measures
  • Statistics
  • Critical understanding
Content areas:
  • develop confidence in an increasing range of methods
  • work on more challenging mixes of contexts and mathematics
  • work on open and closed tasks in real and abstract contexts
  • tackle problems from other subjects and from outside school
  • link different concepts, processes and techniques
  • work collaboratively and independently
  • select from a range of resources, inc. ICT