Using Mathematics

“The Northern Ireland Curriculum aims to empower young people to achieve their potential and to make informed and responsible decisions throughout their lives.”

(NI Curriculum - Aims and Objectives)


Nursery Stage

Pupils in nursery engage in play based early mathematical activities. Appropriate mathematical language will be modelled by staff and pupils will be guided and encouraged to develop their use of mathematical language. Through exploration and repetition, pupils will begin to develop basic mathematical concepts. Pupils will develop an awareness of number, shape, space, size, quantity, relationships, pattern, sequencing and time. All areas of indoor and outdoor play, everyday routines, songs, rhymes, stories and games provide opportunities to foster children’s understanding of mathematical concepts.


Foundation Stage

Children in Foundation Stage learn mathematical concepts through practical activity based learning opportunities.  Their mathematical learning is guided by the Foundation Stage of the Northern Ireland Curriculum.  Pupils will develop an awareness of number, shape, space, size, quantity, relationships, pattern, sequencing and time. Mathematical concepts will be modelled by staff and further developed through indoor and outdoor learning with numeracy at the heart of the play-based activity. Staff encourage and foster the use of appropriate mathematical language during everyday activities and opportunities. Lessons are often linked to World Around Us topics to encourage engagement and cross-curricular skill development. Numeracy sessions can be whole class and/or adult led group activities.


Key Stage 1 & 2

Classes in KS1 & 2 have one hour of mathematics/numeracy 4 days a week. The structure of the Numeracy Period follows a common format starting with a 10-15 minute shared attention session to introduce a new skill/concept or consolidate previous learning. Though the teacher leads the session, it is interactive involving open-ended questioning, discussion and explanation.

For the main body of the lesson the pupils will work in 3 groups, 10-15 minutes for each group with a mini-plenary at the end of each mini session.

  • The teacher led focus table.
  • The learning assistant supervised number practice table.
  • The independent table - the aim is to encourage the children towards more independent working and learning.

A task board sets out the activities and the order in which the children will participate in these activities. The teacher focuses on one group for between 10 and 15 minutes. At this point the teacher will undertake individual and group teaching while the others work with a learning assistant or independently. A mini plenary at the end of each activity is a chance for the teacher, assistants and children, to summarise what the children have learned/retained at each activity. It is more meaningful for the children to talk about their learning when it is newly acquired. At the end of the session the children will come together to share what they have learnt, revise key concepts or find out about their homework tasks.


Key Stage 3

At Key Stage 3 the same format of lesson is often followed for that in a KS1 or 2 lesson (rotational tables). However, there is a greater emphasis on life-skills at KS3. Pupils will have the opportunity to develop their functional mathematics through activities at each of the tables. There is also a greater emphasis on using calculators to complete calculations, e.g. working out the cost of items on a menu. There are opportunities for the pupils to gain functional mathematics skills through the use of public transport, visits to local shop, cooking and also taking part in the Young Enterprise programme.


Young Enterprise is a programme our pupils take part in where they work with a business to develop a product idea, produce the product and sell the product at a trade event. The programme is designed to help learners make the connection between school and the world of work, enabling young people to develop the knowledge and skills they need for the workplace. It will help our pupils develop the following: - Communication, Confidence, Financial Capability, Initiative, Organisation, Problem-solving, Teamwork and Resilience.


‘We believe that the potential of the UK’s young people is unlimited, and an academic education on its own is not enough. As a national charity we motivate young people to succeed in the changing world of work by equipping them with the work skills, knowledge and confidence they need.’

(Young Enterprise UK)


Key Stage 4

Currently the Key Stage 4 external specifications include:

CCEA Mathematics - Entry level 1, 2 and 3.

For our pupils in KS4 the main focus in mathematics is to work towards achieving these qualifications. Lessons are focused on the mathematical skills required in order to achieve each of the entry levels.


As a school we assess the levels of our pupils using CCEA’s Q-skills assessment maps which can be accessed here and CCEA levels of progression maps which can be accessed here.