28 December 2021

What Secondary Teachers Should Know About The Key Stage 2 Maths Curriculum

How confident are you that you know what your students were taught at primary school?

Look at the questions below. How many of these skills are covered by the Key Stage 2 curriculum?

I'll give you a clue: three of them are covered at primary school, the rest aren't. Do you know which ones?

For an upcoming talk I'm planning, I've been busy researching the feedback that maths departments have received from Ofsted (and 'mocksted') deep dives. One thing that I've noticed come up a few times is:

"Teachers of mathematics do not know enough about what students have learned in the past"

Secondary teachers should definitely know what's on the primary curriculum. And it's not good enough to have a 'rough idea'. Knowing the primary curriculum well helps us build a strong Key Stage 3 curriculum, and improves the effectiveness of our teaching, particularly in Year 7. 

This is easy to fix. The main problem is time. I think most secondary teachers agree that it would be good to know what's on the primary maths curriculum. But we struggle to find the time to find out. 

So I have tried to be helpful! I researched the primary curriculum from a secondary teacher's perspective (I had a pretty good knowledge of the primary curriculum already, but there were a few things I didn't know, so it was a very worthwhile activity for me). I then made a presentation summarising the key points. And then I recorded it and put it on YouTube:


This is only 43 minutes long, so if you want your whole department to watch it together then it should be short enough to fit in a department meeting.

The majority of the presentation is me describing the key features of the primary curriculum. In the last ten minutes I offer some advice for Key Stage 3 teaching.

The slides are here.

I hope this is helpful! Basically from reading Ofsted reports I identified a gap in maths teacher knowledge and decided to try and fix it.

This took quite a chunk of time out of my Christmas holidays, so if you find it helpful and want to say thank you, you can buy me a drink here. Cheers!


  1. Hi Great Article, What are the 3 skills only covered in primary school. I thought there are more than 3. Thank you.

    1. If you watch the video you will be able to determine them

    2. Hi. I think after watching the video you'll know. It's questions 2, 6 and 9 above.

  2. Interesting the school I work in has a primary, I teach year 6 Maths (as well as secondary) this year I would say we cover everything apart from the last question. However, possibly because most of the teachers have secondary background, maybe we have gone beyond the curriculum.