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Key Stage 2 maths: what your child will learn

By Atom | Nov 13, 2023, 4:32 PM

Young schoolgirl and teacher smiling while writing mathematical sums on the classroom whiteboard

Maths is an essential life skill and one of the core subjects taught on the Key Stage 2 national curriculum. If your child is in primary school, they'll have regular maths lessons every week, if not every day.

If you're looking to understand what your child will learn in KS2 maths, we've got you covered. Keep reading to:

  • find out which topics your child will learn in Years 3–6

  • learn how your child's maths knowledge will be tested

  • get tips to support your child's learning at home

What is the national curriculum?

The national curriculum is a programme of study for primary and secondary schools in England. State schools teach the same subjects and standards so that children across the country all learn the same things.

The national curriculum is organised into ‘key stages’, which span different age groups. Tests at the end of each key stage assess your child’s performance and understanding of what they have learnt.

  • Early years: ages 3–5 (nursery and reception)

  • Key Stage 1: ages 5–7 (Years 1–2)

  • Key Stage 2: ages 7–11 (Years 3–6)

  • Key Stage 3: ages 11–14 (Years 7–9)

  • Key Stage 4: ages 14–16 (Years 10–11)

Years 3–6

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What’s on the KS2 maths curriculum?

Take a detailed look at what your child will learn on the Key Stage 2 maths curriculum below.

Year 3 maths

The aim of the Year 3 maths curriculum is to ensure that your child becomes more confident with increasingly large numbers. They’ll learn how to use all four operations, and times tables are a big focus of this. They’ll also develop their ability to solve a range of problems using simple fractions and decimals.

  • Count in multiples of 4, 8, 50, and 100

  • Find 10 or 100 more or less than a given number

  • Recognise the place value of each digit in a three-digit number

  • Compare and order numbers up to 1,000 and write them in numerals and words

Here's an example Year 3 maths question on Atom – the online learning platform for ages 7–11.

A Year 3 column subtraction question on Atom

Year 4 maths

On the Year 4 maths curriculum, your child will be introduced to negative numbers. They’ll start to solve two-step problems in context – such as using different methods to find the answer in a real-life scenario. By the end of Year 4, they should have memorised their times tables up to and including 12 x 12.

  • Count in multiples of 6, 7, 9, 25, and 100

  • Count backwards through 0 to include negative numbers

  • Round numbers to the nearest 10, 100, or 1,000

  • Recognise the place value of each digit in a four-digit number

  • Read Roman numerals up to 100 (I to C)

The picture below shows a triangles question appropriate for Year 4 on Atom.

A triangles question on a Year 4 maths learning journey on Atom

Year 5 maths

The Year 5 maths curriculum introduces percentages and the relationship between percentages, decimals and fractions. Children are taught to solve problems using increasingly large numbers, negative numbers, and numbers with up to four digits. They’ll also start using the formal written methods of long multiplication and short division.

  • Count backwards and forwards with positive and negative numbers

  • Read, write, order and compare numbers to at least 1 million

  • Round any number up to 1 million to the nearest 10,100, 1,000, 10,000 and 100,000

  • Read Roman numerals up to 1,000 (M)

Take a look at a Year 5 fractions question from Atom below.

An order and compare fractions question on a Year 5 maths learning journey on Atom

Year 6 maths

By the end of the Year 6 maths curriculum, your child should be able to solve multi-step problems using formal written methods and the four operations. They’ll be introduced to shape and scale factors and will start to use simple algebraic formulae. They’ll also learn how to draw and interpret pie charts and find the mean as an average.

  • Read, write, order and compare numbers up to 10 million

  • Round any whole number to a degree of accuracy

  • Use negative numbers in context and calculate intervals across zero

Here's an example Year 6 maths question on Atom.

An angles question on a Year 6 maths learning journey on Atom

Free KS2 maths worksheets

Download free English, maths and science worksheets to support your child's learning! Includes:

  • Year 3 place value

  • Year 4 place value

  • Year 5 factors

  • Year 6 factors

Download now

What are KS2 maths tests?

At the end of Year 6, children in England primary schools take Key Stage 2 Standard Assessment Tests, known as Key Stage 2 SATs. These tests are used to assess your child's knowledge of the KS2 curriculum and for the government to understand the quality of education across schools in the country.

Pupils take three maths SATs tests across two days in May:

  • Paper 1: arithmetic (30 minutes)

  • Paper 2: reasoning 1 (40 minutes)

  • Paper 3: reasoning 2 (40 minutes)

Find out more about the Year 6 SATs maths exam in 2024.

KS2 maths games to play at home

While your child will have structured maths lessons at school, there are lots of ways to stretch and challenge them at home.

Why not get the whole family involved in a board game night? Monopoly (suitable for ages 8+) involves counting money and calculating deals. This is a great way to build confidence using the four operations and solve problems using money.

Battleships (suitable for ages 7+) can help your child understand geometry. This game of strategy and logic requires users to get familiar with grids, graphs, coordinates and quadrants.

You can also help your child practise maths concepts through everyday activities around the home. Daily tasks such as shopping and cooking involve skills such as multiplication and division, percentages, fractions, and converting between units. Get more details and top tips in our guide to helping your child with maths at home.

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