Curriculum prioritisation in primary maths

A term-by-term framework to support planning and teaching

Primary KS1 KS2
Curriculum Mastery PD Materials
Curriculum prioritisation in primary maths

This resource provides coherent sequencing for the primary maths curriculum. It draws together the DfE guidance on curriculum prioritisation, with the high quality professional development and classroom resources provided by the NCETM Primary Mastery PD materials. There's a two-minute explainer video further down this page, and you can find a set of Frequently-asked Questions (FAQs) providing more information.

For each of Years 1-6, there is a mapping of the year's curriculum into around a dozen units. Each unit has a downloadable PowerPoint, with sequenced classroom slides, carrying comprehensive links to pages in the DfE Primary Mathematics Guidance, and to associated pedagogy and professional development in the NCETM Primary Mastery PD materials. Within each year group, there's also a set of assessment questions, arranged by ready-to-progress criteria, in a zip file download after the units.

Those involved in whole-school maths planning may find the Years 1-6 overview document useful (with full referencing to the DfE guidance and the NCETM Primary Mastery PD materials). You can also read the reflections of a maths lead after the first year using them.

The FAQs below are available to download in PDF format.


Click the mapping graphic for the relevant year(s) to download the more detailed map – you might like to print this. Download the PowerPoint file for the unit you are teaching. All the files have a common structure and include:

  • comprehensive links to the relevant sections of the DfE guidance and the NCETM Primary Mastery Professional Development materials, so you can see what’s covered. The teaching guidance in both documents will help with understanding how to best use the slides to shape your lessons
  • links to prior learning ‘ready-to-progress’ criteria – you should check that pupils are secure with these before starting the unit. It is important to spend time addressing any gaps before moving on
  • a full list of pupil outcomes
  • relevant classroom slides for each pupil outcome, with links to teacher guidance.

Our resource covers the full mathematics national curriculum (except for a few areas detailed below), but priority is given to those areas covered by the ready-to-progress criteria from the DfE guidance. These areas are given more time and appear earlier in the year.

Some content has been moved from one year group programme of study to another within the same key stage. This is to improve coherence and to align with the ready-to-progress criteria contained within the DfE guidance. This means that some slides from the NCETM Mastery Professional Development Materials will appear to be ‘out of year’ to allow for in-depth teaching at a more appropriate point.

Apart from 'Roman numerals' and 'Constructing and presenting data', all the national curriculum content is included within the key stage. We would recommend that ‘Roman numerals’ could be looked at in history, when teaching time, and through continuous provision. Aspects of ‘Constructing and presenting data’ can be addressed in other foundation subjects, where the data handling cycle can be applied in a relevant context, such as in science or geography.

Only the 11 and 12 times tables. Where there is time, we would recommend children learn these, but priority is given to 1-10 times tables.

No. This is not an off-the-peg resource, but one that teachers will need to work on. Many classroom slides are provided, but teachers will need to use their professional judgement and knowledge of their own pupils to decide which to use, and what to supplement them with, as well as the exact time needed. Teachers should also consider what additional resources they may need to support learning, such as manipulatives, intelligent practice, etc. The teacher guidance and pedagogy for each of the learning outcomes will support teachers’ professional learning and understanding.

Detailed pedagogical guidance on their use is linked at the beginning of each new outcome, so that teachers continue to develop professional judgement and understanding rather than delivering scripted off-the-peg lessons.

Rough suggestions are given for the intended length of each unit, but teachers are expected to adjust according to the needs and prior learning of their pupils. Similarly, whilst some outcomes might be covered in a single lesson, some will take longer. The sequence of outcomes will provide teachers with a clear progression of learning.

Yes. We have compiled assessment questions for each unit, based on questions in the DfE guidance. These can be used formatively or in low-stakes testing throughout the year. They're available to download by year group as a zip file from the individual Curriculum Map pages.

No. Where there are no suggested classroom slides, teachers can use their own resources, the NCETM National Curriculum tool and progression maps, or other high-quality resources they have access to.

Teachers should check what their pupils need for SATs, and dip into the post-SATs content where necessary. After SATs, these units can be covered in depth.

We have organised the Curriculum Prioritisation resource in year groups as the national curriculum has been organised this way. Teachers of mixed-age classes have taken various approaches to covering the curriculum with their pupils, and it is generally agreed that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution because the age range, size and context of mixed-age classes varies enormously. Our podcast interview with two very experienced teachers of mixed-age classes explores some different approaches that are being taken across the country.

Schools with mixed-age classes will find the Curriculum Prioritisation overview document useful to map out the conceptual journey. Schools may well use their existing resources and use the CP materials to support with subject knowledge and planning in small steps.

The Years 1-6 overview document (downloadable from this page) shows each year in an easy-to-view format, with each unit referenced to the relevant ready-to-progress criteria, and the NCETM Primary Mastery PD materials segment(s).