What Your Child Learns in Key Stage 3 Maths

April 10, 2022
April 10, 2022 horizon

After the Year 6 SATs, your child will be entering the Key Stage 3 level for the next three years, starting with Year 7. At this point, most parents will start feeling like their children are overtaking them in maths knowledge. That’s because they are.

The curriculum in KS3 is more diverse and comprehensive, and the difficulty goes up a level. In KS3, maths is taught in ability sets. Children use mental and written methods, and at this level, they can also use calculators and ICT as spreadsheets.

The focus is on enhancing mathematical fluency, mathematical reasoning, and problem-solving at this level. The different maths topics that children will learn in KS3 include.


During the KS3 stage, students will go through various sub-topics in numbers. These will include;

  • Place values
  • Decimals, positive and negative integers and fractions
  • Prime numbers, multiples and factors
  • Adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing
  • Using conventional notation for the priority of operations
  • Powers and roots
  • Terminating decimals and their corresponding fractions
  • Percentages
  • Units of mass, time, length, money
  • Rounding up/down
  • Approximation and estimation
  • Using calculators and technology to solve problems

This broad topic serves as the basis of most of the other things students will learn in maths over the next three years.


In KS3, algebra will pop up a lot more often, and it will also get more challenging in the concepts and the diversity of the content that students will learn. Topics covered in algebra at this stage will include;

  • Using and interpreting algebraic notations
  • Substituting numerical values into formulae
  • Expressions, equations, inequalities, terms and factors
  • Linear equation
  • Understanding and using standard mathematical formulae
  • Simplifying algebraic expressions
  • Learning coordinates in all four quadrants
  • Approximate solutions to conceptual problems
  • Generating graphs from linear and quadratic equations
  • Linear equations
  • Arithmetic and geometric sequences

Ration Proportion and rates of change

  • Changing between standard units
  • Scale factors, scale diagrams and maps
  • Ratio notation
  • Expressing quantities as ratios or fractions
  • Solving percentage change problems
  • Direct and inverse proportion
  • Compound units such as speed, density and unit pricing

Geometry and Measures

A lot of what students will study in this sub-topic will include shapes, spaces and measuring. Topics covered will include;

  • Angles
  • Problems involving perimeter, volume and area
  • Interpreting scale drawings
  • Congruent triangles
  • Using a ruler and compass
  • Faces, surfaces and edges
  • Pythagoras’ theorem
  • Translations, reflections and rotations
  • Drawing and labelling using conventional terms and notations
  • asymmetry and transformation


Probability will be a new concept for students but not any less important. It will cover a variety of vital topics, including;

  • How to record, describe and analyse data from probability experiments
  • Venn diagrams, tables and grids
  • Theoretical sample spaces for single and combined events


In statistics, students are going to learn how to collect, record and represent various types of data. They will also learn new ways of manipulating the data depending on the problem. Some of the topics covered include;

  • Calculating mean, mode, range and median
  • Constructing and interpreting frequency tables, pie charts, bar charts, pictograms, vertical line charts, and pictograms
  • Describing mathematical relationships between two variables

Functional Maths 

In KS3, the focus is not only on learning new mathematical concepts or skills but also on how students can transfer those math skills to solve everyday situations in the working world. Subjects like statistics will play a geometry will play a critical role in students who pursue careers in architecture or related fields. The same is the case for students that pursue other careers.

Maths and Other Subjects

During KS3, expect to see maths pop up in some subjects. Following up as closely as possible with maths will go a long way in helping with these other subjects. Some of the subjects you can expect a lot of maths involvement include physics, chemistry, biology, geography, business studies and ICT.

Key Stage 3 Maths Exams

As you would expect, KS3 also has its fair share of tests and exams. However, the student is now well beyond the formative years. Therefore, most of the exams are up to the individual school to decide on. These could be tests, coursework, or a more formal exam paper. However, this is something that the school decides, not a national exam board.

This means the exams will have less pressure because the exams are less formal. These tests are vital for teachers, pupils, and parents to monitor how the pupil is doing academically. The tests and exams show the student’s understanding of the subject and help identify any problem areas for the students to start preparing for GCSE.