How Literacy and Maths are taught

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At a glance

How your child will learn to read, write and use numbers from primary school through to secondary school.

What are literacy and maths?

Learning to read, write and spell, together with general speaking and listening skills, are called Literacy at primary school. Learning about numbers is called Maths or Numeracy. Both subjects are very important for your child’s future, and will be taken throughout their school life to GCSE level.

The Literacy and Maths Frameworks

Since 1998, most primary school teachers have taught Literacy and Maths (or Numeracy) according to a framework laid down by central government. This requires an hour of Literacy teaching and an hour of Maths teaching each day

In June 2009 the government announced that from 2011 this framework would no longer apply, giving schools more freedom to decide how to teach Literacy and Maths.

It’s very likely, though, that the ideas underpinning the Literacy and Maths frameworks will continue in most schools.

Literacy at primary school

Of all the help you can give your child, the most important job you’ll probably do is helping with reading. That’s because learning to read is best taught on a one-to-one basis, so giving your child a bit of shared reading time every day will make a big difference.

Reading should be fun – that way it will be more effective. Here are some tips:

  • Talk about the story and the characters as you go along.
  • Let your child take over reading gradually – don’t push them into reading before they’re ready.
  • Visit the library and borrow books you enjoy reading together.
  • Choose subjects your child prefers - factual books or stories.
  • Look for words in everyday life, not just books. Read newspaper headlines, shop signs or menus in cafes

Maths at primary school

As with Literacy, talk about Maths as much as possible at home. Try to find examples in everyday life – such as using small change or measuring ingredients when cooking – to make Maths relevant and fun.

There’s a lot of focus on developing Mental Maths skills during Key Stage 1 (ages 4-7). You can help by practising times tables and asking for the answers to simple sums. You could also try to:

You could also try to:

  • talk about pocket money and what your child could buy with it
  • get your child to weigh the fruit and vegetables at the shops
  • measure your child’s height over time, and ask them to record how much they’ve grown

Literacy and Maths at secondary level

Literacy is called English at secondary level and together with Maths is compulsory to the age of 16 (Year 11). (This minimum age will go up to 18 in 2013.) Your child will have to take an exam in both subjects, usually a GCSE. This is because these two subjects are considered the basic building-blocks for a huge range of other skills in the workplace and everyday life.

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