Using Mathematics at Key Stage 3

Using Mathematics

Using Mathematics is the skill of applying mathematical concepts, processes and understanding appropriately in different contexts. Ideally, teachers will use relevant real-life situations that require mathematical thinking.

Across the curriculum, at a level appropriate to their ability, pupils should be enabled to:

  • choose the appropriate materials, equipment and mathematics to use in a particular situation;
  • use mathematical knowledge and concepts accurately;
  • work systematically and check their work;
  • use mathematics to solve problems and make decisions;
  • develop methods and strategies, including mental mathematics;
  • explore ideas, make and test predictions and think creatively;
  • identify and collect information;
  • read, interpret, organise and present information in mathematical formats;
  • use mathematical understanding and language to ask and answer questions, talk about and discuss ideas and explain ways of working;
  • develop financial capability; and
  • use ICT to solve problems and/or present their work.

Standards of pupil competency in numeracy can be measured through the Cross-Curricular Skill of Using Mathematics.

Using the Levels of Progression as a framework for progression in subjects other than Mathematics can help teachers to embed the skills of analysis, evaluation and using evidence effectively. All of these skills are referenced in the higher bands of GCSE and GCE assessment.

Assessing Using Mathematics

Assessing the Using Mathematics skills across the curriculum in a systematic and consistent way can help pupils to manage their own learning and to identify learning targets. It also helps pupils to connect learning from different areas of study. This will embed the independent learning that is desirable at GCSE and

See the Assess and Progress section for more detailed advice and guidance on assessing Using Mathematics.


For more information on Using Mathematics contact:

Gavin Graham
(028) 9026 1200 ext. 2658

Sheila Armstrong
(028) 9026 1200 ext. 2447

Treasa Hawksford
(028) 9026 1200 ext. 2619


Learning for Life and Work through Maths Using Mathematics across the Curriculum

Using Mathematics across the Curriculum Applying Mathematical Concepts to Real-World Examples (Units of Work)

Learning for Life and Work through Maths Learning for Life and Work through Maths

This resource gives Maths teachers the opportunity to deliver aspects of Learning for Life and Work in their classroom.

Levels of Progression for Using Mathematics

The Levels of Progression are set out in can-do statements. These show the continuum of skills that pupils should be able to demonstrate so they can build the numeracy skills needed for functioning effectively in life and the world of work. The Levels of Progression and the Expansion of the Levels of Progression are available from Using Mathematics at Key Stage 3 in the Assess and Progress section.

Financial Capability Microsite Financial Capability

This microsite provides information and educational resources that teachers will need to deliver effective lessons in personal money management. It aims to develop young people’s financial understanding, skills and confidence. This will help them to develop effective decision-making skills.

STEM – Incentivising Innovation through Using Mathematics STEM – Incentivising Innovation through Using Mathematics

This resource follows on from the success of our Incentivising Innovation programme in previous years. We worked with seven teachers from a variety of post-primary schools to find new and innovative ways to promote teaching and learning in Mathematics across the curriculum.

STEM Using Mathematics Tasks

The STEM Using Mathematics Tasks provide pupils with real-life contexts for exploring and solving problems. We have developed the three STEM tasks with support from local companies and post-primary schools.

Key Stage 3 Task Support System CCEA Task Support System

This system helps schools to develop teaching resources and create a bank of school-based activities.

The Task Writing Tool is a planning tool that generates a differentiated assessment grid for your pupils, in line with the skills you want to develop. It is a peer-to-peer support system that provides feedback from teams of experienced, practising teachers.

As well as supporting planning for learning in Using Mathematics skills, teachers have found it useful for embedding the skills of Self-Management and Working with Others. It is also useful for embedding the skills of peer and self-assessment by pupils.

Task and Exemplification Library

Our Exemplification Library for post-primary schools contains examples of pupil work that show the standards for Levels of Progression 1–7 in the Cross-Curricular Skills.

Each record of exemplification work in the library contains:

  • a piece of pupil work that has been assessed and assigned a level;
  • a commentary, which describes the evidence for that level;
  • the task or question the pupil has responded to; and
  • where appropriate, the accompanying pupil activity.

We advise teachers to look at the examples in the library and then develop their own assessment tasks that will meet their pupils’ needs.

To access the Task and Exemplification Library, go to Skills and Learning: Interactive Support. Teachers do not have to log in for the Task Library but they do have to log in for the Exemplification Library to access pupils’ actual work.