School year > Subject guides > Maths in Year 5 and 6

Maths in Year 5 and 6 (age 9–11)

Maths in Reception Maths in Year 1 Maths in Year 2 Maths in Year 3 and 4 Maths in Year 5 and 6

So, your child is now at the top end of the primary school. The focus is now on preparing them for the demands of the secondary school curriculum. At this age, here are some things your child is likely to be doing:

  • Reading, writing, ordering and comparing numbers up to 10,000,000 and determining the value of each digit
  • Rounding whole numbers and beginning to use negative numbers
  • Reading Roman numerals to 1000 and recognising years written in Roman numerals
  • Adding and subtracting numbers with more than 4 digits, using formal written methods
  • Multiplying and dividing numbers with up to 4 digits by two-digit whole numbers, using long multiplication and division
  • Identifying common factors, common multiples and prime numbers
  • Using the order of operations and solving multi-step problems
  • Comparing, ordering and simplifying fractions
  • Calculating with fractions and associating fractions with decimals and percentages
  • Solving problems involving ratio and proportion
  • Using simple formulae and expressing simple problems algebraically
  • Converting between units of measure and calculating with measurements, including time, area and volume
  • Drawing 2D shapes and recognising, describing and building simple 3D shapes
  • Drawing, identifying and measuring angles
  • Using tables, pie charts and line graphs
  • Calculating and interpreting the mean as an average

Different calculation methods

There are a variety of different calculation methods used in schools today. You may hear terms such as partitioning and place value. See the Jargon buster for further explanation of these terms and methods. Whatever method your child is taught at school, lots of practice at home using numbers and times tables in fun activities will be a great help. Our Fun activities section is full of maths games you can play together.

Assessment and progress

Children continue to be assessed informally throughout the junior years and this helps to inform the teachers’ planning so that they can support each child in the class.

  • In the last year of the primary school, children usually sit the standardised assessment task (SATs) or end of primary school test in mathematics; reading; grammar, punctuation and spelling in order to check their progress in preparation for secondary school.
  • There will also be teacher assessments of maths, reading, writing and science.
  • There will be open evenings or parent-teacher consultation meetings where you will have the opportunity to talk to your child’s teacher about their progress, but don’t wait for this if you have urgent concerns about your child's education.
  • If your child is finding maths tricky then extra support is usually provided by the teacher or specialist teacher, in consultation with you. This is often through small group work and may be in or out of the classroom. Your support and encouragement is hugely important but as ever, if you’re worried then do talk to your child’s teacher.

Find out more about the Key Stage 2 SATs >

Maths resources

Your child's school will probably use a number of different resources to help support children in their learning. Used effectively, these can really help your child enjoy their maths lessons and improve their learning. Along with textbooks, workbooks, worksheets and computer software, children may use practical, tactile resources to help them in their learning.

The concrete-pictorial-abstract (CPA) approach to teaching mathematics involves first introducing a skill by acting it out with real objects, then relating this hands-on experience to pictorial representations, and finally abstracting the situation using numbers and mathematical symbols. The ‘concrete’ stage could involve any everyday objects to be sorted and categorised. Other resources used to make mathematics more tangible in this way include unit cubes, number rods, number squares and number lines.

Numicon is a multi-sensory programme that uses lots of maths equipment such as Numicon shapes, to help children think, talk and investigate maths. Numicon helps children understand number ideas and number relationships which is essential for success in maths, from pattern and algebra to calculation. Children using Numicon learn maths in a hands-on way with lots of talking, experimenting and making connections. This leads to them feeling confident and enthusiastic about maths.

Maths Makes Sense provides a clear whole-school approach to maths. It has a unique learning system that makes maths easy for children to understand. The learning system makes consistent use of tangible objects such as cups, cards and sticks, combined with exaggerated physical actions and a special vocabulary for each symbol. Maths Makes Sense children have an active, spoken and visual image of each maths concept, which completely embeds understanding.

MyMaths Primary is a fully interactive online maths tool for primary school children of all ages and abilities. With a range of engaging games, lessons and randomly generated homework questions, MyMaths provides children with nearly limitless practice to hone their maths skills and access to content from home allows them to explore and revise concepts at their own pace.

How can I support my child?

  • Take a look at our Maths section for tips on developing maths skills
  • Lots of practice at home using numbers and times tables in fun activities is a great way to support your child.
  • Our Kids' activities section is full of maths games you can play together.

Fun maths at home >

Maths activities >

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