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Mathematical expectations

Development in Mathematics will vary considerably across any class or age group due a number of factors including cognitive readiness, exposure to number concepts in early life, ability and willingness to memorise facts and processes, and the enthusiasm for number by parents.

Initially, one-to-one matching of objects to counting and numerals is followed by growing understanding of place value and the way numbers are split and combined. The process of algorithms (sums) is assimilated at the same time as number sense is developing and the process of algorithm manipulation reinforces understanding of base and place value. With number sense comes the desire to measure the environment and develop a sense of unit measures and their manipulation.

On a separate, more graphical plane of thinking, names and characteristics will be assigned to plane and three-dimensional figures with relationships of these geometrical constructs developing over time.

All aspects of mathematics are combined in the process of endeavouring to solve problems in the real world.

The following expectations were developed by the staff of the school to assist parents with helping their child in mathematics. These are not exhaustive lists of all that is expected of a pupil at each level, but are indicators of average ability achievement. These expectations will not be met by some children at some year level(s) just as others will exceed them at every year level.

By "average", we mean a child who we would expect to fall into the average ability range when compared to others of his/her age across the nation.

NB. The expectation of your child's teacher will be that your child keeps moving forward to the next ability level, no matter your child's current level of ability.

Mathematical expectations

By the end of Year 1, the average pupil will able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • recognise and write the symbol for all numerals
  • use ordinal numbers appropriately (1st, 2nd, ...
  • order a set of whole numbers up to 2 digits
  • write any given number up to 99
  • recognise the "+" symbol and explain it meaning
  • add single digit numbers using counting techniques and/or knowledge of addition facts
  • state the names of the days of the week in order


By the end of Year 2, the average pupil will able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • order a set of whole numbers up to 3 digits
  • can write any given number up to 999
  • can recall some addition facts up to 10 from memory
  • add whole numbers up to 2 digits, using an algorithm and regrouping as necessary
  • subtract 1-digit whole numbers from whole numbers up to 2 digits, using an algorithm and no regrouping
  • compare length, capacity and weight of objects and make comparative statements about them
  • tell the time on an analogue clock to the nearest hour


By the end of Year 3, the average pupil will able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • can read, write and identify parts of any given whole number up to 999
  • recall many addition and subtraction facts, although mental operations involving 6 - 9 may be unreliable
  • reliably recall multiplication facts for 2, 5 & 10, 11 times tables
  • add whole numbers up to 3 digits, using an algorithm and regrouping as necessary
  • subtract whole numbers up to 2 digits, using an algorithm as necessary, with no regrouping
  • measure objects using standard and non-standard units
  • order the months of the year and relate them to the seasons
  • tell the time on an analogue clock to the nearest quarter-hour

By the end of Year 4, the average pupil will able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • recall many addition and subtraction facts, although mental operations involving 6 - 9 will be less reliable/swift
  • reliably recall multiplication facts for 2, 3, 5 & 10, 11 times tables
  • add whole numbers, using an algorithm as necessary
  • subtract whole numbers up to 3 digits, using an algorithm as necessary, with some regrouping
  • identify and use cm, m, kg, l
  • order the months of the year and state the days in each
  • tell the time on an analogue clock to the nearest 5 minutes
  • recognise and draw a circle, square, rectangle and triangle
  • recognise and name a right-angle, an acute angle and parallel lines

By the end of Year 6, the average pupil will able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • recall all addition and subtraction facts
  • reliably recall multiplication facts for 2 - 6 & 10, 11 times tables
  • add, subtract and multiply whole numbers, using an algorithm as necessary
  • add and subtract decimal numbers with correct lining up of the algorithm
  • use symbols to indicate inequality
  • identify and use all common units of metric measure
  • tell the time on an analogue and digital clock, and calculate periods of time between two events
  • recognise common two dimensional figures and find their perimeter, and the area of regular plane figures
  • collect and graph data with assistance, and interpret a graph

By the end of Year 8, the average pupil will able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • reliably recall all addition and subtraction facts
  • reliably recall multiplication facts up to 11
  • add, subtract, multiply and divide any whole, decimal or fractional number, using an algorithm as necessary
  • add and subtract integers
  • find a percentage of a quantity
  • separate a quantity in a given ratio
  • use all common units of metric measure and convert between them
  • recognise common two and three dimensional figures and find their surface area and perimeter, and the area of regular plane figures
  • find the volume of regular prisms
  • collect and graph data appropriately, and interpret a graph
  • find the mean (average) and median of a data set

See also Mathematics learning objectives