Mathematics can provide pupils with powerful ways of exploring, investigating and understanding the world; for example, the skills of making comparisons, identifying differences, investigating relationships and establishing connections – important skills that extend across the entire curriculum. Mathematical skills encourage logical reasoning and, at later stages of mathematical development, the ability to think in abstract ways.

At the earliest stages of development, where thinking centres around concrete situations and events, pupils are supported to make sense of experiences and sensations through learning to recognise changes in patterns, quantity, space and time. Such experiences may help pupils to approach problems or novel situations flexibly, to move from random to trial and improvement responses and later to anticipate and predict. In this way mathematical skills and understanding build on the earliest perceptual and cognitive learning. Pupils are encouraged to use and apply their mathematical skills throughout each day, in meaningful situations. All pupils have at least three lessons of mathematics per week.