A new National Curriculum came into effect from September 2014, and the Department for Education no longer expects schools to use levels when assessing pupils’ attainment.

Because of these changes, the information below is out of date.  We are working on new materials to help you support your child.  In the meantime, it would be good idea to think about the information and ideas listed below for the next year group – so if your child is in Year 2, look at the information for Year 3 / 4 (Level 3).

If you’re unsure about how to support your child, please ask a teacher in school.


Maths levels

Some key characteristics of the different levels of maths are shown below. You can use these to support your child, but they should not be used to make a decision about what level your child is working on because they are not the sole criteria. It’s important to stress that pupils should develop their knowledge and understanding of maths through practical activities, whilst cooking, shopping and even playing sports, for example. Playing board games is a brilliant way to support your child in maths!

Working at Level 1

Children can:

  • Recognise and use a simple pattern or relationship, e.g. make patterns with Smarties, like pink, pink, green, pink, pink, green etc.
  • Count, order, add and subtract numbers when solving problems involving up to 10 objects and can read and write the numbers involved, e.g. count some orange Smarties and some green Smarties, and then count how many altogether
  • Use everyday language to describe properties and positions, e.g. ‘straight’, ‘under’, ‘next to’
  • Measure and order objects using direct comparison, and order events, e.g. ‘bigger than’, smallest’
  • Sort objects and classify them, demonstrating the criterion they have used, e.g. try sorting toys into soft / not soft and fruit into those you can / can’t eat whole

Working at Level 2 (a typical Year 2 child)

Children can:

  • Count sets of objects reliably
  • Use mental recall of addition and subtraction facts to 10 and to 20. These are often called number bonds, e.g. 3 + 7 = 10, 6 + 4 = 10, so 10 – 7 = 3, 10 – 6 = 4 or 13 + 7 = 20, 6 + 14 = 20, so 20 – 7 = 13, 20 – 6 = 14
  • Know the 2, 5 and 10 multiplication tables and work out the associated division facts, e.g. 5 x 6 = 30, so 30 ÷ 6 = 5
  • Order numbers up to 100, e.g. write the price on different products and then your child can put the objects into the correct order
  • Solve addition and subtraction problems
  • Use mental calculation strategies to solve number problems involving money and measures, e.g. how much change will you get, or how much is left if you use half of the milk
  • Recognise sequences of numbers, e.g. odds, evens, counting in 5s, 10s
  • Use mathematical names for common 3-D and 2-D shapes and describe their properties, e.g. a cube has square faces, a triangle has three sides and three vertices (corners)
  • Use non-standard and standard units to measure length and mass, e.g. compare the length of tables or mats by measuring in toy cars (non-standard) or standard units (centimetres)

Working at Level 3 (a typical Year 4 child)

Children can:

  • Know (without having to count up) all the multiplication tables and work out the associated division facts, e.g. 7 x 6 = 42, so 42 ÷ 6 = 7
  • Show understanding of place value in numbers up to 1000, e.g. roll four die: what’s the biggest / smallest number that can be made? Try to make this into a competition!
  • Recognise negative numbers, in contexts such as money and temperature, e.g. check the temperature each day during winter weather!
  • Solve whole-number problems involving multiplication or division, including those that give rise to remainders
  • Use simple fractions that are several parts of a whole and recognise when two simple fractions are equivalent, e.g. when you slice a cake or pizza, compare 1/4 and 2/8
  • Use standard metric units of length, capacity and mass, e.g. do some measuring (of lengths and capacities) and weighing – you could check that a carton of juice really does contain 200ml, and work out what the average weight of an apple is
  • Be able to tell the time

Working at Level 4 (a typical Year 6 child)

Children can:

  • Use their understanding of place value to multiply and divide whole numbers by 10 or 100, e.g. 47 x 10 = 470, 56 ÷ 10 = 5.6
  • Use multiplication and division facts up to 10 x 10 (a Year 4 objective) to work out bigger numbers and decimals, e.g. 7 x 8 = 56, so what’s 70 x 8 and 0.7 x 8?
  • Know square numbers, e.g. 2 x 2, 6 x 6, 9 x 9
  • Find fractions of an amount, e.g. 1/8 of 56 = 7, so what is 5/8 of 56?
  • Be able to use a calculator quickly and carefully
  • Estimate and measure angles using a protractor
  • Use and interpret coordinates, e.g. have a game of Battleships!
  • Do lots of practical measuring using metric units and then convert between units (such as 2.75 litres = 2750 ml, 108 cm = 1.08 metres, 4050 g = 4.05 kg), e.g. take a range of objects, estimate how much they weigh, and then weigh them – do the estimates get closer as you get more used to the different weights?
  • Find perimeters (the total length around a shape) and areas (length x width) of simple shapes, e.g. find the area of each bedroom, work out the perimeter of different tables

Working at Level 5

Typically, children can continue to practise the ideas given for Level 4, but at a quicker, more careful and more challenging level. For example:

  • 407 ÷ 100 = 4.07, 5.06 x 100 = 506
  • 7 x 8 = 56, so 70 x 80 = 5,600
  • Know square roots such as 64 = ? x ?