At Durston House, the Mathematics syllabus is delivered with the help of up-to-date, varied resources. Mathematics is often perceived to be a difficult, theoretical pursuit.  Therefore, we focus on the practical application of the subject and endeavour to make it accessible to all. Through robust written work with emphasis on good mathematical structure and presentation, regular exercise of mental skills and exciting online work adapted to each boy’s ability, boys are prepared for the application of Mathematics in everyday life, whilst, at the same time, theoretical mathematical thinking and reasoning skills are stimulated. The boys are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning in a number of age-appropriate ways. All boys, in each part of the school, participate actively in Maths Day, carrying out a range of hands-on projects and investigations.


The boys study a number of strands within the Mathematics curriculum. The Number strand makes up approximately half of the curriculum and ensures that boys develop competence with whole numbers, learning to count, use place value, add, subtract and, informally, multiply and divide. Mental skills are developed to increase fluency in all areas. Measurement and Geometry are also taught, with due emphasis on using manipulatives and other concrete apparatus whenever appropriate. This enables boys to experience tangibly the manipulations that take place before moving on to abstract representations. The subject is also enlivened through practical work outside the classroom. We aim to give the boys a deep sense of the application of Mathematics in the real world.

Junior School

In Junior School, the boys continue to use concrete materials, manipulatives, and visual representations in order to build their confidence and develop a solid foundation for their mathematical understanding. There is also a growing emphasis on developing more abstract concepts and ideas, with a particular focus on formal written methods and the terminology used to describe the properties of number and shape.

The boys begin each school year with a general focus on place value and the four operations, including mental and written methods. They are then able to apply these skills to problem solving, working with units of measure, telling the time and dealing with money. Additionally, the boys generate, represent and interpret data and become familiar with the properties of 2-D and 3-D shapes. Throughout the year, there are opportunities to practise mathematical skills in a variety of contexts, including completing exercises from textbooks, experimenting with hands-on activities, using the laptops for online lessons, solving relevant day-to-day problems, and performing mathematical investigations.

Middle School

The 11+ ISEB syllabus forms the basis of the Mathematics curriculum in Middle School. It includes whole number and decimal calculations, measures, perimeter, area and volume, fractions, decimals and percentages, angles, statistics, transformations, factors and multiples, constructions of 2-D shapes including triangles, properties and nets of 3-D shapes, sequences, probability as well as ratio and proportion. Boys are gently introduced to algebraic thinking, building up their understanding of algebraic expressions, formulae, graphs and simple equations. They also apply their mathematical skills to everyday situations and take part in the Primary Maths Challenge. All pupils are actively encouraged to solve unfamiliar mathematical problems where they need to develop novel thought, drawing on their existing knowledge.

Upper School

The Mathematics Curriculum in Upper School contains all the topics of the 13+ ISEB Level 3 syllabus for Common Entrance (CE) and for Common Academic Scholarship Examinations (CASE). The boys’ knowledge and understanding, developed in Middle School, is now broadened and deepened. All boys also apply their mathematical skills to everyday situations and take part in the Junior Mathematical Challenge.

After completing the entrance examinations to their chosen senior schools, all boys are given the opportunity to explore how Mathematics is applied in a range of careers, including Finance and Banking, Business, Architecture, Science, Engineering, Economics, Social Sciences and IT Security.