Everyone needs to learn mathematics. Reasons for this include it being a basic necessity in many aspects of our day to day life and essential in most areas of employment. 

An understanding of mathematics will help your child develop logical approaches to procedures and arguments. One day they may need to build a fence, make a pattern for a tee shirt, or budget for a holiday and without a good grasp of mathematics he or she may not be able to do these things.

Your child will be given opportunities to

“…work with and explore mathematical problems in ways that encourage them to be enquiring, systematic, creative, resourceful, self-reliant, and persevering. They will gain confidence and competence in the use of number, and will develop the skills of measurement, construction, and spatial interpretation. They will learn to collect, organise, and interpret data, to use apparatus, to generalise from patterns and relationships, and to think abstractly.”

The NZ School Curriculum Framework


As they progress through the school levels students will realise that math plays a part in a great many subjects where there is a need for calculation for estimation, quantitative research, measurement, decision making, for precise communication through symbols for graphs.

At secondary school teenagers learn to use their maths skills and knowledge in situations they are likely to encounter on a daily basis. They are taught to use the principles of mathematics in situations that are relevant to their lives.

Just as with English, literacy is hugely important; with maths, numeracy is key.

So what is numeracy?

Numeracy is basically numerical literacy. This means that to have good numeracy skills means you have an ability to reason and work with numbers and be able to use and understand other mathematical concepts.

In order to meet the numeracy requirements set down by universities students must gain 14 credits in Level One mathematics.

For more comprehensive information on numeracy read our Numeracy article.

What are the general aims of maths as a subject?

  • to help students to develop a belief in the value of mathematics and its usefulness to them, to nurture confidence in their own mathematical ability, to foster a sense of personal achievement, and to encourage a continuing and creative interest in mathematics;
  • to develop in students the skills, concepts, understandings, and attitudes which will enable them to cope confidently with the mathematics of everyday life;
  • to help students to develop a variety of approaches to solving problems involving mathematics, and to develop the ability to think and reason logically;
  • to help students to achieve the mathematical and statistical literacy needed in a society which is technologically oriented and information rich;
  • to provide students with the mathematical tools, skills, understandings, and attitudes they will require in the world of work;
  • to provide a foundation for those students who may continue studies in mathematics or other learning areas where mathematical concepts are central;
  • to help to foster and develop mathematical talent.


How does it all work?

There are two main areas of maths your teenager will be taught in – Mathematical Process and Knowledge and Skills. While these are two different areas of focus they are taught in conjunction with one another.

Mathematical Process Skills

There are three main process skills that are taught to teenagers. These are

  • problem-solving
  • developing logic and reasoning and
  • communicating maths ideas.

Knowledge and Skill

A teenager learning maths at NZ secondary school will be gaining knowledge and skills in

  • numbers
  • measurement
  • geometry
  • algebra and
  • statistics

As students move through the levels of secondary school they will learn a generic form of maths. This continues through till and includes Year 11 in most cases. It is beyond this point that, in most cases, students then begin to exercise some choice about the type of maths they continue to learn. This means they can choose to continue learning maths that is based in statistics.

The choice of which of these maths disciplines to continue with is often predicted by the course of study or career a student intends to take once they leave school.

Maths with Statistics

Mathematics and statistics uses symbols, graphs, and diagrams to model, analyse and interpret the world. Mathematics explores and uses patterns and relationships in quantities, space and time. Statistics explores and uses patterns and relationships in data.

Students who study maths with statistics learn to think creatively, critically, strategically and logically. They learn to do all of this while using maths skills and knowledge to solve problems they are likely to encounter in everyday situations.


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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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