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Last reviewed on 24 November 2020
Ref: 11860
School types: All · School phases: Primary

Set activities in class to help your Key Stage (KS) 1 pupils demonstrate 'mastery' in maths, reading and writing. Plus, get links to online resources.

What are 'mastery' standard activities?

Schools may define 'mastery' in different ways - see our other article to learn more about mastery in assessment.

Here, we take mastery standard activities to mean activities that reflect the skills in the Teacher Assessment Frameworks at the End of Key Stage 1, which sets out standards for English writing, English reading, mathematics, and science.

Aim for a combination of activities in each subject as it's likely a single one won't be sufficient. Choose activities that'll enable your pupils to practise the skills in the standards, and to extend their learning when they are comfortable with a topic.

Maths activities

Try the following activities:

  • Verbal mental maths games led by the teacher where pupils can recite their 2, 5 and 10 timetables confidently
  • ‘Fill in the gaps’ worksheets using mathematical signs such as ‘>’ and ‘=’
  • Role-play activities, such as ‘shop’ where pupils can confidently demonstrate the adding and subtraction of numbers
  • Online computer programmes, such as Minecraft, could be used when looking at 3D shapes and the properties of shapes
  • Simple class surveys so pupils can show they can total and compare categorical data

Where to find activities

You can find questions, tasks and activities in guidance published by The National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM).

There's examples for each year group, such as the ones on page 15 for year 2 pupils:

  • Dan needs 80g of sugar for his recipe. There are 45g left in the bag. How much more does he need to get?
  • The temperature was 26 degrees in the morning and 11 degrees colder in the evening. What was the temperature in the evening?
  • A tub contains 24 coins. Saj takes 5 coins. Joss takes 10 coins. How many coins are left in the tub?

There's also:

Please note that linking to these examples doesn't constitute an endorsement from The Key.

Reading activities


  • A ‘predictions’ activity on what will happen to characters in a story. This could be based on looking at previous stories studied in class and recalling what happened at the beginning, middle and end of the story
  • A presentation activity where small groups of pupils prepare a formal presentation on something they have read in class. Pupils should be able to demonstrate appropriate intonation, tone and volume when presenting
  • Reading comprehension activities based on challenging age-related texts
  • A dictionary activity where pupils will record any words they don’t understand in a text. The teacher will then be able to test the pupil on these words at the end of the week

Where to find activities:

Writing activities

Use the following ideas for pupils to demonstrate mastery in writing:

  • Get pupils to complete a long piece of extended writing. Pupils should concentrate on making sure that tenses, word choice, and grammar and punctuation are used correctly throughout
  • The teacher could read out a short story and ask pupils to write a summary of the main points from memory
  • Pupils could complete regular handwriting activities. Handwriting should always be legible at ‘mastery’ standard
  • An activity on drafting and planning an extended piece of writing

Where to find activities:


Maria Coles has extensive experience of senior management in primary schools. She has worked as a headteacher, school improvement consultant and inspector. She also provides training and mentoring for school leaders.

Sarah Searle-Barnes is a school governor. She has extensive experience of primary headship and performance management of staff.

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