Mathematics

Over 190 teams compete each year in our two Maths Challenges for able mathematicians in Year 4 and Year 5.

These challenging and fun competitions are designed for teams of four mathematicians, and take place within one afternoon, beginning at 1.30pm and finishing by 3pm. There are a series of heats held throughout a term, and the winning team from each heat progresses to the grand final of their competition.

There are two elements to the competitions. The first is a crossnumber, which involves team members working together to solve as many clues of a mathematical crossword as they can. The second element is a relay race, in which the team splits into two pairs, with each pair having to solve a mathematical puzzle before passing on the next puzzle to the other half of their team.

The overall winner from each year group is awarded the Borcherds Shield, named after a former pupil of King Edward’s School who was awarded the Fields Medal, the mathematical equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

Further details on the entry requirements for each competition and how to enter a team are available below.

Year 4 Maths Challenge entry information

The Year 4 Maths Challenge takes place in the autumn term. Registration for the 2018-19 competition is now open.

It is the aim that some questions should challenge the children but there should be plenty that are accessible for all competitors. Apart from a reasonable level of numeracy, very little mathematical knowledge is assumed. However, it would be helpful if the children are familiar with:

  • What it means for a number to be divisible by another number.
  • What it means for a number to be a multiple of another number.
  • The meaning of the digits of a number.

An example Year 4 crossnumber, complete with instructions and solutions is available for download below. Please read the advice on the first page and pass it on to your pupils.

Example crossnumber – Year 4

Year 5 Maths Challenge entry information

The Year 5 Maths Challenge takes place in the spring and summer term.

It is the aim that some questions should challenge the children but there should be plenty that are accessible for all competitors. Apart from a reasonable level of numeracy, very little mathematical knowledge is assumed. However, it would be helpful if the children are familiar with:

  • Square numbers
  • Cube numbers
  • Square root
  • Prime numbers
  • The meaning of the digits of a number.

An example Year 5 crossnumber, complete with instructions and solutions is available for download below. Please read the advice on the first page and pass it on to your pupils.

Example crossnumber – Year 5

Maths resources
We are often asked, at the maths challenge, about resources that are suitable for challenging and extending able mathematicians and providing a similar level of challenge in the classroom as in the maths competition. See our maths resources page for some suggestions.



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