St Michael's Primary School

Together we achieve


Statement of Intent


It is our intent that mathematics inspires, engages and challenges pupils and we aim to develop key skills to enable all children to become fluent and confident mathematicians. We will support and encourage all children to understand the number system, calculate, reason, solve problems and enjoy Mathematics regardless of starting points and strive to enable their good progress through high quality teaching and learning. Mathematics is an essential life skill and at St Michael’s Primary School we want our children to leave our school as competent and confident mathematicians, prepared for the next step in their mathematics education. We aim to develop mathematical knowledge and understanding through using the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) Mastery approach to learning. To promote mathematical development across all ages, children are given access to high quality teaching and practice materials in order that they progress in their fluency, reasoning, understanding and application. We want children to develop mathematics as a transferrable skill, applying their understanding to a range of real life situations.



A mastery approach demands that the curriculum is delivered in small steps. Mastering maths means pupils of all ages acquiring a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject. The phrase ‘teaching for mastery’ describes the elements of classroom practice and school organisation that combine to give pupils the best chances of mastering maths. Achieving mastery means acquiring a solid enough understanding of the maths that’s been taught to enable pupils to move on to more advanced material.


What is teaching for mastery?

Mastering maths means pupils of all ages acquiring a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject. The phrase ‘teaching for mastery’ describes the elements of classroom practice and school organisation that combine to give pupils the best chances of mastering maths. Achieving mastery means acquiring a solid enough understanding of the maths that’s been taught to enable pupils to move on to more advanced material.


The Five Big Ideas underpin teaching for mastery in both primary and secondary schools.



Lessons are broken down into small connected steps that gradually unfold the concept, providing access for all children and leading to a generalisation of the concept and the ability to apply the concept to a range of contexts.

Representation and Structure

Representations used in lessons expose the mathematical structure being taught, the aim being that students can do the maths without recourse to the representation

Mathematical Thinking

If taught ideas are to be understood deeply, they must not merely be passively received but must be worked on by the student: thought about, reasoned with and discussed with others


Quick and efficient recall of facts and procedures and the flexibility to move between different contexts and representations of mathematics


Variation is twofold. It is firstly about how the teacher represents the concept being taught, often in more than one way, to draw attention to critical aspects, and to develop deep and holistic understanding. It is also about the sequencing of the episodes, activities and exercises used within a lesson and follow up practice, paying attention to what is kept the same and what changes, to connect the mathematics and draw attention to mathematical relationships and structure.

Mathematics in the Early Years


In Reception, we take on the mastery approach to mathematics. Children explore mathematics through play, group and whole class sessions throughout the day. We develop the children’s number sense to allow children to apply the skills that they learn to any number that they come across. By learning the oneness of 1, the twoness of 2 and so forth, the children are able to recognise numbers in a range of contexts and representations. They recognise not only the numeral but also the patterns of these numbers in a dice, a set of tallies, fingers and even money. Children take their number skills and apply them to different contexts and areas.


During their time in Reception, children learn to count objects and actions in a range of different settings using ‘one-to-one correspondence’ where they are able to count each object in a set once with one touch per object. In Reception, children learn what the purpose of counting is and are able to identify the last number that they counted when counting out a group of objects from a larger amount. Children are taught to use full sentences to explain their knowledge and understanding to themselves and others. Children’s fascination of number often leads the learning, they are able to explore concepts of addition, taking away and counting on through real life problems that they come across in their day-to-day lives.

Mathematics in Key Stages One and Two


In KS1 and KS2, St Michael's has adopted a maths scheme called Power Maths to support our teaching of maths.


Power Maths is a resource that has been designed for UK schools based on research and extensive experience of teaching and learning around the world and here in the UK. It has been designed to support and challenge all pupils, and is built on the belief that everyone can learn maths successfully. The philosophy behind Power Maths is that being successful in maths is not just about rote-learning procedures and methods, but is instead about problem solving, thinking and discussing. Many people feel they were taught maths in a way that was about memorising formulas and calculation methods, then having to apply them without any real understanding of what or how these methods actually work. Power Maths includes practice questions to help children develop fluent recall and develop their conceptual understanding. Power Maths uses growth mind-set characters to prompt, encourage and question children. They spark curiosity, engage reasoning, secure understanding and deepen learning for all.


Each lesson has a progression, with a central flow that draws the main learning into focus. There are different elements, informed by research into best practice in maths teaching, that bring the lessons to life:


· Discover – each lesson begins with a problem to solve, often a real-life example, sometimes a puzzle or a game. These are engaging and fun, and designed to get all children thinking.

· Share – the class shares their ideas and compares different ways to solve the problem, explaining their reasoning with hands-on resources and drawings to make their ideas clear. Children are able to develop their understanding of the concept with input from the teacher.

· Think Together – the next part of the lesson is a journey through the concept, digging deeper and deeper so that each child builds on secure foundations while being challenged to apply their understanding in different ways and with increasing independence.

· Practice – now children practice individually or in small groups, rehearsing and developing their skills to build fluency, understanding of the concept and confidence.

· Reflect – finally, children are prompted to reflect on and record their learning from each session and show how they have grasped the concept explored in the lesson.


Power Maths is based on a ‘small-steps’ approach, sometimes called a mastery approach. This means that the concepts are broken down so that children can master one idea without feeling over-whelmed. There are a range of fluency, reasoning and problem solving questions in each lesson that are designed to support the different needs and confidence levels within a class, while at the same time fostering a spirit of working and learning together. Each lesson includes a challenge question for those children who can delve deeper into a concept.

Number Sense


Number Sense is a structured programme designed to give children strategies to help them remember addition and subtraction facts up to 20.  It is taught in Years 1 and 2 for 15 minutes a day.  Follow the link below for access to suggested activities to support your child with their Number Sense at home.



Intervention is prioritised to support children in achieving the relevant ready to progress criteria for their age by the end of the academic year so that they are ready for the next step in their learning. The rationale is that intervention is timely, thus enabling children to keep up with their peers, rather than having to catch up. The need for intervention is determined by teachers in response to a learner’s performance in a lesson or series of lessons and typically involves the revision of material covered in a small group or on a 1:1 basis, focusing on covering the material in small steps.


Children with a specific mathematical need referenced as a target on their IEP will have specialised intervention to support them in reaching that target.




The impact of using the mastery approach for mathematics is demonstrated through teacher assessment, termly standardised tests (PUMA) and end of key stage national standardised testing.


· EYFS Mathematics %

· KS1 Mathematics Attainment - Teacher Assessment

· KS2 Mathematics Attainment - SATs




Children will have a belief that they can succeed in Mathematics and make at least good progress in Mathematics from their last point of statutory assessment or from their starting point in EYFS.


Through mathematics, children are introduced to skills and thinking strategies that are essential in everyday life and that support learning across the curriculum.


Through mathematics, children will make sense of the numbers, patterns and shapes they see in the world around them and understand handling data in an increasingly digital world. This makes a crucial contribution to their development as successful learners.


Mathematics teaches children to look for patterns, use logical reasoning, suggest solutions and try out different approaches to problems. Mathematics offers children a powerful way of communicating. They will learn to explore and explain their ideas using symbols, diagrams and spoken and written language. Studying mathematics stimulates curiosity, fosters creativity and equips children with the skills they need in life beyond school.