Maths- What’s it all about?

Intent- what are we trying to achieve with our curriculum?

At the heart of our Maths curriculum is a drive for children to be curious and confident with number. Children need to be inspired to explore and manipulate numbers and be taught to be reflective. We believe children should approach problems with a ‘can do’ attitude, tackling unknown problems with resilience. In Lower Key Stage 2, the emphasis is on securing an understanding of number and place value, with the expectation that children will be fluent in their tables by the end of Year 4. In Upper Key Stage 2, the emphasis is on extending their understanding of the number system and place value and applying this understanding to a range of complex problems. Through a well-planned Maths journey, children will be able to make connections, reason with confidence and have a true enjoyment and love of mathematics.

Implementation- how is our curriculum delivered?

At St Mark’s we follow the White Rose scheme of work. This helps to make sure that the coverage of Maths is consistent with the correct amount of time dedicated to each block. The White Rose scheme also provides resources for lessons. Teachers can use and adapt the ideas to suit them. These also incorporate a variety of visual models including bar models and part whole models. The way in which maths is taught has been based on the Shanghai model of maths mastery. The benefit of this approach is it caters for all styles of learners, ensures secure learning for higher attaining children and time and support for children that find Maths more challenging to keep up with their peers. There is an alignment with WP as they are also following both White Rose and teaching through a mastery approach.


The Mastery approach to Maths has 5 key features (Big Ideas)

Representation and Structure: It is important that all children see maths represented in a variety of ways, this builds on the CPA approach (Concrete, Pictorial and Abstract). Resources are used for all children and they move through CPA within a lesson.
Mathematical thinking: Through developing children’s mathematical vocabulary they are better able to talk about their ideas and processes. They can ‘prove’ how they know they are correct or reason why an answer is incorrect.
Fluency: Greater emphasis is placed on learning number facts by wrote including number bonds and all multiplication and related division facts.
Variation: This is multiple representations of what a concept is as well as what it is not. It is a carefully constructed small-step journey through the learning. Each question is designed specifically to get the most learning from the children linked to the learning focus.
Coherence: These four ideas all feed in to the final big idea of Coherence. This is where the above skills contribute to a true understanding of mathematics through making connections and promoting thinking. It develops an understanding of how and why mathematics works.

Impact- what difference is our curriculum making?

Mastery is a whole class teaching approach. As part of the learning sequence, children will be using manipulatives, drawings, diagrams and models as well as calculations to explore concepts and secure their knowledge and understanding. Children spend much longer than previously on core concepts to ensure that they are secure and embedded before moving onto new learning. Children who grasp concepts quickly will be encouraged to explore their learning to a deeper level through mathematical thinking, reasoning and problem solving. Children who are struggling to grasp concepts are not given easier work to do but are supported through targeted and immediate intervention or use of resources. The impact and difference the mastery approach has had so far, is all children are being given the chance to understand the maths, not just what they are doing, but why and how to do this, developing their understanding. Reasoning skills have also developed dramatically as each lesson has this incorporated within it and the Answer, prove, and explain model is used o structure answers (APE). Through teacher questioning throughout the lesson, children are given opportunities to use their reasoning skills, applying this to a variety of contexts. Teachers focus on higher order thinking questioning to deeper the children’s understanding of the maths behind the answers. All children are exposed to these questions and all children are given the opportunity to answer these through the whole class teaching approach.

What do Maths lessons look like at St Mark's?

We use the White Rose Maths scheme as a basis for our Maths lessons. However, we adapt this scheme to ensure it gives our children what they need: if we feel the children need more time on a certain area of Maths, we'll give it more time; if we feel that they have grasped concepts well and do not need as long as planned, we will prioritise. We adapt the scheme to suit the needs of our children. Here is the overview of coverage for each year group:

Year 3 – Autumn

Year 4 – Autumn

Year 5 – Autumn

Year 6 – Autumn


Here is our Calculation Policy that we follow. We use the White Rose Calculation Policy due to its progression of skills and focus on understanding of concepts.

Addition and Subtraction Calculation Policy

Multiplication and Division Calculation Policy


We also believe that problem solving and investigation skills are of vital importance to children, not only in Maths but across the curriculum and, indeed, life. Therefore, we focus on a particular area of problem solving each term, with discreet lessons each week. These skills are then utilised by the children in a range of situations including Maths, Science, English, History and even friendships! Here are our investigation focus areas for each term:

  • Term 1 - Finding All Possibilities
  • Term 2 - Finding Rules and Patterns
  • Term 3 - Logical Reasoning
  • Term 4 - Multi-step Problems
  • Term 5 - Visual Puzzles
  • Term 6 - Ordered Ways of Working


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