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The Maths Approach at St Peter's 



“Mathematics is a creative and highly inter-connected discipline that has been developed over centuries, providing the solution to some of history’s most intriguing problems. It is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment. A high-quality mathematics education therefore provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.”

National Curriculum 2014


The aims of the 2014 National Curriculum are for our pupils to:

  • Become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics through varied and frequent practice with complexity increasing over time.
  • Develop conceptual understanding and ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
  • Reason mathematically; follow a line of enquiry, conjecture relationships and generalisations.
  • Develop an argument, justification, and proof by using mathematical language.
  • Problem solve by applying knowledge to a variety of routine and non-routine problems. Breaking down problems into simpler steps and persevering in answering.

The National Curriculum sets out year-by-year programmes of study for key stages 1 and 2. This ensures continuity and progression in the teaching of mathematics.


The EYFS Statutory Framework 2014 sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to five years old and supports an integrated approach to early learning. This is supported by the ‘Development matters’ non statutory guidance.



Maths Mastery 



The phrase ‘teaching for mastery’ describes the elements of intelligent classroom practice and the school organisation that combine to give pupils the best chance of mastering maths. Achieving mastery means acquiring a secure understanding of the mathematical concepts being taught which enable pupils to move on confidently to more advanced material, whilst mastering maths, means pupils acquire a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject.


“When we learn a new idea, an electric current fires in our brains, crossing synapses and connecting different areas of the brain. If you learn something deeply, the synaptic activity will create lasting connections in your brain.” (Boaler, 2016)


There a Five Big Ideas when adopting a Mastery Approach:


  • Quick recall of facts and procedures
  • The flexibility and fluidity to move between different contexts and representations of mathematics.
  • The ability to recognise relationships and make connections in mathematics
  • Understanding a wide range of strategies but choosing the most efficient approach when completing mathematical equations.



  • Mathematical structures are the key patterns and generalisations that underpin sets of numbers – they are the laws and relationships that we want children to spot.
  • Using different representations can help children to ‘see’ these laws and relationships.
  • Using representations that deliberately draw out misconceptions and expose the core structure of a mathematical concept.
  • Allowing children, the opportunity to use a wide range of concrete resources to support learning with the purpose if scaffolding them to pictorial and abstract representations.


VARIATION (Intelligent practice)

This is not using a variety of resources but making small adaptations to representations that help deepen understanding and challenge the learner.

  • Procedural variation – This is carefully adapted change in the type of examples used and questions set, to draw attention to certain features.
  • Conceptual variation – When a concept is presented in different ways, to show what a concept is, and what it is not, in many different forms.



  • Looking for pattern and relationships
  •  Logical Reasoning
  •  Making Connections
  • Providing the children ample opportunity to share their learning with peers to help them explain and question their understanding
  • Challenging children to support their answers with examples of proof and explanations.



  • Teachers should develop detailed knowledge of the curriculum in order to break the mathematics down into small steps to develop mastery and address all aspects in a logical progression. This will ensure deep and sustainable learning for all pupils.
  • Teachers will be aware of the children’s previous exposure to the skill being taught and understand the skills they will require to move through their year and beyond.
  • Children will have a clear understanding of the skills they are learning through all units of work and well self or peer assess at the end of each lesson

West Somerset Mental Calculation Progression

Mastering Number 

Supporting pupils in Reception, Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3 to develop good number sense


At St Peter's, we are involved in the Mastering Number project. This project aims to secure firm foundations in the development of good number sense for all children from Reception through to Year 1 and Year 2.  We have also made the decision to include Year 3 children in this project to mitigate the disruption that Covid has had.  The aim over time is that children will leave KS1 with fluency in calculation and a confidence and flexibility with number. Attention will be given to key knowledge and understanding needed in Reception classes, and progression through KS1 to support success in the future.


The short videos below give a flavour of Mastering Number happening with different age-groups. The teachers explain how the programme has benefited all pupils in their classes, providing firm foundations for later work in maths.