St Mary's

Catholic Primary School

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Maths at St Mary's

Benjamin Franklin: "No employment can be managed without arithmetic, no mechanical invention without geometry."



At St Mary’s, we have adopted a mastery approach to Mathematics in order to deliver the three aims of the National Curriculum, fluency, reasoning and problem solving. We enable our children to become confident mathematicians, by introducing concepts through a concrete-pictorial- abstract approach. We believe in promoting sustained and deepening understanding by employing a variety of mastery strategies, with teaching for conceptual understanding at the heart of everything we do. Our approach aims to provide all children with full access to the curriculum, enabling them to develop independence, confidence and competence – ‘mastery’ in mathematics in order to be independent mathematicians who are well equipped to apply their learning to the wider world. The Mathematics Mastery curriculum is cumulative - each school year begins with focus on the concepts and skills that have the most connections, and this concept is then applied and connected throughout the school year to consolidate learning. This gives pupils the opportunity to ‘master maths’, by using previous learning throughout the school year. These skills are developed by applying the 3 Dimensions of Depth to teaching and learning:

 1. Conceptual understanding

 2. Language and communication

3. Mathematical thinking


At St Mary’s, the concepts we teach are progressive, which builds up a child’s mathematical development over time, thus providing the children with the experiences and skills they need to be fluent in the fundamentals of maths, can reason mathematically and leave our school “number smart”. We ensure that maths skills are not simply taught and applied during maths lessons, but that they are used cross-curricular and children can apply it to their everyday lives, to give a purpose to their learning.



At the centre of the mastery approach to the teaching of mathematics is the belief that all pupils have the potential to succeed. They should have access to the same curriculum content and, rather than being extended with new learning, they should deepen their conceptual understanding by tackling challenging and varied problems. Similarly, with calculation strategies, pupils must not simply rote learn procedures but demonstrate their understanding of these procedures through the use of concrete materials and pictorial representations. At St Mary’s, we help children to develop their Mathematical language and communication skills by encouraging all pupils to answer mathematical questions in full sentences with a focus on the correct mathematical vocabulary and through the use of sentence stems for mathematical reasoning. Mathematical vocabulary is shared at the start of each lesson with an expectation that this is used during ‘Talk Tasks’ with their peers and throughout the lesson. One of the reasons we explicitly teach mathematical language and insist on all pupils using it in sentences is because of the complexity of the language required to be a competent and confident mathematician. Mathematics has a precise formal language, which is distinct from everyday language

During a lesson, teachers introduce a new concept or skill; this involves lots of mathematical discussion supported by concrete and visual representations on the whiteboard. Pupils are encouraged to use concrete apparatus and share ideas in groups or individually, to develop fluency and build confidence. Maths is taught on a daily basis and the use of ‘live marking’ allows staff to stretch children through challenging reasoning problems and offer effective interventions to children, who are struggling to understand the concept.


Each Mathematics Mastery lesson, is provided in a six-part lesson structure. The Dimensions of Depth underpin the six-part lesson. Each part provides opportunities to focus on conceptual understanding, language and communication and mathematical thinking for the mathematical concept being covered. The six-part lesson consists of:

 • Do Now: This is a quick five-minute task that all pupils can access without any teacher input as an introduction to the mathematics lesson.

• New Learning: The New Learning segment introduces the lesson’s main mathematical concepts.

• Talk Task or Let’s Explore: The Talk Task or Let’s Explore is a chance for all pupils to practise using mathematical vocabulary related to the lesson’s concept.

 • Develop Learning: This segment builds on the New Learning and develops a deeper understanding of the maths concepts of that lesson. It also addresses misconceptions or inaccuracies discovered during the preceding segment.

 • Independent Task: The Independent Task provides pupils with the opportunity to practise the learning from that lesson. This may be independently and/or in pairs/small groups.

 • Plenary: The Plenary segment recaps on the lesson, checking understanding and celebrating success.


Teachers may use a variety of these parts of the lesson, depending on the lesson being taught and the children’s understanding and development. This may be anything from a 3-part to a 6-part lesson.



At St Mary’s, our maths curriculum provides a consistent approach to the teaching of maths so that all of our children are provided with opportunities to improve their mathematical understanding and recognise relationships within the subject. If a pupil has a meaningful understanding of the maths they are learning, they will be able to represent it in different ways, use mathematical language to communicate related ideas and think mathematically with the concept. This will enable them to apply their understanding to a new problem in an unfamiliar situation. We aim to encourage our children to have a mindset where they believe that anyone can achieve. It is imperative that the children of St Mary’s leave our school with the vital mathematical understanding that will support their further education and life skills.



Maths is assessed through ongoing formative assessment through questioning, marking and Maths Meetings. We also have termly summative assessments using our in house assessments.

We have pupil progress meetings 3 x per year. From these discussions and our classroom practice, we identify children who need additional support. Wherever possible we address and close these gaps through first quality teaching and the use and direction of adults in the classroom.