In our teaching of the national curriculum, it is our intention for our Maths curriculum to develop within our children the satisfaction of finding solutions to mathematical problems and the perseverance to try and improve without giving up by:

  • Providing small steps learning
  • Ensuring most children have mastered a concept before moving onto new learning
  • Providing timely interventions
  • Providing a depth of understanding of skills and concepts necessary to solve increasingly complex problems
  • Embedding the four rules of number
  • Using statistics, measure, shape and real life situations for the teaching and learning of the four rules of number
  • Understanding and using correct mathematical language to explain reasoning
  • Developing a range of strategies to problem solve such as the bar model
  • Challenging all children to an appropriate level and for some children to be challenged to a level that is beyond the expectation for their year group.
  • Using what is known to answer problems
  • Drawing on previous learning to answer a problem
  • Using pattern seeking to answer/solve problems



What does our Maths learning look like?



Within EYFS, the children are taught an early understanding of number through the NCETM Numberblocks materials.    

Number blocks is a highly effective visual way to introduce individual numbers and mathematical concepts to the children.  


KS1 and KS2

At Holmes Chapel Primary School, we adopt a teaching for mastery approach to our mathematics teaching and learning. To support our planning and provision, our mathematics curriculum is underpinned by the resources from the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM).


The DfE’s ‘Ready to Progress’ and the NCETM’s ‘Curriculum Prioritisation’ materials are used to inform our long term planning and sequencing; these materials ensure that our curriculum supports the required coherence throughout the year groups. The curriculum is designed to utilise small step progression through concepts, embedding a concrete-pictorial-abstract approach to present children with models and representations to deepen their knowledge and understanding.

The NCETM materials focus on pedagogy, not delivery, which enables our skilled teachers to use the materials to craft rich learning experiences rooted in the NCETM’s small steps.


We strive to ensure our provision is consistent and coherent throughout the primary phase, and so have adopted a lesson structure/session design (supported by our Holmes Chapel ‘mastery toolkits’), which has been developed by the Aspire Educational Trust’s maths team.


Lesson Structure

Bridging Back

Children are provided with questions to activate their prior learning, to ensure knowledge is embedded and secure. Links to prior learning are pacey components of the main session and often require pupils to work on whiteboards or participate in mathematical talk with their peers.

The important suggestion from research is that “retrieval practice” is more effective in helping children to use the information that they are bridging back to.


Connections & Patterns

Connections and patterns, within and across concepts, is an enquiry-based strand of our maths teaching which develops children’s number sense (ability to understand, relate and connect numbers). Connections and patterns builds children’s fluency (confidence and speed in arithmetic) and provides opportunities to practice mathematical procedures from previous units to consolidate knowledge. This may often be ‘whiteboard work’.


Hooks are stimulating problems designed to initiate dialogue and exploration around a new concept or objective.

These provide children with an opening stimulus and an opportunity to activate their mathematical thinking, mathematical talk and reasoning while collaboratively unpicking the problem.

The hooks lead into high quality class discussions, establishing and embedding key mathematical vocabulary.

The purpose of a hook is a question for children to discuss and briefly share with each other what they already know – to share their strategies and to let teachers know what their understanding and, more importantly, misconceptions, are. The discussion should be brief and the role of the teacher is to listen out for anything significant such as misconceptions.

Maths Talk & Mini Tasks

Children engage in collaborative or independent tasks in all maths lessons (mini tasks and maths talk). This will regularly include experiential opportunities such as: working with concrete resources, representing through pictorial representations or hands on activities.

Teachers set carefully designed questions which build in challenge and explore the concept or procedure in a variation of ways (known as intelligent practice, rather than mechanical practice or pages of calculations).

The purpose of mini tasks is to:

  • Teach new ideas in small steps.
  • Use a balance of explicit instruction / modelling and investigation depending on the level of understanding of the children.
  • Teach an idea and then get children to practice it themselves – in pairs, individually or in groups. There might be several “cycles” of this in the main part of the lesson.

Independent Recording (Spins)

Once children have had the opportunity to practice and apply their learning through mini tasks and rich mathematical talk, they will engage in their independent recording. The independent recording will assess children’s ability to apply the concept flexibly through a range of ‘spins’. We record mostly for formative assessment to identify what went well and what children have not quite understood.

Marking and Feedback

Children are given opportunities to review their errors and misconceptions and have the opportunity to review these, which is completed in a different colour. Children may do this independently or through discussion with a peer (and where necessary, with the support of an adult).


Provision Materials

To support the consistency and coherence of our curriculum, and to aid our teachers’ planning and provision, we have devised ‘Mastery Toolkits’ to provide staff with the necessary tools and resources to create their provision. The toolkits include the following documents:

  • Aspire Educational Trust ‘Connections & Patterns’ Document
  • Aspire Educational Trust ‘Writing Hooks & Spins’ Document
  • Core Representations Used In The Guidance Document
  • Gareth Metcalfe ‘I See Maths’ Reasoning Materials
  • Gareth Metcalfe ‘I See Maths’ Problem Solving Materials
  • NCETM Teaching for Mastery Year Group Documents
  • The NCETM Spine Materials


Children will complete ‘start of unit’ and ‘end of unit’ quizzes using the ‘Ready to Progress’ assessment questions. The start of unit quiz will focus on essential skills, knowledge and understanding that children need from the previous year group(s) to enable the teacher to ascertain the starting points and any gaps in knowledge. The end of unit quiz will use the ‘Ready to Progress’ assessment questions from the relevant year group.

Children’s end of unit quizzes will be used as a tool to inform interventions and teacher assessments/judgements (in triangulation with children’s engagement and success in their mini tasks, lesson contributions and independent recordings).

At the end of the academic year, Key Stage 2 children (Years 3-5) will complete summative assessments in the form of an arithmetic paper and two reasoning papers. The questions for these papers will also be taken from the NCETM ‘Ready to Progress’ materials. The purpose of these assessments will be to support Teacher Assessments and inform transitional/handover information but will not have a pass mark or scaled or standardised score.




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