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At Holmes Chapel Primary we teach a mastery approach in maths – with the belief that all children can acquire a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding through small steps of teaching.

The NCETM’s ‘Curriculum Prioritisation’ materials drive our curriculum and inform our long and short term planning. These materials are supported by the NCETM ‘Professional Development’ materials which inform our pedagogical knowledge, ensuring coherent and consistent teaching through school. The DfE’s ‘Ready to Progress’ documents ensure that we can see progression – what has come before and what will come next.  We use it to ensure that the children are secure in their prior knowledge and that new learning builds on from this. It is the tool we use in our pre and post assessment, ensuring teaching and learning is purposeful and relevant.

Concepts are taught through a concrete-pictorial-abstract approach to deepen understanding, so the children have a deep understanding of the mathematical concept before being taught abstract methods and concepts.


Lesson Structure

A Holmes Chapel maths lesson, or sequence of lessons, will follow the following structure:

Connections & Patterns

Connections and patterns develops children’s number sense (eg. If I know the answer to 3 x 3, how does this help me to calculate the answer to 30 x 30). It develops the ability to understand, relate and connect numbers. Connections & patterns builds children’s fluency (confidence and speed in arithmetic) and offers opportunities to practice mathematical procedures.

Bridging Back – sticky knowledge

Bridging back is an pportunity to practise and revise previous content – this can be what children learnt the day before, earlier in the unit, a previous unit, last term, or even last year!  Children know that they keep revisiting and practising so they never forget. Retrieval practise – children need the skills, knowledge and procedure in their long term memory so they can apply this in their new maths learning without taking up space in the working memory.


Hooks are stimulating problems designed to initiate dialogue and exploration around a new concept or objective.  They are an opportunity for teachers to assess (Assessment for learning) to identify any adaptations children may need to master the small step.

Maths Talk & Mini Tasks

This is exploring and practising the new maths concept or skill without the fear of getting it wrong! Children might work independently, in pairs or in groups. The mini tasks will provide a range of opportunities for the children to develop their fluency, problem solving and reasoning.



Independent Recording (Spins)

When teachers are confident the small step has been grasped, the children complete their independent recording.  The first questions will be the same or similar representations as in the mini tasks, then subsequent spins will assess the children’s ability to apply the learning flexibly.  This allows the teacher to assess depth of understanding and whether the children are ready to progress.

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 independently or through discussion with a peer (and where necessary, with the support of an adult)

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