St Mary's Catholic Primary School

Live, Love, Believe


 Our intent:

At St Mary’s, we provide a high-quality maths education which lays the foundation for understanding the world, encourages the ability to reason mathematically and develops a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.


How do we teach maths?


Maths is taught daily throughout the school from our very youngest children in Reception who learn number recognition and counting through to our Y6 children who engage with more complex mathematical concepts and use their knowledge to solve increasingly complex problems.


Maths is taught in two parts. The first session of Maths is our Early Morning maths that focuses on basic arithmatic and 'mental maths'. We want our children to be confident and fluent with arithmatic and being able to calculate effieicntly using mental calaculation methods. 


Our second session of Maths focuses on developing three key skills:

  • FLUENCY - Where children can practice their mathematical knowledge quickly and efficiently. 
  • REASONING - where children can explain their answers mathematically
  • PROBLEM SOLVING - where children can apply their knowledge and skills tto a range of mathematical problems. 


By using this structure consistently right the way through to Year 6, children are encouraged to develop a line of enquiry which they can prove and justify using mathematical vocabulary and will deepen their knowledge and skills over time. By using both routine and non-routine problems that vary in complexity, children develop secure mental strategies and mathematical thinking that they will carry with them to solve real life problems in the classroom and beyond. 


Practise and consolidation are crucial to mathematics learning and at St Marys we believe that all Maths lessons should include this. Carefully designed variation within this builds fluency and understanding of underlying mathematical concepts in tandem.


Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual and procedural knowledge, and assess pupils regularly to identify those requiring intervention so that all pupils keep up and are able to feel confident with their mathematical skills. 


Teachers use the CPA approach (concrete, pictorial, abstract) to ensure that concepts are modelled to pupils using multiple representations. This ensures that procedural and conceptual understanding are developed simultaneously. 


We want all children to be able mathematicians and provide challenge for all but for those children who show a natural flair for the subject, they are challenged to solve multiple step and complex problems within lessons where they can make links to other areas of the curriculum and really flex that brain and mathematical thinking!


There are areas or “domains” in maths that children will develop their knowledge and skills in:

  • Number
  • Measurement
  • Geometry and statistics
  • Algebra and ratio (in Y6.)


These domains are not taught in isolation: for example, number (addition and subtraction) links with measurement (mm/cm/m/g/kg etc); number (division) with fractions. Many of the mathematical concepts taught link to other subjects – for example, statistics (graphs and charts) and measurement (weight/capacity/temperature) with science. We teach the concepts through a mix of practical activities, written tasks where children apply their knowledge to solve problems and mental calculations to develop mathematical fluency. These domains are also revisited throughout the year in a cyclical order so children have multiple times to pracice and apply their knowledge and skills (see Yearly overveiws below for more information)


Understanding Key Stages



Mathematics in the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum comes under two strands, each of which has an Early Learning Goal attached:-


Early Learning Goal - Have a deep understanding of number to 10, including the composition of each number; 

- Subitise (recognise quantities without counting) up to 5;

- Automatically recall (without reference to rhymes, counting or other aids) number bonds up to 5 (including subtraction facts) and some number bonds to 10, including double facts.

Numerical Patterns
Early Learning Goal - Verbally count beyond 20, recognising the pattern of the counting system;

- Compare quantities up to 10 in different contexts, recognising when one quantity is greater than, less than or the same as the other quantity;

- Explore and represent patterns within numbers up to 10, including evens and odds, double facts and how quantities can be distributed equally.


The Early Learning Goals define the level of development children are expected to attain by the end of the Reception year. The vast majority of pupils at St Mary's achieve these Early Learning Goals.


As with all other Areas of Learning, the teaching and learning of mathematics in our Nursery and Reception classes takes place both indoors and outdoors through a wide range of practical and "hands on" activities.

The staff use their knowledge and expertise to plan for a high quality learning environment which provides children with lots of opportunities to explore different aspects of number and shape, space and measures and learn new concepts. The children have a wide range of structured play resources available to them throughout the year - this is known as "continuous provision". The adults model the use of these resources and the appropriate mathematical language as they support the children in their play.


In addition to the opportunities for child initiated play indoors and outdoors, staff plan adult led activities for groups of children and individuals based on their observations of what children know and can do. They plan activities to address any misconceptions that have arisen and to introduce new concepts.



The key principle for maths in Key Stage 1 (Year 1 and Y2)  children is to establish a secure understanding of number and place value: this secure understanding and the ability to apply their knowledge of number and place value underpins every other aspect of maths taught and enables children to develop mathematical fluency across all domains and in subsequent stages of education. 



The principal focus of mathematics teaching in lower key stage 2 (Y3 and Y4)  is to ensure that children become increasingly fluent with whole numbers and the four operations, including number facts and the concept of place value. They develop efficient written and mental methods and perform calculations accurately with increasingly large whole numbers. Children develop their ability to solve a range of problems, including those involving simple fractions and decimal place value.


By the end of year 4, pupils should know their multiplication tables up to and including the

12x table and the associated division facts: for example, “If I know that 8x3 =24, I know that 24 ÷ 8 = 3 and that 24 ÷ 3 = 8” 

The principal focus of mathematics teaching in upper key stage 2 (Y5 & Y6) is extending children’s understanding of the number system and place value to include larger integers, developing the connections between multiplication and division with fractions, decimals, percentages and ratio. They also develop their ability to solve a wider range of problems, including increasingly complex properties of numbers and arithmetic, and problems demanding efficient written and mental methods of calculation, including the language of algebra.


By the end of year 6, pupils should be fluent in written methods for all four operations, including long multiplication and division, and in working with fractions, decimals and percentages.

In all year groups, the reading, spelling and pronunciation of mathematical vocabulary is key.