All pupils should become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and are able to recall and apply their knowledge rapidly and accurately to problems. (National Curriculum, 2014)

Mastery approach

At the centre of the mastery approach to the teaching of mathematics is the belief that all pupils have the potential to succeed.  Children should all have access to the same curriculum content and, rather than being extended with new learning, they should deepen their conceptual understanding by tackling varied and challenging 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 to ensure fluency and depth of understanding.

The principle of the concrete-pictorial-abstract (CPA) approach is that for pupils to have a true understanding of a mathematical concept, they need to master all three phases. Reinforcement is achieved by going back and forth between these representations. Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly should be challenged through rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration through new content. Those pupils who are not sufficiently fluent with earlier material should consolidate their understanding, including through additional practice, before moving on.

There is also an emphasis placed on instant recall of number bonds and times tables. These need to be mastered to aid with calculations and more challenging problems as well as in readiness for the Multiplication Test at the end of Year 4. We use the Times Tables Rockstars website to support children in the learning of times tables in a progressive way.

Please view the below documents to see what is expected in each year group.

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