With the introduction of curriculum 2014 we, at St Finbar’s, have made the transition in teaching methods to what is termed ‘Mastery Teaching’. This style of teaching has revolutionised the way in which maths is taught, learnt and viewed by all in the school. Since their introduction in Summer 2017, everyone is beginning to believe maths is a subject that they can achieve in and many children are being challenged to explore concepts in more depth.

We aim to provide a high-quality mathematics education with a mastery approach so that all children:

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics
  • reason mathematically
  • can solve problems by applying their mathematics.

We incorporate sustained levels of challenge through varied and high quality activities with a focus on fluency, reasoning and problem solving. Children are required to explore maths in depth, using mathematical vocabulary to reason and explain their workings. A rang of mathematical resources are used and children taught to show their workings in a concrete fashion, before establishing ways of pictorially and formally representing their understanding. They are taught to explain their choice of methods and develop their mathematical reasoning skills. We encourage resilience and acceptance that struggle is often a necessary step in learning.

How Maths is organised in our school

Teaching Maths for Mastery


Children are exploring and immersing themselves in maths from Nursery.  They are introduced to the basics of maths in a variety of ways. In the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), we relate the mathematical aspects of the children’s work to the Development Matters statements and the Early Learning Goals (ELG), as set out in the EYFS profile document. Mathematics development involves providing children with opportunities to practise and improve their skills in counting numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems, and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures. The profile for Mathematics areas of learning are Number (ELG 11) and shape, space and measures (ELG 12). We continually observe and assess children against these areas using their age-related objectives, and plan the next steps in their mathematical development.

There are opportunities for children to encounter Maths throughout the EYFS (both inside and outside) – through both planned activities and the self-selection of easily accessible quality maths resources. Whenever possible children’s interests are used to support delivering the mathematics curriculum. Towards the end of Reception teachers aim to draw the elements of a daily mathematics lesson together so that by the time they move to Year 1 they are familiar with the structure with a lesson/activity.

Key Stage 1 & 2  

The whole class works through the White Rose programmes of study at the same pace with ample time on each topic before moving on. The focus within maths lessons is on fluency and not speed. Children are encouraged to think carefully about mathematical problems, discuss and explain their understanding and learn from one another. The result is more fluent mathematicians with a deeper understanding of concepts and their inter-relationships and a group of children that have a firm foundation to build on and a more confident outlook towards the subject.

children who grasp concepts rapidly are challenged through rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration through new content. Those children who are not sufficiently fluent with earlier material should consolidate their understanding, including through additional practice, before moving on.

Concrete, pictorial and abstract – objects, pictures, words, numbers and symbols are everywhere. The mastery approach incorporates all of these to help children explore and demonstrate mathematical ideas, enrich their learning experience and deepen understanding. Together, these elements help cement knowledge so children truly understand what they have learnt.


  • ‘Know where their children are’ through the use of summative assessment, daily lessons and assessment tasks.
  • ‘Understand where their children need to be’ through a secure understanding of year group expectations and/or pre key stage expectations and ongoing formative assessment
  • ‘Know how they are going to get them there’ through the use of a range of strategies to promote independence, mastery and high expectations of ALL.
  • Effectively deploy adults, specifically during introductions, plenaries and catch-up sessions.


In St. Finbar’s, we believe that mathematics is a tool for life. It is an essential life skill that is used throughout our daily lives, but is also a powerful tool that can help us to understand and change the world. We aim to ensure that every child leaves school with high standards of numeracy as well as literacy, so that they have the best chance of succeeding in the modern world. Throughout our school community, we strive to promote a philosophy of ‘Numeracy for Life’ through our mathematical teaching and learning, giving children opportunities to solve problems and reason mathematically in real-life contexts, and making enriching mathematical links between all areas of the curriculum, future career choices, and real life events and situations.

We aim to ensure that all children:

‐ become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that children have conceptual understanding and are able to recall and apply their knowledge rapidly and accurately to problems

‐ reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language

‐ can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions

In our teaching of mathematics at St Finbar’s, we aim to:

· Inculcate an enjoyment and love of maths.

· Promote a philosophy of ‘Numeracy for Life’ through our mathematical teaching and learning.

· Enable children to have opportunities for mathematical thinking and discussion.

· Provide opportunities for children to demonstrate and use their mathematics.

· Provide a role-model by using maths for practical purposes, and organisational and administrative tasks.

· Give children opportunities to use maths in everyday situations and a problem-solving context.

· Help children to understand that mathematics is a powerful tool for communication.

· Instil confidence in using mathematics.

· Help children recognise that mathematics is a search for pattern and relationship.

· Instil a fascination for mathematics and the manipulation of numbers.

· Encourage children to take responsibility for their own learning.


National Curriculum Mathematics

Maths Curriculum Overview

Fun Maths Games to do for Free at Home

Top tips for Parents/Carers and families:

Be positive about maths. Don’t say things like, “I can’t do maths” or “I hated maths at school.” Your child might start to think like that themselves.

Point out the maths use in everyday life. Include your child in activities involving maths – such as using money, cooking and planning travel.

Praise your child for effort rather than talent – this shows them that by working hard they can always improve.

Useful Websites:

The Family Maths Toolkit is full of ideas to help Parents/Carers, families and children 13 years and under enjoy everyday maths activities together.

Multiplication Tables Support

Mathematical Challenges


Learning Support


“Mathematics is the most beautiful and most powerful creation of the human spirit.” – Stefan Banach, mathematician

“There should be no such thing as boring mathematics.” – Edsger Dijkstra, computer scientist

“Go down deep enough into anything and you will find mathematics.” – Dean Schlicter, mathematician