Mathematics Overview and Skills

The aims of the national curriculum in maths.


The national curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately
  • 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


A mastery approach (see image at bottom of the page)

At Telscombe Cliffs Primary School we follow a mastery approach to maths. The aim of this approach is for all learners to move through the national curriculum objectives at broadly the same pace, studying topics in depth rather than moving quickly onto new content. Children are challenged through rich and varied problem-solving activities, rather than with new content. Where children may require additional support, concrete apparatus is used to represent and visualise a problem.


The mastery approach has 5 key strands:

-Representation and structure: using concrete resources, pictorial representations and abstract methods to solve a problem

-Mathematical thinking: reasoning and making connections

-Variation: approaching a concept in a range of different contexts

-Fluency: knowing number facts, times table facts, and calculation methods


How we learn maths

Each lesson begins with an ‘anchor task’, an activity which acts as a hook to engage children in the learning objective. This enables children to practically explore maths problems through the use of concrete apparatus, and allows the children to reveal any misconceptions they may have. These misconceptions are then explored and addressed as a whole class, in order to enable all children to then move on to an independent task. Children are encouraged to represent problems using multiple methods, building self-confidence, resilience, and problem solving skills. All children have the opportunity to access problems which relate to the three main strands of the national curriculum: fluency, reasoning and problem solving.


Early years

In our early years setting, the principles of the mastery approach are applied within the context of play and practical learning. Children are introduced to key models and images, which they will explore practically. In early years, children are encouraged to talk about their mathematical thinking, and begin recording their ideas through mark-making and drawing pictures. Maths learning in the early years is promoted through real-life contexts, where children can make connections and spot patterns.