Mathematics overview and skills

The aims of the national curriculum in maths

The Mathematics programmes of study for key stages 1 and 2 describes the aims in full.  They are for all pupils to:

  •        have fast and accurate recall of facts to apply to different problems
  •        use mathematical language to explain what they know
  •        persevere to solve a variety of problems by applying their maths knowledge

A mastery approach (see image below)

We follow a mastery approach to maths. All children work on the same learning objectives at the same time. They study topics in depth rather than rushing onto new content. Rich and varied problem-solving activities can challenge pupils further.

Children first use concrete apparatus to represent a problem. They then draw the problem as a picture. Abstract thinking is the final level.

 The mastery approach has 5 key strands:

  • Coherence: building up concepts in small, connected steps
  • Representation and structure: using objects, pictures and abstract methods to solve a problem
  • Mathematical thinking: reasoning and making connections
  • Variation: approaching a concept in different contexts
  • Fluency: knowing number facts, times table facts, and calculation methods

How we learn maths

Each lesson begins with an ‘anchor task’. This is an activity which engages children in the learning objective. They explore maths problems using apparatus, revealing any misconceptions. We then explore and address these issues as a whole class. All children can then move on to an independent task. Children are encouraged to represent problems using more than one method. This builds self-confidence and resilience. Learning focuses on improving fluency (speed and accuracy), reasoning and problem-solving.

Early years

Our early years setting applies the mastery approach through hands-on learning.  Children explore patterns, shapes and numbers and talk about their mathematical thinking. They begin to record their ideas through mark-making and drawing pictures. Using real-life contexts children learn to make connections and spot patterns.


For further information please download our Skills Progression document.

The planning documents below show the progression of skills across the school for each area of mathematics.