Our Approach to Mastery in Maths


Embedding a Mastery Approach

Over the past years, we have introduced and embedded a mastery approach to develop consistency across school from Early Years to Key Stage 2. A large amount of time has been invested into developing this approach, including working closely with the North East Maths Hub to access a wide variety of training and development sessions, as well as working alongside a Hub Advisor.

CPA Approach
To support delivery of Mastery, we have adopted a CPA (Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract) approach. This is an effective approach that enables our children to develop a deep and sustainable understanding of Maths. This technique builds upon existing knowledge and supports progression to abstract concepts. All classes use a variety of concrete resources and pictorial representations to solve calculations and problems. These methods help children to build powerful connections between concrete, pictorial and abstract representations. We believe that children’s chances of success are maximised if they develop deep and lasting understanding of mathematical procedures and concepts.

Stem Sentences and Key Vocabulary
We have introduced stem sentences and key vocabulary across school. This gives children clear and consistent expectations as they progress through the Key Stages. Stem sentences encourage children to read, talk, write and answer questions in full sentences. Encouraging correct use of vocabulary raises standards and helps to develop mathematical literacy. Stem sentences are an essential part of the toolkit for teaching and learning primary school maths. Each new topic introduces specific vocabulary and concepts from the moment a child starts school, many of which are similar and easily confused.

White Rose Maths
Throughout school we use White Rose Maths to plan small steps for progression. The principles of White Rose support the delivery of Mastery for Maths and focus on developing mathematical fluency. Small, carefully planned steps are used throughout lessons to encourage opportunities to explore manipulatives through a CPA approach. We use the White Rose Maths scheme to develop our long-term and medium-term plans in order to create our curriculum in the best way to support our mixed-aged classes.

Although most children work in mixed ability pairs and groups, differentiation is evident within a variety of forms. Differentiation through outcomes, guided practice, scaffolding materials and modelled examples are used across school to ensure appropriate challenge and support are given to children. ‘Steps to Success’ stickers also clearly show differentiation, annotating levels of support and outcomes expected and achieved within lessons.

Early Years
Children are introduced to a mastery curriculum through a variety of number activities and practical tasks. Children work within a maths rich environment, where numbers, vocabulary and resources are clearly labelled for self-selection. Each week, carefully planned activities encourage children to use a variety of concrete resources. Children are encouraged to experiment with recording and use accurate labelling. Shape, space and measure tasks are embedded throughout the EYFS curriculum, identified in role play areas, free choice and lolly stick challenges. These are evidenced through observations and the children’s own recording. In the Summer term, Reception children are introduced to more formal maths lessons. These lessons encourage children to record using numerals and number sentences. These activities are all supported by concrete and pictorial resources.

Key Stage One
Children have unlimited access to a bank of mathematical manipulatives, available within the Maths area in each class. The children are encouraged to explore and investigate with a wide range of different representations and methods. Lessons are introduced within a real world context. Children work within mixed ability pairs and groups to explore and discuss lesson content. Throughout the lesson, opportunities are given for children to share thinking and model methods. Guided practice is used to teach varied pictorial and abstract representations, calculations and problem solving investigations. Children then work independently, in pairs and groups to apply new learning, using modelled methods, key vocabulary and stem sentences.

Lower Key Stage Two
Children are familiar with maths areas within the classroom. They have unlimited daily access to a maths work station and an additional working wall. The work station displays all available concrete resources and manipulatives, as well as helpful representation prompts. The working wall is updated in correspondence with the topic changes with modelled examples, key vocabulary and stem sentences. Children can confidently access these areas to support independent learning throughout lessons. Children sit in mixed ability pairs and work together to discuss tasks and practical activities. Children are given many opportunities to include mathematical talk within lessons, using key vocabulary and stem sentences, which are modelled around the classroom and by the class teacher. A ping pong approach is commonly used to maintain pace of lessons, balancing teacher input with child dialogue, tasks and investigations.

Upper Key Stage Two
Within the classroom, children have maths resources clearly displayed within drawers, readily available to access when needed. There is a working wall, displaying examples of modelled practice and celebrating children’s achievements within maths. Whiteboards and the classroom TV, are used to model representations, calculations and written methods. Children continue to use a CPA approach within lessons, focusing more on abstract elements. Children progress to applying their knowledge and skills to problem solving tasks and investigations. Stem sentences and key vocabulary are still clearly modelled and displayed and children continue to use these confidently throughout lessons and within peer and teacher discussions. Children continue to work in mixed ability pairs, individually and in groups, to complete tasks and independently access scaffolding resources when needed.