St. Patrick's Catholic Primary School

Making learning irresistible

Maths in School

Mathematics at St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School

Our aim is to equip all pupils with the skills and confidence to solve a range of problems through fluency with numbers and mathematical reasoning. Children are encouraged to see the mathematics that surrounds them every day and enjoy developing vital life skills in this subject.

At St Patrick’s Primary School we have been on a journey over several years in order to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics. There are several elements which have influenced improvements in attainment and these are best discussed in person with me during your visit. If you are taking a look around the school however, it may be useful for you to have a little advance notice of things you will see in lessons – things that may look different to other schools, or the way lessons/books looked a few years ago.

The three aims of the NC should be addressed every day (not just in the maths lesson) – Fluency – Reasoning – Problem Solving.


Mathematics Planning

In Years 1-6 we have introduced split lessons. This was initially a trial in Y1 and Yr5 and was so successful; we’ve extended it gradually.

  • Whole class together – we teach mathematics to whole classes and do not label children (this includes within the classroom). Lessons are planned based on formative assessment of what students already know and we include all children in learning mathematical concepts. At the planning stage, teachers consider what scaffolding may be required for children who may struggle to grasp concepts in the lesson and suitable challenge questions for those who may grasp the concepts rapidly. Decisions are not made about who these children may be prior to the lesson.
  • Longer and but deeper – in order to address the aims of the NC, our long/medium term plans have been adjusted to allow longer on topics. Each lesson focus is on one key conceptual idea and connections are made across mathematical topics. To outsiders it may appear that the pace of the lesson is slower, but progress and understanding is enhanced. Our assessment procedures recognise that the aims of the curriculum cannot be assessed through coverage (ticking many objectives off a list) but through depth within a topic.
  • Key learning points are identified during planning (collaboratively in year groups) and a clear journey through the maths should be shown on Smartboard files (also reflected on working walls). Teachers do not produce separate paper plans for lessons as the flipchart clearly shows the plan for each lesson and we prefer teachers to spend time on collaborative lesson creation rather than creating paper plans for monitoring purposes.

Questions will probe pupil understanding throughout and responses are expected in full sentences, using precise mathematical vocabulary.

  • ‘Tricky bits’ are identified during the planning process and children will be supported through these
  • Fluency – We recognise that ‘fluency’ is not just about remembering facts and develop all aspects of fluency through lessons, this is clear to see when looking at Smartboard files. Fluency with basic facts - there is a whole school focus on developing an instant recall of key facts, such as number bonds, times tables and unit + unit addition facts. Regular homework, Numbergym activities and parent workshops support this.


Lesson Structure

  • Exploration - instead of ‘Let me teach you…’ as a starting point, children are encouraged to explore a problem themselves to see what they already know. At the beginning of each lesson this exploration is referred to as the ‘anchor task’. Lesson objectives are not shared with the children at the beginning of the lesson, because we want the children to reason for themselves. At some point from the middle or even at the end of the lesson, the children will be asked what they’ve been learning that day. Children will write a ‘LO’ in their books, but this may not look like a NC learning objective (visitors wanting to see these should refer to the lesson Smartboard files).
  • Develop reasoning and deep understanding (contexts and representations of mathematics) – problems are usually set in real life contexts - carefully chosen representations (manipulatives and images) are used by all to explore concepts. These representations will appear in books as children show their understanding, rather than answers to a series of calculations. The use of practical resources, pictorial representations and recording takes place in every lesson (the CPA approach).
  • Structuring - the teacher will organise the findings of the exploration, compare/contrast strategies and guide toward the most efficient strategy (or the one being learnt that day).
  • Step by step approach – journey through the mathematics (these steps may appear small, especially at the beginning of a lesson, there are points when suddenly a jump appears to have been made, or an extra challenge appears – this is normal). The Smartboard files clearly show this step by step approach – we recommend you look through a flipchart with a teacher/maths leader to discuss this.

Questions to challenge thinking – teachers use questioning throughout every lesson to check understanding – a variety of questions are used, but you will hear the same ones being repeated; How do you know? Can you prove it? Are you sure? Is that right? ‘What’s the value? What’s the same/different about? Can you explain that? What does your partner think? Can you imagine? Listen out for more common questions you hear. Questions are also used to challenge children who have grasped the concept. Children are expected to listen to each other’s responses and may be asked to explain someone else’s ideas in their own words, or if they agree/disagree etc.

NB: Due to the episodic style of the lessons with frequent questioning, lessons may appear to move slower than in the past. There will be more talking and less recording in books.

The recording that does take place however, shows greater depth of understanding and intelligent practice. We do not want children to attempt independent recording until we believe they are secure with the concept. We do not want them to practise errors, therefore teachers may decide to have a guided group working with them in a lesson (the TA may circulate).

  • Discussion and feedback – pupils have opportunities to talk to their partners and explain/clarify their thinking throughout the lesson, but are expected to complete written work independently (unless working in a guided group with the teacher).
  • Journal - recording the learning – not just pages of similar calculations – in Y1 – Y6 maths journals are used. Journals were introduced into Y5 last year and allows the children to reflect on their learning. They can also be used to record methods used. We are developing the use of journals and regularly compare our journals with those from other schools on the Mastery Specialist Programme.
  • Reflecting - this may be linked to use of the textbook – images on the IWB may be from the textbooks – you are unlikely to see textbooks in use in the classroom, except with a guided group, but they are used by teachers during the planning and preparation stages.
  • Practising - not drill and practice but practice characterised by variation – in year groups using Maths No Problem, this is done in the workbooks, in other year groups it will be recorded in maths books, supported by detailed medium term plans & ongoing CPD.
  • Rapid intervention (same day catch up) – in mathematics new learning is built upon previous understanding, so in order for learning to progress and to keep the class together pupils need to be supported to keep up and areas of difficulty must be dealt with as and when they occur. We do this through same day interventions of 20 minutes in the afternoon (whilst others are completing independent work). In addition, we still run intervention sessions outside of the maths lesson for some targeted children.
  • Marking – the marking policy for mathematics acknowledges the different style of teaching in maths, and follows the NCETM guidelines published April 2016. The policy requires that learning is ticked and a comment is only made if/when a teacher feels this is necessary to move learning forward. Highlighting some of the work shows if the learning objective has been achieved. Extension tasks may appear for individual children in their books, these may be marked, FIX IT, REVISIT IT and PUSH IT. The most valuable feedback is given during a lesson. Children are encouraged to use green pens for self/peer assessment.
  • SEN pupils – may be supported by additional adults, different resources, differentiated activities. They will also complete additional activities outside of the mathematics lesson

Many thanks for showing an interest in our mathematics teaching, we do hope you find your visit useful and welcome any feedback.


Faye Eldon

Maths Lead

November 2016

September 2016 - Math Policy

St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School

*Why is maths important?

  • Teaching and Learning
  • Assessment
  • Governor Involvement
  • Parental Involvement
  • Monitoring and Evaluating Procedures



Mathematics equips pupils with the uniquely powerful set of tools to understand and change the world. These tools include logical reasoning, problem solving skills and the ability to think in abstract ways.

Mathematics is important in everyday life. It is integral to all aspects of life and with this in mind we endeavour to ensure that children develop a healthy and enthusiastic attitude towards mathematics that will stay with them. We want children to enjoy and talk confidently about what they are doing in mathematics.

At the centre of the Mastery approach to the teaching of Mathematics is the belief that all children have the potential to succeed. They should have access to the same curriculum content and, rather than being extended with new learning, they should deepen their conceptual understanding by tackling challenging and varied problems. Similarly with calculation strategies, children must not simply rote learn procedures but demonstrate their understanding of these procedures through the use of concrete materials and pictorial representations.


The calculation policy outlines the different calculation strategies that should be taught and used in each year group in line with the requirements of the 2014 Primary National Curriculum.



St Patrick’s use the 5 Big Ideas approach to teaching Mastery. We have high expectations for all children and using this model ensures that the children have a good understanding of number and mathematical concepts.


Representation & Structure – Providing opportunity for the children to use CPA resources in their learning.

Mathematical Thinking – Making connections between the maths they learn.

Variation (conceptual/procedural) – This allows children to make connections and to experience different concepts and strategies for the same topic.

Fluency – Children have a strong understanding of table and number facts.

Coherence – Children are learning in small connected steps to make their mathematical journey easier to understand.


Planning of mathematics ensures continuity and progression across all year groups and key stages

Our pupils should:

· have a sense of the size of a number and where it fits into the number system

· know by heart number facts such as number bonds, multiplication tables (Yr4) , doubles and halves

· use what they know by heart to figure out numbers mentally

· calculate accurately and efficiently, both mentally and in writing and paper, drawing on a range of calculation strategies

· recognise when it is appropriate to use a calculator and be able to do so effectively

· make sense of number problems, including non routine problems, and recognise the operations needed to solve them

· explain their methods and reasoning using correct mathematical terms

· Judge whether their answers are reasonable and have strategies for checking them where necessary.

· Suggest suitable units for measuring and make sensible estimates of measurements.

· Explain and make predictions from the numbers in graphs, diagrams, charts and tables.

· Develop spatial awareness and an understanding of the properties of 2d and 3d shapes.


Pupils are provided with a variety of opportunities to develop and extend their mathematical skills in and across each phase of education. Teachers extend children by developing their reasoning, problem solving and fluency skills, based on the topic they are working on.


The teaching of mathematics at St Patrick’s Primary School provides opportunities for:

· group work

· paired work

· whole class teaching

· individual work


Pupils engage in:

The development of mental strategies

· written methods

· practical work

· investigational work

· problem solving

· mathematical discussion

· assessment for learning

· peer marking

· consolidation of basic skills and number facts



At St Patrick’s Primary School we recognise the importance of clear and focused planning. We follow the White Rose Hub Medium Term Plans from Year 1 to Year 6. Teachers plan the order of lessons and add notes to the 5 big ideas, as well as stem sentences they can use in each topic.

In addition to this the teachers use the NCETMs Teaching for Mastery books to support their activities and assessment.


Mathematics contributes too many subjects, and it is important the children are given opportunities to apply and use Mathematics in real contexts.

‘It is important that time is found in other subjects for pupils to develop their Numeracy Skills, e.g. there should be regular, carefully planned opportunities for measuring in science and technology, for the consideration of properties of shape and geometric patterns in technology and art, and for the collection and presentation of data in history and geography’.

We endeavour at all times to set work that is challenging, motivating and encourages the pupils to talk about what they have been doing.





· ensure progression in the acquisition of mathematical skills with due regard to the Primary National Mathematics Strategy and consequently the National Curriculum for mathematics

· develop and update skills, knowledge and understanding of mathematics

· identify inset needs in mathematics and take advantage of training opportunities

· keep appropriate on-going records

· Plan effectively for mathematics (with year group partners), liaising with manager when necessary. See planning file (teaching resources) for details of short, medium and long term planning procedures

· inform parents of pupils’ progress, achievements and attainment


Early Years


See Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage (Early Learning Goals) and Development Matters Teaching Programme. This is supported with Numicon and Mastery Long Term Plans.




As a staff we are aware of the importance of resources for use in the

classroom. Children become fluent in maths when they have lots of ‘hands on’ experiences. Therefore, children and staff draw on a wide range of practical resources in order to develop the conceptual understanding of maths; its structures and its relationships. This then helps children move smoothly to abstract representations and recorded methods. Good use of resources also helps to make things interesting. Numicon and Cuisenaire Rods are used in all year groups in St Patrick’s to help develop number sense.



Assessment is regarded as an integral part of teaching and learning and is a continuous process. It is the responsibility of the class teacher to assess all pupils in their class.


In our school we are continually assessing our pupils and recording their progress. We see assessment as an integral part of the teaching process and strive to make our assessment purposeful, allowing us to match the correct level of work to the needs of the pupils, thus benefiting the pupils and ensuring progress.


Information for assessment will be gathered in various ways: by talking to the children, observing their work, marking their work, etc. Teachers will use these assessments to plan further work.




We use assessment tasks from Kangaroo Maths, these assess against:

F – Fluency

R – Reasoning

M – Misconception

P – Problem Solving

A – Accuracy

We are currently using White Rose Hub Maths Tests to assess the children against the end of year objectives. (See Assessing Mathematics Booklet for further details)





At St Patrick’s school we encourage parents to be involved by:


· visiting them into school twice yearly to discuss the progress of their child

· inviting parents into school in the summer term to discuss the yearly report

· inviting parents to curriculum evenings or circulating information via newsletters when significant changes have been/are made to the mathematics curriculum

· inviting parents of Year 6 pupils to a meeting to support their children with SATs

· encouraging parents to help in classrooms

· Providing a ‘How to help at home’ and end of year objective booklets for all parents.




At St Patrick’s school we have an identified governor for numeracy and he/she is invited to attend relevant school INSET.


The numeracy governor visits the school regularly to talk with the subject leader.


The numeracy governor reports back to the curriculum committee on a regular basis.




The mathematics leader, along with the senior management team is responsible for leading mathematics through the school. This includes:

  • ensuring continuity and progression from year group to year group
  • providing all members of staff with guidelines and a scheme of work to show how aims are to be achieved and how the variety of all aspects of mathematics is to be taught
  • Advising on in-service training to staff where appropriate. This will be in line with the needs identified in the Development Plan and within the confines of the school budget
  • advising and supporting colleagues in the implementation and assessment of mathematics throughout the school
  • Assisting with requisition and maintenance of resources required for the teaching of mathematics. Again this will be within the confines of the school budget

Calculation Policy

Calculation Policy Overview