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Maths: Our Approach to Teaching Maths and Calculation Strategies

We use the Pearson Power Maths scheme for teaching maths from Year 1 to Year 6 which follows the mastery approach to learning.

At the heart of Power Maths is the belief that all children can achieve. It is built around a child centred lesson design that models and embeds a growth mindset approach to maths.


Power Maths is structured around a whole class interactive teaching model that focuses on helping all children to build a deep understanding of maths concepts and confidence in maths.

For each year group the curriculum strands are broken down into core concepts. These are taught in blocks of lessons giving sufficient time to develop a deep and sustainable understanding of core maths concepts. Each concept is broken down into lessons. Each lesson and concept builds on prior knowledge to help children build a robust and deep understanding of the concept before moving on.

Opportunities are provided for same day intervention if necessary and also for deepening activities if pupils master the concept.


Each lesson is divided up into:

  • A Power Up activity designed to support fluency in all key number facts.

  • Discover and share activity where children can share, reason and learn.

  • Children then consider solutions as a class, with partners and independently.

  • Children then get the chance to practice the skills learnt to build fluency and develop deeper understanding of mathematical concepts. Challenge questions link to other areas of maths and encourage children to take their understanding to a greater level of depth.

  • Children review, reason and reflect on learning.


In YR we use the White Rose Maths Hub Mastery planning for YR.

The Reception overview has been split into number and shape, space and measure. Each section starts with the Early Learning Goal (ELG). The development matters statements are used to break the ELGs down into smaller steps. This is to support the ethos of spending longer on some topics to ensure children have a deep understanding before moving on to the next topic. Each development matters statement has activity ideas that can be modelled in whole class sessions or placed in provision areas for children to access independently. There are also suggestions for adults to say to encourage children to reason.

We follow a Mastery approach to mathematics.


The principles and features which characterise this approach are:

• Teachers reinforce an expectation that all pupils are capable of achieving high standards in mathematics.

• The large majority of pupils progress through the curriculum content at the same pace. Differentiation is achieved by emphasising deep knowledge and through individual support and intervention.

• Teaching is underpinned by methodical curriculum design and supported by carefully crafted lessons and resources to foster deep conceptual and procedural knowledge.

• Practice and consolidation play a central role. Carefully designed variation within this builds fluency and understanding of underlying mathematical concepts in tandem.

• Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual and procedural knowledge, and assess pupils regularly to identify those requiring intervention so that all pupils keep up.


The intention of these approaches is to provide all children with full access to the curriculum, enabling them to achieve confidence and competence – ‘mastery’ – in mathematics, rather than many failing to develop the maths skills they need for the future. ‘National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics’.


Key features of the mastery approach


Curriculum design

Our maths curriculum is mapped out across all phases, ensuring continuity and supporting transition. The maths curriculum is designed in relatively small carefully sequenced steps, which must each be mastered before our pupils move to the next stage. It is important that fundamental skills and knowledge are secured first. This often entails focusing on curriculum content in considerable depth at early stages.


Teaching resources

Concrete and pictorial representations of mathematics are chosen carefully to help build procedural and conceptual knowledge together.

The focus is on the development of deep structural knowledge and the ability to make connections. Making connections in mathematics deepens knowledge of concepts and procedures, ensures what is learnt is sustained over time, and cuts down the time required to assimilate and master later concepts and techniques.


Teaching methods

Pupils work on the same tasks and engage in common discussions. Concepts are often explored together to make mathematical relationships explicit and strengthen pupils’ understanding of mathematical connectivity.

Precise questioning during lessons ensures that pupils develop fluent technical proficiency and think deeply about the underpinning mathematical concepts. There is no prioritisation between technical proficiency and conceptual understanding; in successful classrooms these two key aspects of mathematical learning are developed in parallel.


Pupil support and differentiation

Taking a mastery approach, differentiation occurs in the support and intervention provided to different pupils, not in the topics taught, particularly at earlier stages. There is little or no differentiation in content taught, but the questioning and scaffolding individual pupils receive in class as they work through problems will differ, with higher attainers challenged through more demanding problems which deepen their knowledge of the same content. Pupils’ difficulties and misconceptions are identified through immediate formative assessment and addressed with rapid intervention – commonly through individual or small group work.


Please use the links below to download a copy of our 2 PowerPoint Presentations showing our approach to teaching calculation strategies in school.