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Maths at Prince Rock

Maths at Prince Rock


Mathematics, a universal language that enables understanding of the world, is an integral part of the curriculum. Beyond the study of numbers, shapes and patterns, it also provides important tools for work in fields such as engineering, physics, architecture, medicine and business. It nurtures the development of a logical and methodical mindset, as well helping to inculcate focus and the ability to solve all manner of problems. Attainment in the subject is also the key to opening new doors to further study and employment.

Ofsted (2021) - Research Review Series: Mathematics


Intent of Mathematics Curriculum

At Prince Rock, we believe that mathematics is integral to all aspects of life and it is with this in mind we endeavour to ensure that children develop a confidence in their ability to approach a range of mathematical problems and make sense of our world. We aim not only to prepare our children for the next stage of their education but also to lay the foundations for successful lives after school and the jobs of tomorrow, which will require great levels of mathematical skills and an ability to think in depth mathematically in order to use technology that doesn’t yet exist. The aims of our maths teaching at Prince Rock are aligned with the three core aims of the National Curriculum (fluency, reasoning and problem solving): both in the mathematics lesson and across the curriculum. We recognise that pupils need to learn basic number facts and acquire fluency in procedures, alongside developing conceptual understanding if they are to be able to reason and solve increasingly complex problems in life and later in the workplace.


Implementation of Mathematics Curriculum

At Prince Rock, we’ve tried to combine the best of both ‘mastery’ and ‘spiral’ approaches in our curriculum. Our curriculum, follows many of the mastery principles:

  • Spending longer on topics to help gain deeper understanding.

  • Making connections (across units of work, across year groups, across subjects, etc.).

  • Keeping the class working together on the same topic.

  • A fundamental belief that, through effort, all pupils are capable of understanding, doing and improving at mathematics.


However, we also recognise that just spending a good chunk of time on a topic doesn’t mean that all pupils will ‘master’ it the first time they see it, and that they need to see it again and again in different contexts and in different years to help them truly develop their understanding on their journey to mastery, so we’ve built in the revisiting and reinforcing features of spiral curricula too. Throughout the school, we have high expectations of all our pupils. Therefore, we consistently endeavour to make the mathematics curriculum accessible to all pupils: moving them through the content of the programme of study at broadly the same pace. All children need a deep understanding of the mathematics they are learning in order that future learning is built upon firm foundations. As a result, there are aspects of teaching for mastery of mathematics which will be seen in every mathematics lesson at Prince Rock:


  • Positive attitudes - A positive attitude and sense of excitement towards mathematics.

  • C-P-A approach - Children learn through active enquiry and experiment using concrete materials, represent their mathematical ideas through images and follow a clear progression toward recording abstractly.

  • Representations - Children learn to use multiple representations.

  • Oracy - Communication, using precise mathematical language, is consistently modelled, expected and supported.

  • Independence - Independence is encouraged from all children and mistakes are seen as part of the learning process.

  • Calculation Methods - Fluency and flexibility in calculation methods are modelled, expected and supported.

  • Questioning - Adults use skilful questioning to reveal, probe and address misconceptions.

  • Rapid Graspers - Children who grasp concepts rapidly are challenged through a range of rich and sophisticated problems, which further will support and strengthen their depth of understanding of the particular concepts being studied as appropriate.

  • Scaffolding - Scaffolding is provided for children when required.

  • Interventions - Both pre and post teaching opportunities are used where necessary in order to promote all children towards being active and influential participants of the learning. In addition to this, responsive and planned for interventions are in place to help children keep up as well as catch-up.

  • Assessment - Purposeful and rigorous ongoing assessment identifies both mathematical concepts and children for additional support.

  • Curriculum Links - Mathematical skills are practiced and applied across the curriculum


Early Years Foundation Stage

In EYFS, teachers use the Reception White Rose scheme of learning which underpins the new Educational Programme for Mathematics (DFE July 2020). The scheme supports teachers to deliver a curriculum that embeds mathematical thinking and talk. Key mathematical concepts are revisited and developed throughout the year. Play based opportunities are carefully planned and provided by teachers. The learning environment both inside and outside, is set up to create a stimulating space where children feel confident, secure and challenged in their mathematical thinking. Learning experiences provide children with the opportunity to explore, use their senses and become independent in their mathematical learning.


Year 1 to Year 6

In Years 1-6, we follow the National Curriculum, using the White Rose schemes of learning for curriculum planning to ensure progression across the year groups. It is a scheme of work recommended by the DfE and NCETM (National Centre of Excellence for the teaching of maths), which promotes a mastery approach to mathematics. The White Rose overviews are designed to support a mastery approach to teaching and learning. In addition to this, they have been designed to support the aims and objectives of the National Curriculum.


The overviews:

  • have number at their heart. A large proportion of time is spent reinforcing number to build competency.

  • ensure teachers stay in the required key stage and support the ideal of depth before breadth.

  • ensure pupils have the opportunity to stay together as they work through the schemes as a whole group.

  • provide plenty of opportunities to build reasoning and problem-solving elements into the curriculum


The WR SOL helps children to become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, to be able to reason and to solve problems. It embraces these National Curriculum aims, and provides guidance to help pupils to become:


  • Visualisers – we use the CPA approach to help pupils understand mathematics and to make connections between different representations.

  • Describers – we place great emphasis on mathematical language and questioning so pupils can discuss the mathematics they are doing, and so support them to take ideas further.

  • Experimenters – as well as being fluent mathematicians, we want pupils to love and learn more about mathematics.


Lesson Structure

At Prince Rock, we have developed the key principles of NCETM’s recommended Essence of Maths Teaching for Mastery (appendix 1) principles, and our maths lessons incorporate the following:

  • Whole class together – we teach mathematics to whole, mixed-ability classes. 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 deepening learning opportunities for those who may 5 grasp the concepts rapidly. Decisions may not be made about who these children are prior to the lesson as we do not place a ceiling on learning.

  • Longer and 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 at times, but progress and depth of understanding over time is enhanced.

  • Key learning points are identified during planning (collaboratively in year groups) and a clear coherent journey through the maths is shown on both the plans and the lesson flipcharts. Teachers do produce separate plans for individual lessons as their lesson flipcharts and unit overview plan clearly show the learning journey: we want our teachers to spend time collaboratively considering and creating purposeful and coherent learning opportunities, rather than on writing individual plans for monitoring purposes.

  • Questions will probe pupils’ understanding throughout lessons and responses are expected in full sentences, using precise mathematical vocabulary.

  • Tricky bits and possible misconceptions are identified during the planning process and explicit opportunities made to address these within teaching sessions.

  • We recognise that ‘fluency’ is not just about remembering facts. Therefore, we develop all aspects of fluency and efficiency throughout maths lessons.

  • The main teaching activity should be whole-class based with everyone covering the same content. Children are generally taught in classes, not setting groups, in line with the mastery approach.

  • The role of teaching assistants in lessons is to directly mirror and support the class teacher. They will also be proactive during the main part of the lesson in supporting with ongoing assessment and development of the children’s understanding of the lesson focus.


Lessons Overview

Year R

4 x 20 minute sessions taught daily. 4 x 10 minutes NCETM Mastering Number project daily.*

*This is progressive throughout the year.

Year 1

5 x 50 minute sessions taught daily. 5 x 15 minutes NCETM Mastering Number project daily.

Year 2

5 x 50 minute sessions taught daily. 5 x 15 minutes NCETM Mastering Number project daily.

Year 3

4 x 1 hour sessions taught daily. 1 x 1 hour arithmetic lesson a week accompanied by 2 x 15 minutes arithmetic session per week.

Year 4

4 x 1 hour sessions taught daily. 1 x 1 hour arithmetic lesson a week accompanied by 2 x 15 minutes arithmetic session per week

Year 5

5 x 1 hour sessions taught daily. 5 x 15 arithmetic daily.

Year 6

5 x 1 hour sessions taught daily. 5 x 15 arithmetic daily.



At Prince Rock, we follow the Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract (CPA) approach. This approach is a system of learning that uses physical and visual aids to build a child’s understanding of abstract topics. Pupils are introduced to a new mathematical concept through the use of concrete resources (e.g. fruit, Dienes blocks etc). When they are comfortable solving problems with physical aids, they are given problems with pictures – usually pictorial representations of the concrete objects they were using. Then they are asked to solve problems where they only have the abstract i.e. numbers or other symbols. Building these steps across a lesson can help pupils better understand the relationship between numbers and the real world, and therefore helps secure their understanding of the mathematical concept they are learning. Every class has access to their own maths equipment as well as a wide range of resources in our maths area in order to implement this approach successfully.

Maths Team

The Maths Team is responsible for writing throughout the school and includes the following responsibilities:

  • Ensuring continuity and progression from year group to year group.
  • Working with the Learning Academies Trust Maths Team to develop team work
  • Advising on in-service training to staff where appropriate. This will be in line with the needs identified in the School Improvement Plan and within the confines of the school budget.
  • Advising and supporting colleagues in the implementation and assessment of maths throughout the school.
  • Monitoring the quality of planning, teaching and learning in maths across the school.
  • Providing all members of staff with the knowledge & skills progression document and calculation policy to ensure links and progressions are made within and between year groups.


Class Teacher

The class teacher is responsible for:

  • Ensuring progression in the acquisition of maths knowledge and skills with due regard to the National Curriculum for Maths
  • Developing and updating skills, knowledge and understanding of maths
  • Identifying needs in maths and take advantage of training opportunities
  • Keeping appropriate on-going records 
  • Planning effectively for maths, liaising with the Maths Team when necessary
  • Informing pupils and parents of their progress, achievements and attainment
  • Assessing maths using the appropriate assessments chosen for their year group