“Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe.”

Galileo Galilei


At St Michael’s, we are on our ‘Mastery Journey’ to support a long-term, secure and adaptable approach to mathematics teaching supporting learners to become: resilient learners;  work efficiently by making effective links between concepts, facts and relationships; whilst adapting knowledge and skills to the wider world. Teaching is supported by “The Big 5 Ideas” where teachers use coherence, representation and structure, mathematical thinking, fluency and both conceptual and procedural variation to ensure effective learning.


At St Michael’s we believe that learning is a change in long term memory. We believe children learn best by having opportunities to revisit previous learning. We teach maths every day where learning time includes the practise and the development of factual, conceptual and procedural knowledge. We recognise regular learning and practise as essential in order to develop a rapid recall of number facts, efficiency in procedures and a deepened knowledge of mathematical concepts.

At St. Michael’s, the teaching of mathematics is underpinned by the following aims:

  • To develop conceptual understanding by using models, pictorials and concrete resources so that children understand the abstract mathematical concepts that they are learning.
  • To highlight and utilize relationships between concepts and procedures to develop efficiency.
  • To develop mathematical language to support learning and the ability to reason and justify.
  • To apply mathematical understanding to problem solving by breaking down problems into small steps and persevering in seeking solutions using a range of strategies.
  • To develop resilient children who are confident and enthused about mathematics
  • To provide ‘purposeful maths’ through application of mathematical skills and knowledge to the world around them.

Cultural Capital

As aforementioned, at St Michael’s we value the purpose in learning and the opportunity to develop a broad and rich awareness of the world around us. Here is an example of how our mathematics teaching contributes to the development of our learner’s Cultural Capital throughout their St Michael’s maths education.


Our maths curriculum design is based on principles derived from evidence through cognitive science:

Learning is most effective with spaced repetition.

Retrieval of previously learnt content is frequent and regular, which increases both storage and retrieval strength.

In addition to these principles, we also understand that learning is invisible in the short term and that sustained mastery takes high-quality teaching, sufficient coverage, time and effective practice . Therefore, maths in our school includes 3 timetabled slots a day for allocated teaching and practice: –

  • Retrieval Practice – Independent and guided practice of previously taught concepts, facts and procedures.
  • Fluency Development – A fast-paced recall of facts and arithmetic skills to develop fluency and efficiency.
  • Mastery Teaching – Units of teaching broken down into small, focused steps of learning to support learning, provide opportunity for practice and encourage purposeful application.

In Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), maths is one of the four specific areas. The Early Learning Goals for maths are:

  • Numbers – children learn to count and the value of numbers, higher and lower. These skills support them to solve problems, use money and calculate more or less.
  • Shape, Space and Measure – these skills support children to understand size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money and compare quantities, objects and solve problems.

Children learn about maths through play and their daily experiences. And the more meaningful to them and hands on it is, the better. Concrete manipulatives and pictorials are used to represent new concepts to the children supporting their conceptual understanding. The use of hooks and real life problems is used to support the deeper understanding of the mathematical concept. Both indoor and outdoor areas are full of mathematical opportunities including lots of exciting things for children to explore, sort, compare, count, calculate and describe. This ensures we support them to be creative, critical thinkers, problem solvers and to have a go.

In Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2), the focus of mathematics teaching is to ensure that pupils develop confidence (along with mental fluency) with whole numbers, counting and place value. Children work with numerals, words and the four operations, including practical resources and pictorial representations to deepen their understanding of the mathematical concept and the relationship between numbers. Children are encouraged to develop their problem solving skills throughout in order to develop a more systematic approach to mathematics. Regular discussions are had about different approaches to solving a problem and the efficiency of that process. Children are encouraged and challenged to use their understanding of number and other concepts to give, explain and justify their reasons behind a given result, supporting assessment of a child’s understanding.

In lower Key Stage 2 (Years 3 and 4), children become increasingly fluent with whole numbers and the four operations, including number facts and the concept of place value. They begin to develop efficient written and mental methods and perform calculations accurately with increasingly large whole numbers.

At this stage, children develop their ability to solve a range of problems, including simple fractions and decimal place value. They are provided with opportunities to draw with increasing accuracy and develop mathematical reasoning so they can analyse shapes and their properties, and confidently describe the relationships between them. They learn to use measuring instruments with accuracy and make connections between measure and number. Children are encouraged to use both concrete and pictorial representations (such as; bar models) to deepen their understanding of a new concept as well as support their interpretation of more complex problems and to support their reasoning of results.

Throughout all strands of the maths curriculum children are encouraged to ‘talk’  to explain their mathematical understanding, justify their answers in increasingly difficult real life and ‘NRich’ problems that encourage children to adapt a systematic approach to solve efficiently.

In upper Key Stage 2 (Years 5 and 6), children extend their understanding of the number system and place value to include larger integers. They further develop the connections between multiplication and division with fractions, decimals, percentages and ratio.

Children develop their ability to solve a wider range of problems, including increasingly complex properties of numbers and arithmetic, and problems demanding efficient written and mental methods of calculation. They are introduced to the language of algebra as a means for solving a variety of problems. Teaching in geometry and measures consolidates and extends knowledge developed in number. By the end of Key Stage 2 children should be able to classify and describe shapes with increasingly complex geometric properties using the correct mathematical vocabulary.

In the aforementioned strands, children are expected to solve complex problems with numerous steps and to provide detailed justifications to an answer in order to prepare the children for their upcoming SATs.

The knowledge and skills required to excel in this subject are set out in the maths long term plan and  progression document. This document includes: sequence of teaching and practice, mapped out Key Instant Recall Facts (KIRFs) exposure and focus of mathematical language, prioritised ‘ready-to-progress’ criteria, supportive resources and suggested broken down steps of teaching. This document has been created across the federation by the maths subject leads in partnership with the curriculum lead. Each member of teaching staff have access to the document as a supportive tool when planning in order to review previous learning; ensure a coherent curriculum outlining essential knowledge and skill development; and an accurate assessment tool.

Each class has their own Long-term plan.


The intended impact of our curriculum is that children build semantic and procedural knowledge in all strands of mathematics. We aim to provide relevant links so children will have a sound understanding of how maths works in the world around them. We provide rich opportunities to allow children to be  efficient in key mathematical skills and knowledge ensuring accuracy and systematic way as of thinking. Our core value of ‘endurance’ develops resilient mathematicians with an awareness of the vast links between all strands of mathematics. Rich practise of problem solving and reasoning prepares our learners with key transferable skills in wider areas of life.

Useful Websites

Our school have close links with the Archimedes Maths Hub with our maths lead also being the Assistant Maths Hub Lead and also a Mastery Specialist. All staff are provided with ongoing CPD to ensure the latest and most relevant training is provided to support our ongoing ‘Mastery Journey’.

Click for more information regarding the Archimedes Maths Hub

Additionally, we recognise technology as a vital tool to support teaching, practise and therefore the  learning of key mathematical concepts, procedures and facts. Here are the websites our staff use to support their planning.

Teacher Websites: –

Student Websites: –