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Curriculum Design

at St Elisabeth's CE Primary School

Intent – why we teach what we teach

Our mathematics curriculum will give students the opportunity to become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately. Pupils reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language. Children can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and preserving in seeking solutions. We teach children to communicate, justify, argue and prove using mathematical vocabulary.

Implementation – how we teach what we teach

At St Elisabeth’s, the expectation is that pupils within each learning group will move through the scheme of work at broadly the same pace, with support and challenge in place to address the needs of all learners. We aim for each child to be confident in their learning, and develop their ability to apply their knowledge to build on previous years’ learning and develop a greater depth of understanding to solve varied fluency problems, as well as reasoning and problem solving.

We achieve this through the use of a bespoke curriculum in Nursery using Early Learning Goals. In Reception, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 we use the White Rose Maths scheme of learning, which has been updated for the 2022-23 academic year. White Rose Maths is influenced, inspired and informed by the work of leading maths researchers and practitioners across the world.

Our maths teaching follows an approach first developed in Singapore. Our curriculum addresses the aims of this mastery approach and provides lessons that have been carefully crafted as a result of mathematical research. The mastery approach is based on pupils being taught longer units of work over the course of the year to ensure that they have the time to cover the different areas of mathematics in more depth. Our curriculum adopts a spiral design with carefully built-up mathematical concepts and processes adapted from the maths mastery approaches used in Singapore. The Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract (C-P-A) approach forms an integral part of the learning process through the materials developed for this series.

Teaching for Mastery

Teaching for Mastery

Our curriculum incorporates the use of concrete aids and manipulatives, opportunities for building mathematical fluency, and reasoning and problem-solving.

The key ideas of a mastery curriculum include:

  • Coherence: small steps of coherent development are planned for within lessons.
  • Representation and Structure: mathematical concepts and problems are shown through the use of concrete, pictorial and abstract representations and attention is drawn to patterns and relationships.
  • Variation: questions asked within a lesson are structured carefully to draw attention to the patterns and relationships.
  • Fluency: planning enables pupils to become fluent by making sense of mathematical concepts rather than simply learning facts.
  • Mathematical Thinking: lessons are planned with opportunities for pupils to reason, solve problems and work collaboratively.


Long Term Plans for Maths

Our aim in mathematics is that pupils become fluent in the fundamentals of the subject. Over time we are aiming for children to have a conceptual understanding and are able to recall and apply their knowledge rapidly and accurately to problems. This method of teaching will develop children who are confident and competent in both number and measures.

The National Curriculum provides the guidelines and objectives to be taught from Reception to Year 6, and as a school our expectations and standards are set high to provide a challenge to all pupils.

A strong emphasis is placed on teaching mental arithmetic skills, calculation strategies and on children having a good knowledge of the number system, number bonds and multiplication tables.

Children will be given the opportunity to develop clear, logical and flexible approaches to activities and problems related whenever possible to real life situations in the world beyond the classroom.

Early Years

Our mathematics curriculum begins in the Early Years. Developing a strong grounding in number is essential so that all children develop the necessary building blocks to excel mathematically. Children should be able to count confidently, develop a deep understanding of the numbers to 10, the relationships between them and the patterns within those numbers. By providing frequent and varied opportunities to build and apply this understanding - such as using manipulatives, including small pebbles and tens frames for organising counting - children will develop a secure base of knowledge and vocabulary from which mastery of mathematics is built. In addition, it is important that the curriculum includes rich opportunities for children to develop their spatial reasoning skills across all areas of mathematics including shape, space and measures. It is important that children develop positive attitudes and interests in mathematics, look for patterns and relationships, spot connections, ‘have a go’, talk to adults and peers about what they notice and not be afraid to make mistakes.

Key Stage 1

The principal focus of mathematics teaching in key stage 1 is to ensure that pupils develop confidence and mental fluency with whole numbers, counting and place value. This should involve working with numerals, words and the four operations, including with practical resources [for example, concrete objects and measuring tools]. At this stage, pupils should develop their ability to recognise, describe, draw, compare and sort different shapes and use the related vocabulary. Teaching should also involve using a range of measures to describe and compare different quantities such as length, mass, capacity/volume, time and money. By the end of year 2, pupils should know the number bonds to 20 and be precise in using and understanding place value. An emphasis on practice at this early stage will aid fluency. Pupils should read and spell mathematical vocabulary, at a level consistent with their increasing word reading and spelling knowledge at key stage 1.

Lower Key Stage 2

The principal focus of mathematics teaching in lower key stage 2 is to ensure that pupils become increasingly fluent with whole numbers and the four operations, including number facts and the concept of place value. This should ensure that pupils develop efficient written and mental methods and perform calculations accurately with increasingly large whole numbers. At this stage, pupils should develop their ability to solve a range of problems, including with simple fractions and decimal place value. Teaching should also ensure that pupils draw with increasing accuracy and develop mathematical reasoning so they can analyse shapes and their properties, and confidently describe the relationships between them. It should ensure that they can use measuring instruments with accuracy and make connections between measure and number. By the end of year 4, pupils should have memorised their multiplication tables up to and including the 12 multiplication table and show precision and fluency in their work. Pupils should read and spell mathematical vocabulary correctly and confidently, using their growing word reading knowledge and their knowledge of spelling.

Upper Key Stage 2

The principal focus of mathematics teaching in upper key stage 2 is to ensure that pupils extend their understanding of the number system and place value to include larger integers. This should develop the connections that pupils make between multiplication and division with fractions, decimals, percentages and ratio. At this stage, pupils should 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. With this foundation in arithmetic, pupils are introduced to the language of algebra as a means for solving a variety of problems. Teaching in geometry and measures should consolidate and extend knowledge developed in number. Teaching should also ensure that pupils classify shapes with increasingly complex geometric properties and that they learn the vocabulary they need to describe them. By the end of year 6, pupils should be fluent in written methods for all four operations, including long multiplication and division, and in working with fractions, decimals and percentages. Pupils should read, spell and pronounce mathematical vocabulary correctly.

Scaffolding Learning

We follow the aims and philosophy of the New National Curriculum as detailed below:

‘The expectation is that the majority of pupils will move through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace. However, decisions about when to progress should always be based on the security of pupils’ understanding and their readiness to progress to the next stage. Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly should be challenged through being offered rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration through new content. Those who are not sufficiently fluent with earlier material should consolidate their understanding, including through additional practice, before moving on.’

When a child has a very specific SEN they should have differentiated planning written by the class teacher and adapted to support their needs. The White Rose Maths scheme supports the scaffolding process enabling teachers to embed the previous learning easily and build on this is subsequent lessons. This enables the provision for SEN children to be matched to their needs appropriately.

All classrooms contain a bank of easily accessible resources for children who have additional needs. These resources will be specifically chosen to support learning in a current unit of work. It is expected that some resources will be universally used across all units (multiplication squares, number lines etc.). These resource banks support children and promote independence during maths lessons.

All children access Quality First Teaching and only if this does not meet their needs would an intervention be planned and carefully monitored. When a child has secured an objective, they should be taught to apply their skills through reasoning and solving problems.

Assessment, Working Walls and Books


Maths book are marked every lesson by the class teacher or some pieces of work (where appropriate) can be self-marked by the children. This formative assessment informs planning and identifies where more in depth learning may be required. At the end of each block of work, each child will complete an end of block assessment. This helps teachers to identify gaps in learning and assess which national curriculum objectives each child has achieved. At the end of each term, teachers record summative data on SIMs (target tracker).

Working Walls

Unlike traditional wall displays, working walls are interactive and can be used to record, visualise and assist learning. Maths Working Walls allow children to see written methods for calculations, while absorbing the mathematical language used in a particular area of the subject. They are interactive and include differentiated challenges for children so that learning is extended for children of all abilities. At St Elisabeth’s, we intend to use working walls as a guide to children that can always be referred to, to support learning.


We intend our maths books to capture the learning that has taken place in the lesson. For this reason, it is very important that different approaches to learning and clear progression can be seen. Books should showcase a love of maths so evidence of engaging problem solving should exist in the books alongside more formal practice such as arithmetic. It is important that the child’s voice is also evident in our books. This can be achieved through allowing the child to reflect on their understanding by completing reasoning activities on a regular basis.

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