(Taken from the National Curriculum)

Mathematics is a creative and highly interconnected discipline that has been developed over centuries, providing the solution to some of history’s most intriguing problems. It is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment. A high-quality mathematics education therefore provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.

The national curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including 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

  • reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language

  • 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 persevering in seeking solutions

Mathematics is an interconnected subject in which pupils need to be able to move fluently between representations of mathematical ideas. The programmes of study are, by necessity, organised into apparently distinct domains, but pupils should make rich connections across mathematical ideas to develop fluency, mathematical reasoning and competence in solving increasingly sophisticated problems. They should also apply their mathematical knowledge to science and other subjects.

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.


We follow the Mathematics Mastery scheme at St Joseph’s. 

What is mastery?

The ‘mastery approach’ to teaching maths is the underlying principle of Mathematics Mastery. Instead of learning mathematical procedures by rote, we want pupils to build a deep conceptual understanding of concepts which will enable them to apply their learning in different situations.

“In mathematics, you know you’ve mastered something when you can apply it to a totally new problem in an unfamiliar situation.”
Dr. Helen Drury, Director of Mathematics Mastery

The Mathematics Mastery curriculum is cumulative - each school year begins with a focus on the concepts and skills that have the most connections, which are then applied and connected throughout the school year to consolidate learning. This gives pupils the opportunity to ‘master maths’; by using previous learning throughout the school year, they are able to develop mathematical fluency and conceptual understanding.

So how do we avoid teaching procedures and instead get pupils to develop a deep understanding in mathematics?

We use our Dimensions of Depth to deepen pupils’ understanding. These are:

  1. Conceptual understanding

  2. Language and communication

  3. Mathematical thinking


Problem solving is at the heart of the mastery approach, so we make sure to dedicate sufficient time to each new concept so every pupil can gain the reasoning they need to solve new problems in unfamiliar contexts.

In Mathematics Mastery, our pupils are expected to all solve the same investigations by the end of the lesson, meaning the key concepts and objectives are met by all pupils. Instead of accelerating higher attainers onto new content, we differentiate through depth, to develop pupils’ conceptual understanding


The lesson has 6 parts to maintain pace and offer opportunities to assess pupils throughout the lesson.


Differentiation and challenge can be met through the use of a range of activity styles.


Teacher knowledge is addressed through regional and national workshops and conferences, e-learning for self-improvement on the website, within schools training on a number of mathematic concepts and continued improvement of practices through regular consultation at the school level.



We know the impact of the our teaching and learning through assessing

  1. Prior to teaching a unit – the pre-quiz from the Mastery website should be worked through by the students.  Through this misconceptions can be identified and the unit pitched by looking at the overall understanding of the class.

  2. Within a lesson - The 6-part lesson is designed to offer the class teacher the opportunity to assess at regular intervals and offer more or less support, to rework a task or move forward into the next, to work with a grown up or partner or continue independently and to address any misconceptions.

  3. At the end of each unit – there is a post-quiz for the children on the Mastery website.  This should provide an opportunity to view the learning taken place and the next steps for learning.

  4. At the end of each term –  the children in Y1 carry out a task led test, Y2 sit an old SATS paper, Y3-5 sit a Twinkl termly test and Y6 an old SATS.

  5. At the end of the school year – the children sit a final test to assess their learning throughout the school year to check their progress.

  6. Outside the maths lesson - our Maths Meeting (an isolated 15 minutes of maths questioning at least 3 times a week) should reinforce already taught topics and introduce new learning ready for a unit to come.  Teacher can include skills that they feel need revisiting too.


We know that we are having an impact at St Joseph’s because

  • Our maths results at all national assessment points are maintaining a strong level of success.

  • Feedback from the children tells us that they enjoy maths lessons and feel confident in it.

  • Staff are confident using the new scheme and have shown good practice in all key stages.

Maths Curriculum Map - Mathematics Mastery

Maths Curriculum Map - White Rose