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Here at Swalecliffe our children predominantly follow the White Rose Maths curriculum, with other supporting resources alongside. The White Rose Maths Curriculum is a Mastery approach through which we ensure skills are embedded, before moving onto the next stage in the child’s Mathematical Understanding. The aim being that with the right support, guidance and resources, all children can become confident and competent in mathematics. A ‘Teaching for Mastery’ approach is a way of teaching Maths that involves breaking down larger, complex learning goals into smaller steps. There is a clear progression of basic skills from Year R through to Year 6 with the use of the White Rose Maths materials, our Calculation Policy and our Number Menus.



Mastering maths means pupils acquiring a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject.
The phrase ‘teaching for mastery’ describes the elements of classroom practice and school organisation that combine to give pupils the best chances of mastering maths.
Achieving mastery means acquiring a solid enough understanding of the maths that’s been taught to enable pupils to move on to more advanced material.
                                                                                                                   NCETM 2020


All classrooms have Maths Working Walls with key vocabulary displayed and used appropriately. The walls are referred to in lessons and often display children’s work and ideas. Teachers nurture an environment where children are allowed to make mistakes as part of their learning, and they promote this as part of the learning process.


‘Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract’ (CPA)

Children are taught Maths through the ‘Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract’ approach, across all year groups. It focuses on laying strong foundations which can be built upon, through embedding models and images into the children’s long-term memories. This in turn reduces the cognitive load on the children’s working memories when approaching new concepts/tasks.


Concrete manipulatives are fundamental to the powerful Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract (CPA) approach and are a key resource in developing a deeper understanding of maths for pupils of all ages. Concrete resources can be used to develop children’s conceptual understanding of place value and the four operations.


Building on the concrete, we consider how we can make connections between concrete, pictorial and abstract ideas so children can truly master concepts, building on those strong foundations. Children will move on to using pictorial representations such as images, graphs or diagrams to solve problems. Once they have a good understanding of the topic, they should be able to take an abstract approach and solve maths problems using abstract concepts and symbols.

Written Calculations

Once children are familiar with a concept, they are encouraged to choose the most efficient method for calculating, be it mental calculation, jottings, or a formal written calculation appropriate to a given task. By the end of KS2, they will have been taught and be secure with using a compact standard method for each operation.


Children are encouraged to:


  • Use models, images and manipulatives to aid conceptual understanding
  • Establish mental methods, based on a good understanding of place value
  • Use formal jottings to aid mental calculations
  • Develop the use of empty number lines to help mental imagery and aid recording
  • Use partitioning and recombining to aid informal methods
  • Introduce expanded written methods
  • Develop expanded methods into compact standard written form


Mental Calculations

Mental calculation is important to speed up children’s thinking and reasoning. As part of this, our children take part in the ‘100 club’, achieving badges as they work through their times tables and related division facts. This is an effective motivational tool, and the children look forward to achieving all 7 badges to reach their goal – a 100 Clubber! Further up the school, this is then extended to decimal and fraction tables so that they can continue to strive for excellence.


Problem solving and reasoning

Being able to reason and problem solve is also at the heart of our curriculum so opportunities for these are integrated into each unit of work. Children can explore different types of problem-solving tasks both in class and through use of the outdoor learning environment, which includes our Maths trail. Reasoning is encouraged throughout lessons both in written form and verbally, to deepen the children’s Mathematical understanding.


Maths Mechanics

Maths Mechanics sessions are provided in addition to the main teaching lesson. These are shorter sessions, that provide time for children to focus on key targets, to develop and embed foundation skills and to explore and address gaps in understanding or misconceptions.


Enrichment and Schools Partnership

As part of CACoT, Maths Leaders from local schools meet regularly to share new ideas, keep up with government changes and monitor maths.

We have Maths Subject Champions from across the school. This enables those with a particular interest in Maths to get involved with the development of Maths in school, supported by Maths leaders. We welcome parents to get involved through our Maths Challenge Mornings, which are always a great success and we frequently invite companies in to promote the fun learning and opportunities that can be shared in maths.