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At Highgate Primary School, we believe that every child can succeed in Maths. Education in Mathematics develops pupils’ ability to make sense of the world around them, through the application of mathematical knowledge and reasoning. It aims to instil in pupils a sense of excitement about the subject and a spirit of curiosity which encourages them to explore patterns and relationships in both number and space. Primary Mathematics provides an essential foundation for later development of skills across all aspects of science, technology and engineering and which are, more generally, relevant to most areas of employment.


The aims of our Mathematics curriculum are:

  • to promote enjoyment and enthusiasm for learning through practical activity, exploration and discussion
  • to develop a solid understanding of the key concepts underpinning the number system
  • to promote fluency and flexibility in choosing and applying calculation methods
  • to develop the ability to solve problems through resilience, decision-making and reasoning in a range of contexts
  • to explore features of shape and space and develop measuring skills in a range of contexts
  • to create, explore and explain patterns and relationships across in number and space
  • to develop a practical understanding of the ways in which information is gathered and presented
  • to understand the importance of mathematics in everyday life


The Mastery curriculum

In line with the National Curriculum for Mathematics, we want our pupils to develop mastery of the subject. This means that all pupils, other than those with significant special needs which prevent them doing so, follow the School’s scheme of work for their age group, in mixed-ability classes. Higher-attaining pupils are stretched through tasks which deepen their understanding and mastery of the concepts involved. Lower-attaining learners are supported through provision of concrete and visual resources and, where appropriate, teaching assistants. The intention is that all children succeed in acquiring the mathematical skills and knowledge which they need in order to prepare them for secondary school and beyond, whilst developing a positive attitude towards the subject. The following sections give some further details of how we aim to achieve this:


Each lesson combines whole-class teaching with time for the pupils to work in groups or individually. A range of activities is provided to cater for different styles of learning (visual, aural and kinaesthetic) and for the range of abilities within the class. Frequent use is made of games, puzzles and problems which encourage participation and which have open-ended outcomes to stimulate pupils’ exploration and of concrete resources which engage children’s interest, as well as helping develop their understanding.


Pupils are encouraged, wherever possible, to discover solutions to mathematical problems for themselves. In doing so, they develop their ability to think logically, to approach problems systematically and to be resilient in the face of difficulty. They are prompted to break problems down into smaller steps, to employ trial-and-improvement methods and to reflect on their work. Pupil talk is encouraged as this is an essential component in helping children develop and clarify their mathematical thinking; as pupils progress, they are increasingly expected to explain, as well as describe, what they have done. These skills are applied across a wide range of contexts covering number, shape and space and real-world problems.



A number of key concepts underlie Mathematics and it is essential that children develop a sound understanding of these at an early stage. Examples include the base-10 place value system, the relationship between multiplication and addition, and the connection between fractions and division. Use of concrete objects, Conceptual understanding is initially built through ample use of concrete objects, starting with toys for developing early counting. Pupils then move on to visual representations, such as number lines or sketches, before they encounter and use the concepts in abstract form. It is important that these stages are not rushed; shortcuts taken here result in insecure understanding which leads to problems further on.


Children learn by-heart the basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts. These give them confidence to approach harder calculations as well as serving as building blocks to help solve them. A range of written and mental calculation methods are learnt. Pupils are encouraged to develop decision-making skills, thinking flexibly about how to apply what they know in the most effective way in the context of specific problems. Mental Mathematics is practised daily throughout Key Stages 1 and 2. This regular practice allows pupils to build speed, reliability and confidence and provides essential support to the parallel development of written calculation skills.

Teaching arrangements

Pupils are taught in classes which include a range of mathematical attainment. We provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the child. Higher-attaining pupils are stretched through tasks which deepen their understanding and mastery of the concepts involved. Lower-attaining learners are supported through provision of concrete and visual resources and, where appropriate, teaching assistants. A range of strategies, including directed questions and guided group work, are used to engage and involve all pupils. Within each class, pupils will be grouped by attainment for some activities and will remain in mixed-attainment groups for others, depending on the requirements of each activity.