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Rationale & Ethos

Mathematics is a creative and highly inter-connected 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; the resilience required for problem-solving; an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.

At Old Town Primary School, we believe that the foundation of mathematical success is nurturing confidence, resilience and enjoyment in this essential subject. We strive to enable all pupils to make good progress through a balance of varied fluency, reasoning and problem-solving in mathematics lessons. As a school we adopt a mastery ethos throughout the key stages (EYFS-Y6) which is demonstrated by the following key points:

  • number is at the heart of the mathematics curriculum, with a majority proportion of long-term planning committed to reinforcing number to build pupils’ competency and secure their conceptual understanding.
  • teachers deliver a balance of varied fluency, reasoning and problem-solving elements within individual lessons and across sequences of lessons.
  • teachers understand the importance of introducing new concepts through well-sequenced lessons that build on small steps and the learning arc of concrete-pictorial-abstract.
  • students should have the opportunity to use real objects and manipulatives to help them understand what they are doing.
  • students should then build on this concrete approach by using pictorial representations (first modelled by the teacher and then increasingly used independently). These representations can then be applied to reasoning and problem-solving.
  • with the foundations firmly laid, students should be able to move to an abstract approach using numbers and mathematical symbols to communicate key concepts with confidence.
  • we endeavour to support the ideal of depth before breadth aiming to give all pupils the opportunity to stay together as they work through the curriculum as a whole group.
  • a belief that everybody can succeed in mathematics.

*These ideals do not mean that pupils will never encounter difficulties but children’s work is assessed daily to judge when additional support may be required. Once a misconception or gap has been identified, teacher-planned support is immediately put in place.  Extra teaching, modelling and explanation are judged to be the most time-efficient and impactful methods for securing good mathematical understanding for all children.


For further detail, please view related curriculum policies below. 


Curriculum map, schemes of Learning & progression

We use & adapt the White Rose Maths mixed-age schemes of learning (with recap built in) which can be viewed by following the link below. Lesson-by-lesson overviews with progression can also be found at this link. Also below is a separate progression document which we refer to. The White Rose Maths resources provide additional support and guidance for teaching mathematics, highlighting concepts to recap after extended periods of home-learning. We use White Rose Maths resources as a core curriculum across all classes but it is expected that teachers will add to this if necessary and constantly use their own judgement and assessment to adjust planning according to the needs of their class. Our adaptations are built into our Mathematics Curriculum Map which can be viewed below. Teachers may decide to spend longer on certain topics to secure understanding particularly on content that children may have missed during home learning. Occasionally, teachers may also choose to re-order steps within units or the units themselves to suit the needs of the current cohort. The lesson-by-lesson overviews are a useful tool but we encourage teachers to use their professional judgement to adjust planning as they deem necessary.