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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 fluency, reasoning and problem-solving in every mathematics lesson. 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 fluency, reasoning and problem-solving elements within individual lessons and across sequences of lessons.
  • teachers understand the importance of introducing new concepts through 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-led 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.

Planning & Resources

We follow bespoke long-term plans for each Class (EYFS, KS1, LKS2 and UKS2) which have been created by our Mathematics Subject Leader. These plans are based on the mastery principle of securing number first and foremost but maintaining an appropriate balance of shape, space, measure, handling data and statistics alongside. They also allow for several weeks per topic. In this, they are similar to the Whiterose Maths Hub’s [WRMH] Schemes of Learning** but differ in dividing up topics in order to accommodate classes where teachers job-share.  To support our own long-term plans, all classes use the Whiterose Maths Hub’s medium term resources which provide fluency, reasoning and problem-solving tasks for each of the statutory objectives in the National Curriculum.

**Our Mathematics Subject Leader was part of the working group that assisted the WRMH to produce their EYFS and mixed-age Schemes of Learning overviews.

For further detail, please view related curriculum policies on our main Policies page.