Teaching for Maths Mastery

In January 2019, East Bierley began the journey towards a mastery approach to the teaching and learning of mathematics. We understood that this would be a gradual process and take several years to embed. The rationale behind changing our approach to teaching mathematics lay within the NCETM Maths Hub Programme as well as the 2014 National Curriculum, which states:

  • The expectation is that most pupils will move through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace.
  • 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.

Our teaching for mastery is underpinned by the NCETM’s 5 Big Ideas

Coherence - Connecting new ideas to concepts that have already been understood, and ensuring that, once understood and mastered, new ideas are used again in next steps of learning- all steps being small steps.

Representation and Structure - Representations used in lessons expose the mathematical structure being taught. These representations are practical and pictorial models. The aim being that students can do the maths without recourse to the representation.

Mathematical Thinking - If maths concepts are to be understood deeply, they must not merely be passively received but must be worked on by the student: thought about, reasoned with and discussed with others.

Fluency - Quick and efficient recall of facts and procedures and the flexibility to move between different contexts and representations of mathematics. Procedural fluency is the ability to apply procedures accurately, efficiently, and flexibly; to transfer procedures to different problems and contexts; to build or modify procedures from other procedures; and to recognise when one strategy or procedure is more appropriate to apply than another.

Variation - Varying the way a concept is initially presented to students, by giving examples that display a concept as well as those that don’t display it. Also, carefully varying practice questions so that mechanical repetition is avoided, and thinking is encouraged

Curriculum design and planning

  • In Years 1-6, staff use Power Maths as a starting point to develop a coherent and comprehensive conceptual pathway through the mathematics. The focus is on the whole class progressing together.
  • EYFS follow White Rose Maths guidance and children are taught composition of number and key mathematical contexts and language from the very beginning to ensure consistency throughout school.
  • Learning is broken down into small, connected steps, building from what pupils already know.
  • Difficult points and potential misconceptions are identified in advance and strategies to address them planned. Key questions are planned, to challenge thinking and develop learning for all pupils.
  • Contexts and representations are carefully chosen to develop reasoning skills and to help pupils link concrete ideas to abstract mathematical concepts.
  • The use of high-quality materials and tasks to support learning and provide access to the mathematics, is integrated into lessons as well as the use of Concrete, Pictorial and Abstract resources.
  • Opportunities for extra fluency practice (instant recall of key facts, such as number bonds, times tables, division facts, addition and subtraction facts) are included daily in the form of Corbett Maths, Daily Calculation and Times Tables Rockstars.

How to support Maths at home

Check out our new videos made by Mr Sharp demonstrating how to use MyMaths and TT Rockstars.


  • Include counting and recognizing shapes and patterns in everyday situations.
  • We closely focus on the skill of subitizing, which is recognizing how many there are without counting. Number games involving dice or dominoes is great for this. For more information click here
  • Baking and cooking are great activities for understanding measures


  • Numbots
  • My Maths
  • Continue counting and playing number games


  • TT Rockstars
  • My Maths