Subject Leaders: Mrs Derrington & Mr Curry

The Mastery Model of Learning in Mathematics At Christ Church we have adopted the mastery approach to teaching maths. The mastery model of maths is based on the five big ideas (see image below) Mastering maths enables pupils to acquire a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject.



We want children to make rich connections across mathematical ideas to develop fluency, mathematical reasoning and competence in solving increasingly sophisticated problems. We intend for our pupils to be able to apply their mathematical knowledge to science and other subjects. We want them to realise that mathematics has been developed over centuries, providing the solution to some of history’s most intriguing problems. We guide them to realise that it is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment. As our pupils progress, we intend for them to have an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.

Everyone learns together…

During maths lessons, the whole class moves through topics and concepts at broadly the same pace. We spend longer on key mathematical topics and concepts in order to give all learners both the practice and depth of understanding they need. We believe that all pupils can access and understand the full mathematics curriculum. There is nobody who ‘can’t do maths’.


Pupils are taught through whole-class interactive teaching, where the focus is on all pupils working together on the same lesson content at the same time. This ensures that all can master concepts before moving to the next part of the curriculum sequence, allowing no pupil to be left behind.

Everyone learns deeply…

Focus is placed on depth not speed – We ask children to explore mathematical concepts therefore deepening their understanding of a concept rather than accelerating through the curriculum. This exploration is achieved through intelligent practice –


‘There is more mathematics in completing one question that is expressed five ways than five questions expressed one way’.


Challenge and rigor are achieved through problem solving and reasoning , written or verbal explanations of concepts or representing learning in several different ways. We want our children to know the ‘why’ of maths as well as the ‘how.’


 This has been found to have real benefits to children’s ability to access more complex mathematical ideas as they get older.

Everyone can succeed…

To become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with problems over time, so that they develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge accurately and rapidly.


To reason mathematically, by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language:  not just what the answer is, but how they know it’s right.


To solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of problems with increasing sophistication and making connections between different ideas including breaking down problems into simpler steps.


Objects, pictures, words, numbers and symbols are everywhere. The mastery approach utilises all of these to help pupils explore and demonstrate mathematical ideas, enrich their learning experience and deepen understanding.


Broadly speaking, pupil knowledge and understanding develops from the concrete, to the pictorial through to the abstract. Children working within any one class may be working at different points of the spectrum. Teachers use their own assessments to differentiate classroom teaching accordingly in order to maximise the learning opportunities for all children.


First pupils are encouraged to physically represent mathematical concepts using concrete objects and manipulatives to bring the concept to live, helping them understand and explain what they are doing. This is the ‘doing’ stage:


Building on this concrete approach, learning is developed by using pictorial representations, helping to visualise the structure of a concept through images and drawings. This is the ‘seeing’ stage:


Once a child has demonstrated that they have a solid understanding of the concrete and pictorial representations of the problem, the teacher can introduce the more abstract concept, such as mathematical symbols. This is the ‘symbolic’ stage, where children are able to use abstract symbols to model and solve maths problems with confidence.


These  ideas are not necessarily used in a linear way. All three may all be explored in one lesson or teaching may remain focused on concrete representations through manipulatives such as numicon, base 10, number strings and beads for longer. Pictures may be used alongside teaching even when abstract signs and symbols are being introduced.

Involvement with Boolean Maths Hub

At the beginning of the 2018/19 academic year, Christ Church was invited onto a two-year professional development study by the Boolean Maths Hub, alongside nine other local schools. Two staff members attend the teacher research group (TRG) which meets four times a year and works collaboratively to improve practice and understanding of the mastery curriculum in maths.


This is done by exploring the five big ideas contained within the teaching for mastery model (above.)


The group rotates around schools to observe exemplar lessons and works together to improve understanding of effective planning structures, lesson design, subject knowledge and current critical thinking about maths. They also attend network cluster groups and maths conferences.

‘The process of TRGs has been an extremely positive one. The discussions we share have become increasingly detailed and foster understanding and appreciation of the core elements of a mastery approach. I have found participation in a TRG to be an incredibly enriching experience. It has really helped get to the heart of what works in terms of children's mathematical learning and development. We are then able to deliver that knowledge and understanding to staff through training, staff meetings and inset days.’ – Eiluned Derrington, Maths Lead.

FunKey Maths

Continuing on from last year’s successful launch of FunKey Maths, the program will be rolled out in similar fashion, much to the delight of the Year 2 and 5 pupils!


What is Funkey Maths you say? 

FunKey Maths is uniquely designed to help children learn times tables easily through specially designed cards that utilise the power of visual clues. Through colour, pattern, shape and position, children can better remember times table facts!


And that's not even the coolest part about it… The way FunKey Maths works is through an effective peer mentoring programme designed for Year 5 mentors and Year 2 mentees. This develops number sense in Key Stage 1 children and a range of hugely important soft skills in Key Stage 2 mentors. Very cool!


Times Tables

Following training within the Boolean Maths Hub conference last year we have decided to implement a rigorous times table teaching scheme that runs from years 3-6.  Explicit daily teaching of times tables, and associated division facts, occurs in years 3 and 4 with daily mini tests reinforcing number facts, fluency and accurate recall.


This will help the children not only with their statutory times tables tests at the end of year 4 but also with the increasing demands of the UKS2 maths curriculum.