St Joseph's Catholic Primary School



At St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, we follow the aims of the national curriculum for mathematics. Our school’s curriculum is designed so that all our pupils develop both their mathematical confidence and their mathematical competence. This means providing our pupils with rich opportunities to use and apply their knowledge and also develop the skills needed to progress in mathematics regardless of their ability. We want our pupils to see the awe and wonder of mathematics by igniting their curiosity and developing a life long love of the subject.

Our curriculum aims:

  • pupils to be confident in their use of the four operations (both written and mental calculations) so they are able to select the most appropriate method to match the problem.
  • for pupils to be able to make connections across mathematical ideas
  • to develop their fluency, mathematical reasoning and their ability to solve increasingly sophisticated problems
  • provide them with opportunities to solve problems in a range of contexts
  • to equip the pupils with the determination and self-belief to persevere when encountering mathematics which they find particularly challenging
  • to provide them with the skills and understanding to work systematically
  • to be able to adopt different approaches (to be mathematically flexible)
  • to always try their personal best
  • to be able to apply their mathematical knowledge to science and other subjects

We believe that providing our pupils with these opportunities will not only:

  • deepen their mathematical understanding
  • develop their knowledge
  • help them to become more financially aware for their lives outside of school
  • increase their cultural capital


At St. Joseph’s, we use the national curriculum objectives as the basis for all our planning and delivery of mathematics. Class teachers also use elements of Broadbent Maths and the White Rose mastery approach for their planning to provide the children with a rich and balanced mathematics curriculum. This ensures that the appropriate written methods and mathematical skills are taught to show progression across the key stages.

Our long-term plans outline the mathematical focuses for the year and are divided into eighteen, two week units. This ensures pupils have sufficient time to use and apply the methods and concepts they have been taught. Teachers use their professional judgment to decide if more coverage of a particular area of mathematics is needed during or at the end of each unit.

We also use short-term plans. These provide more detail than the long term plans as they include the key objectives, types of question, teaching input and differentiated group activities for each mathematics lesson.

Our delivery of the curriculum reflects the concrete, pictorial and abstract approach to mathematics:

Concrete  pupils have the opportunity to use concrete objects and manipulatives to help them understand and explain what they are doing.

Pictorial – pupils then build on this concrete approach by using pictorial representations, which can then be used to reason and solve problems.

Abstract – with the foundations firmly laid, pupils can move to an abstract approach using numbers and key concepts with confidence.

The week’s learning starts with ‘Hands on Mondays’, which is a whole school focus and enables pupils to use manipulatives and work collaboratively with their peers. The emphasis of these lessons is to explore the mathematical concepts using a ‘hands on approach’. This helps the pupils to build on their prior knowledge and also provides rich opportunities for them to develop their verbal reasoning. During these sessions, pupils are not expected to record any work into their mathematics books but focus on the use of specific vocabulary through a range of well thought out tasks and activities.

Throughout the rest of the week, pupils continue to be able to access the concrete resources used at the start of the week. They also develop and deepen their understanding of mathematical concepts through the use of pictorial representations to demonstrate and visualise abstract ideas, alongside numbers and symbols to develop fluency.

Towards the end of the week, we provide a range of opportunities for our pupils to use and apply what they have learnt in more abstract ways through challenging reasoning and problem solving tasks.

In a typical mathematics lesson our pupils are provided with time to:

  • review and consolidate previous knowledge
  • discuss objectives, key vocabulary and success criteria
  • use a range of contrete apparatus and manipulatives to develop and support pupil learning
  • identify and develop (build on) their mathematical knowledge and key skills
  • experience an appropriate level of challenge according to their ability
  • take part in independent and collaborative tasks
  • self-evaluate and review their learning and that of others


Teachers measure the impact of their teaching on the pupils’ learning by noticing:

  • a flexibility and fluidity to move between different contexts and representations of mathematics.
  • the ability to recognise relationships and make connections in mathematics
  • quick recall of facts and procedures
  • they are able to demonstrate their mathematical reasoning both verbally and in writing to explain how they know

A pupil who has excelled within a mathematical concept or skill has acquired ‘greater depth’. This is when a pupil can show it in multiple ways, using the mathematical language to explain their ideas, and can independently apply the concept to new problems in unfamiliar situations.

When pupils struggle or fail to meet learning outcomes teachers:

  • provide opportunities for pupils to consolidate their learning
  • target their teaching and questioning during lessons
  • adapt and change short term and long term plans.
  • provide green pen questions (GPQs) which help teachers gauge individual pupil understanding
  • engage in verbal dialogue and provide feedback to the pupil

We also conduct formal assessments at the end of each term and use this information to help form part of our monitoring of the progress made within mathematics by each pupil. Although these assessments are carried out termly, teachers continue to evaluate pupils’ knowledge and understanding within lessons and on a week by week basis. As a result of this, short term plans and activities are adjusted accordingly to meet the needs of all pupils. Having this approach not only enables our pupils to learn, know and remember more but also helps to prepare them for the curriculum at Key Stage 3 and for life as an adult in the wider world.

Maths Knowledge and Skills Progression

Written Calculations Policy