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Mathematics at Downshall Primary School

At Downshall the National Curriculum is the foundation of our mathematics planning at KS1 and KS2. We believe thatmathematics plays a vital role in our everyday lives and is a skill for life which pupils take with them as they move to their next stage of education.

The national curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
  • reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
  • can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.

In order to achieve these aims, we have adopted a mastery curriculum at Downshall. Teaching for Mastery helps our pupils develop a thorough understanding across all the operations in an efficient and reliable way. Mastery maths means pupils of all ages acquire a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the mathematics they are studying. This is achieved through breaking down the concepts into small steps of learning and using a range of representations all underpinned by strong pedagogical strategies.


To support our pupils, we have invested in the Power Maths scheme to deliver our curriculum. This is one of two schemes approved by the DfE to deliver a mastery approach whilst covering the full National Curriculum and is based on the CPA approach.

The Concrete Pictorial Abstract (CPA) approach is a system of learning that uses physical and visual aids to build children’s understanding of abstract concepts. Children are introduced to a new mathematical concept through the use of concrete resources (cubes, dienes, objects to count). When they are comfortable with physical aids, they are given pictures with problems using pictorial representations of the concrete objects they have been using.

They are then asked to solve problems where they only have the abstract i.e. numbers or other symbols. Building these steps across a lesson can help pupils build a better understanding of the mathematical concepts they are learning. 


Structure to Power Maths Lessons


Every lesson starts with a Discover task to get children to solve a problem that aims to generate curiosity. During the Discover section children may use manipulatives to help them understand the maths and explain their method.


The next stage encourages children to Share the methods they have tried to solve the problem in Discover.

Think Together

We only learn when we are thinking! In this section Power Maths takes the approach “I do, we do, you do”, as children apply the knowledge they have just learned in a series of problems that continue to encourage thinking throughout.


Children are then ready for some independent Practice.


The final Reflect question helps the children evaluate whether they have understood the key concept and small step that they have been trying to master in the lesson.

Maths Mastering Number Programme

Since returning from lockdown, an area of maths which has suffered the most is fluency in number facts. In order to address this, Downshall are fortunate enough to be part of a national DfE initiative ‘Mastering number’ which aims to secure firm foundations in the development of good number sense for all children from reception through to year 1 and 2.

The programme involves the children using a small abacus-like piece of equipment called a rekenrek which helps to develop fluency and flexibility with number facts which supports pupil’s mental calculations.

Assessment in Maths

Progress in mathematics is assessed through the daily lesson, end of unit assessments and termly summative tests.

Formative assessment

Observations & discussions during maths lesson

Completing learning checks

Marking and response to feedback

Summative assessment

End of unit tests using Power Maths

Termly maths tests in year 1 to 6

End of key stage tests in year 2 and year 6

Times table test (MTC) and the end of year 4

Learning Times Tables

By the end of year 4, children should know all their times tables up to 12 x 12. The children sit the Multiplication Times Table Check (MTC) in the summer term to test their knowledge.

Staff CPD

Downshall are part of the London North East Maths Hub which has given staff access to high quality CPD and opportunities to see outstanding teaching of maths teaching in practice. During 2019-2020 we were part of the Mastery Readiness programme and had the opportunity to visit a range of schools and work collaboratively with other professionals who were also part of the project. The impact of this led to each year group having a maths passport to develop their fluency skills.

Power Maths also provides online videos for teachers that explain how maths concepts link to each other, understand key misconceptions and develop subject knowledge. During 2020-2021 we have progressed onto the sustaining mastery project with a dedicated maths team who work to disseminate information to their phases.

Recovery Curriculum

Since returning from lockdown Downshall have been following the DFE Guidance which identifies the most important conceptual knowledge and understanding that pupils need as they progress from year 1 to year 6. These important concepts are referred to as ready-to-progress criteria (RTP) and provide a coherent, linked framework to support pupils’ mastery of the primary mathematics curriculum. This guidance has allowed staff at Downshall to identify and teach those areas which are a priority which also provide firm foundations for other areas of maths.

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