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Teaching Math Mastery

In our approach to teaching math mastery, pupils delve deeper into mathematical concepts rather than relying solely on memorization or rote learning. The core principles of mastery include:

  • Prioritizing conceptual understanding.
  • Encouraging pupils to articulate their thoughts using precise mathematical language.
  • Cultivating a mindset akin to that of mathematicians.

We adopt the Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract method as a primary tool for mastery, spanning from Reception to Year 6. This involves utilizing tangible and visual representations of numbers before transitioning to abstract concepts. By scaffolding learning in this manner, pupils grasp the significance of digits and the connection between numbers and real-world scenarios.

Subsequently, pupils enhance their proficiency by mastering number bonds, times tables, and bolstering their grasp of number facts.

Our approach to mathematics instruction

Our goal is to ensure that every student establishes a robust mathematical foundation from the outset, tailored to their age group and delivered in an engaging manner.

Pupils engage in a diverse array of activities aimed at imparting essential mathematical concepts, problem-solving techniques, mental acuity, and mathematical reasoning.

Instruction is structured in small steps to ensure comprehensive understanding of fundamental concepts before introducing new ones. Regular review of foundational knowledge is conducted, affording all pupils the chance to apply their understanding to complex and profound mathematical challenges. 

Math Curriculum Maps Years 3-6

Number Fluency and Times Tables Progression MapEYFS and Key Stage 1 Mathematics Curriculum

Mastering Number 

Derwentwater Primary School is participating in the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) project to support the teaching of basic math skills in our school.

This project aims to secure firm foundations in developing good number sense for all children from Reception to Year 1 and Year 2.

Our long-term goal is for children to transition from EYFS/KS1 to KS2 with a strong command over calculations, confidence in number sense, and reasoning skills. Research underscores that children who develop a solid ‘number sense’ early on tend to excel in Maths and other subjects.


In KS1, each class has a daily ‘Mastering Number’ session in addition to their Maths lessons. Over the year, the children will experience using a range of resources and representations, including a small abacus-like piece of equipment called a rekenrek.

 Reception - Year 2 mastering number Overviews

Mastering Number Reception Overview

Mastering Number Year 1 Overview

Mastering Number Year 2 Overview