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Maths Mastery

The Mastery Model of Learning in Mathematics


The Mastery approach to learning forms the basis our approach to teaching maths.

This means spending more time building children’s understanding in a maths area rather than racing through the concepts and knowledge pupils are expected to know by the end of each year. In the past moving through content quickly meant that some children started to develop gaps in their knowledge because they moved on to another area before they had really understood their maths.

Over time these gaps grew and it was sometimes hard for children to catch up. It also meant that those who understood, never had the chance to become real experts

As a primary school, it is our duty to ensure that children have solid, concrete understanding of subject knowledge and skills as well as being emotionally resilient for the next year of their education.

Our intention is take learning at a steady pace to ensure that no child is left behind as well as providing experiences for children who are grasping ideas quickly to really show a deeper understanding.

Our approach this year is a focus on the majority of children achieving what is expected of their age group and not going beyond this. Evidence shows that children need to be able to understand a concept, apply it in a wide range of situations and then be creative with it to really understand (or master) it. Simply going beyond the requirements of their age group does not guarantee they have fully understood something – just that they have heard it.

At our school, the majority of children will be taught the content from their year group only. They will spend time becoming true masters of content, applying and being creative with new knowledge in multiple ways.

In essence, this means working towards:

  • Teach less, learn more – focussed content, evidencing learning and progress.

  • No child being left behind – the majority of children are enabled to keep up every day.

  • Space and time – to experience and apply, with all children entitled to additional support to ensure they do not fall behind or to be challenged in their learning and go deeper with their understanding.

  • Understanding real life applications – wherever possible for learning to be relevant and not abstract, to teach with a clear purpose.

We aim for all pupils to:

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics so that they develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.

  • to be able to solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of problems with increasing sophistication, including in unfamiliar contexts and to model real-life scenarios

  • to reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry and develop and present a justification, argument or proof using mathematical language.

  • to have an appreciation of number and number operations, which enables mental calculations and written procedures to be performed efficiently, fluently and accurately to be successful in mathematics.



All this means there may be a change in the way we have historically taught and assessed pupils. We will be doing more of this:

  • Teaching all pupils in class, together, most of the time

  • Verbal feedback during lessons and more ticking of correct concepts

  • Spending longer on one idea

  • Giving pupils who need it additional support over shorter more intense timescales – ideally same/next day - to prevent gaps in learning occurring

  • Giving pupils who need it additional support to challenge them and apply their thinking

  • Ongoing assessments

And less of this:

  • Formal marking with lots of feedback and ‘next steps’

  • Covering lots of ideas in one week

  • Formal, long term interventions to boost pupils out of class

  • Separating in to ability groups

  • Formal testing of pupils termly