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What does Maths look like at Wembury?


Mathematics at Wembury Primary School

Our aim is to provide pupils with the fluency and confidence to carry out a range of mathematical problems and solve them by utilising reasoning skills in each and every lesson. Pupils in Wembury Primary School display positive approaches to maths and display attitudes that embrace challenge. We have been on our Mastery journey for a number of years, resulting in improved outcomes across the school. We are continually striving to improve outcomes further for all our pupils so they can achieve the aims of the National Curriculum: Fluency – Reasoning – Problem Solving. There are several elements that have improved in our teaching of mathematics and the learning that is taking place in our classrooms for all groups of learners. These are outlined below:


Ethos and Growth Mindset

Instilling all our pupils with a 'growth mindset' during maths lessons has become a key priority for our school and we have actively promoted this with the children. In maths lessons children are expected to relish challenges; embrace their mistakes as part of the learning process; value the importance of effort; respond carefully to feedback and take inspiration from others. We believe in challenge and have a high expectation of pupils response to challenge.


We teach mathematics by designing a coherent journey (supported primarily by White Rose Maths) through each Mathematical domain, taking into consideration formative assessment of what the children already know (and crucially what they don’t). Elicitation tasks are carefully designed by the teachers at the start of maths unit to inform this planning cycle. Teachers then plan in advance the models, visuals and manipulatives that will be used to scaffold children who may struggle to grasp the concepts and ‘dive deeper’ questions for those who grasp them quickly. Sequences will be altered and adapted on a daily basis as a result of on children’s grasp of the concept. As a result lesson structures vary.


Key learning objectives are identified on our weekly planning sheet and a coherent learning journey through the maths is  shown on PowerPoints (also reflected on working walls).  Teachers do not produce separate paper plans for lessons as PowerPoints clearly show the plan for each lesson and we prefer teachers to spend time on lesson design rather than writing paper plans for monitoring purposes.  

Depth of learning

We have ensured that teachers are aware of and cater for the need for depth of learning as an essential part of maths. Lessons build on mathematical concepts across a time period and teachers make links across mathematical topics and are continuing to develop conceptual and procedural variation in their teaching to maximise clarity and depth of learning.

Mental Fluency

We have recognised the need for increased mental fluency and arithmetic skill in our children and have timetabled additional time and invested in mathematical resources to achieve this (along with dedicated time for learning Times tables in Key Stage 2, using primarily TT Rockstars, and Number Facts in Years 1 and 2). We understand reasoning is a key part of mental fluency and have tailored these sessions to allow teachers to pro-actively teach an aspect of number on a daily basis and promote discussion/build conceptual understanding. During these sessions, as well as during the main lesson, we believe that by giving the children the opportunity to expand on their thinking and building in opportunities to share reasoning they will deepen and develop their conceptual understanding as well as making connections between number facts and develop fluency in their work with numbers and calculations. When tackling calculations and deciding upon the most appropriate method for the numbers involved, we encourage children to explicitly verbalise the following thought process ‘Stop, look, think…I have noticed..’ using actions alongside.

Connective Model / CPA Approach  

The connective model permeates all maths that takes place at Wembury Primary School. The links made in maths lessons are explicit and focus on concrete (real world) examples, visual representation, language and manipulatives coming together to solve problems in context. All maths lessons contain these elements. We believe children develop deep understanding through using these elements together to develop into a fluent and proficient mathematician.

Lesson Structure

Problem Solving (In focus Task)

All lessons will begin with an ‘In focus’ contextualised problem which children solve with their maths partner. This encourages discussion and collaborative learning from the start whilst encouraging children to draw upon previous learning and make connections. Representations will appear in books as children show their understanding, rather than answers to a series of calculations. The use of manipulatives, pictorial representations and recording takes place in every lesson (the CPA approach). The teacher will organise the findings of the exploration, compare/contrast strategies and guide toward the most efficient strategy (or the one being learnt that day). Separate journals are used in Years 1 and 2 to record responses.

Step by step approach

Lessons are designed to incorporate the 5 big ideas of Mastery: coherence, representation and structure, mathematical thinking, fluency, and variation. The small steps of learning may appear small, especially at the beginning of a lesson, there are points when suddenly a jump appears to have been made, or an extra challenge appears – this is normal).   The PowerPoints clearly show this step by step approach – we recommend you look through a flipchart with a teacher/maths leader to discuss this. Key vocabulary is taught and explored during the lesson and ‘Learning opportunities’ are designed to build upon each other and incorporate opportunities for children to develop their fluency, reasoning and problem solving skills in every lesson.


Teachers will use questioning throughout maths lessons to elicit children’s understanding and promote and challenge children to greater and deeper understanding of concepts. A variety of questions are used, but you will also hear some being repeated; How do you know?   Can you prove it?  Are you sure?   Is that right? What’s the same/different about? Can you explain that?  What does your partner think?   Can you imagine?  Children are expected to listen to each other’s responses and may be asked to explain someone else’s ideas in their own words, or if they agree/disagree etc..  Maths sessions are expected to be discursive and the teachers use questioning to probe pupil understanding and response are expected in full sentences using mathematical vocabulary and Oracy sentence stems when appropriate.

Opportunities for AFL

Teachers will build opportunity for AFL into lessons and will use regular opportunities for discussion of answers and strategies to support pupils’ reasoning skills and check and deepen their understanding. Teachers will allow for AFL in a variety of ways – not just through questioning. They will use written work, manipulatives and visuals for representation as well as a whole range of other techniques and resources.

Challenge for ‘rapid graspers’ (Dive Deeper Challenges)

Teachers have been supported to provide challenge for the ‘rapid graspers’ in class. These ‘Dive Deeper’ challenges are woven through the lesson rather than bolt on activities at the end of a lesson and build upon the core lesson activities. The challenges are available for all children and children are expected to ‘tick through the diver’ if they have attempted the challenge. The challenge focuses on breadth and depth of understanding and expects the children to apply their knowledge in challenging scenarios. Low threshold high ceiling and rich tasks that enable reasoning and marking will also provide challenge.

Marking (See Policy)

All work is expected to be marked. Teachers and TAs aim to ‘live mark’ during the lesson so immediate feedback can be provided. This also allows teachers to adjust lessons accordingly and address misconceptions rapidly. If verbal interaction or support has been provided, this is indicated in the books using symbols outlined in our Marking Policy. Written questions provided by the Teacher/TA are expected to require a response from the pupil and will consolidate their thinking or encourage them to make progress. Peer or self-marking will also be evident in books.

SEND Pupils

SEND pupils may be supported by additional adults, different resources or by using differentiated activities.  They may also complete additional activities outside of the mathematics lesson.

NB: We have high expectations of all children and strongly believe that all children are equally able to learn mathematics.   Some may take longer to grasp concepts and may need careful scaffolding or extra time/support (guided groups, pre-teaching, intervention groups) but when concepts are presented in the right way all children can learn.  

Learning for Life