At Watling Lower School, we aim for pupils to develop a mastery of maths by allowing them to develop a long, deep and secure understanding of mathematical concepts. This understanding of maths will enable our pupils to succeed by giving them the skills for later in their lives, including money, measures and logical problems which they will need as adults.

We do this by:

  • Taking small, manageable steps each lesson to help pupils access more difficult concepts.
  • Exposing pupils to a variety of representations for different areas of maths
  • Helping pupils make connections, spot patterns and ask questions.
  • Encouraging pupils to be clear in their reasoning about mathematics through self-explanations and written reasoning, using key vocabulary.
  • Be fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, such as number bonds and times tables.


Teaching for Mastery

In our maths lessons, we follow the 'Teaching for Mastery' approach promoted by the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Maths (NCETM). We aim to progress children through small steps of learning that enable them to fully understand bigger conceptual ideas and apply their knowledge to solving a variety of problems.

The NCETM defines Teaching for Mastery as...

Mastering maths means pupils acquiring a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject.

The phrase ‘teaching for mastery’ describes the elements of classroom practice and school organisation that combine to give pupils the best chances of mastering maths.

Achieving mastery means acquiring a solid enough understanding of the maths that’s been taught to enable pupils to move on to more advanced material.

 Further information can be found at

We have worked with our local Maths Hub, The Enigma Maths Hub in Milton Keynes to introduce the Teaching for Mastery approach and we will continue to work with them as we embed the approach across the school.



At Watling Lower we use a range of resources to aid teachers deliver quality first teaching. We follow the NCETM curriculum prioritisation scheme, which is based around helping pupils understand the ready-to-progress criteria in depth. Teachers use the NCETM resources, as well as supplementing from other well known schemes such as White Rose, to support planning and resourcing.  Teachers follow a curriculum overview that takes the class through one area of maths at a time to ensure pupils master the content.

Our Reception and Key Stage one classes also actively participate in the NCETM’s Mastering Number work group. Over time, through participating in Mastering Number sessions, our children will:

  • Develop fluency in calculation and a flexibility with number that exemplifies good number sense. 
  • Be able to clearly communicate their mathematical ideas. 
  • Make good progress towards the Early Learning Goals and Key Stage 1 year group expectations.
  • Demonstrate a willingness to ‘have a go.’

 Principles underpinning Mastering Number at our school: 

  • Developing fluency makes more children better able to access the maths learning in their main lessons. Staff recognise where links can be made and draw these out explicitly in both sessions. 
  • Developing children’s mindsets to look for mathematical relationships supports them with being able to make connections.
  • We do this by drawing pupils’ attention to the relationships between numbers, so that they can also connect them with prior learning where it has taken place. 
  • Building confidence enables more children to make progress.

We do this by focussing on enabling all pupils to really understand small steps in learning. 



At EYFS, we ensure that all children develop a secure mathematical foundation and meet their Early Learning Goals at the end of Reception. In order to do this, we use the non-statutory curriculum guidance in the Development Matters 2021. Pupils focus on a different number from 0-10 while learning new skills such as subitising, adding 1 more or 1 less and representing numbers.


Click here for the Primary Curriculum for Maths