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Mathematics is not about numbers, equations, computations, or algorithms: it is about understanding 

(William Paul Thurston)


It is our intent that our children develop physically, emotionally, socially, verbally and cognitively in an inclusive environment which values all cultures, communities and people. At the heart of our school are a set of core values, Love, Honesty, Co-operation, Responsibility and Respect. These values underpin everything that we do and provide the vehicle for delivering an ambitious and aspirational curriculum.

At Bierton, the maths curriculum has been designed with the children, the communities and the location in mind and considers the reflections of governors, teachers, parents and children. Our curriculum design is progressive, continuous and sequential and this is supported by the maths scheme we have chosen to adopt – Maths No Problem. Our sequential curriculum is designed to teach the children knowledge about the world and help them identify patterns, relationships and connections; subsequently, equipping them with the skills to apply their knowledge to new and unfamiliar contexts. We strive to support the development of independence, resilience and creative thinking of our pupils, preparing them for the next stage in their learning journey. We support children in building their self-esteem and confidence and allow them to realise their potential and ‘find their light and let it shine’, linked to our whole school vision.


Maths at Bierton CE Combined School

At Bierton CE Combined School, we implement a mastery approach throughout the teaching of mathematics. We believe that, by working hard, all children are capable of succeeding at mathematics and as a result, children are taught altogether as a class and are not split into ‘prior attainment’ groupings.

Teaching Approaches in Early Years

In EYFS, every child is recognised as a unique child, who is constantly learning to be strong and independent through positive relationships. Children will learn and develop in the classroom setting with both teaching and support from the adults. All children develop and learn at different rates, activities and group work are taught to reflect this. The children are provided with frequent and varied opportunities to build and apply their understanding using manipulatives, including small pebbles and tens frames for organising counting. Children will develop a secure base of knowledge and vocabulary from which mastery of mathematics is built. Children will be able to count confidently, develop a deep understanding of the numbers to 10, the relationships between them and the patterns within those numbers. In the EYFS setting the children are provided with rich opportunities for children to develop their reasoning skills across all areas through talking to adults and peers about what they notice and they are not afraid to make mistakes.

Teaching Approaches in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2

From Year 1 – Year 6, we follow Maths No Problem, an approach that is fully aligned with the 2014 English National Curriculum. It has been recommended by the DfE, with textbooks and workbooks that have been designed following decades of research to ensure deep, secure understanding of maths in learners of every attainment level. Children in these year groups, participate in an hour of mathematics each day; this is separated into two 30-minute sessions, which are separated by a 15-minute break. In addition to their daily maths lesson, all children receive a separate 15-minute fluency session each day. 

Fluency in Reception and Key Stage 1

Within Reception, Year 1 and 2, our school implements the Mastering Number approach. This project aims to secure firm foundations in the development of good number sense for all children from Reception through to Year 1 and Year 2. The approach also helps develops children's additive reasoning. The aim over time is that children will leave KS1 with fluency in calculation and a confidence and flexibility with number. Instilling children with a secure understanding of key knowledge in Reception and progression through Key Stage 1 aims to support success with their future mathematics.

Fluency in Key Stage 2

Within Year 3, children's daily fluency sessions help children make connections with their previous learning. Throughout Year 3, children also learn their 3, 4 and 8-times tables. These sessions are carefully sequenced to support children in making connections and building upon their existing knowledge. In order to support their transition to Year 4, children are also introduced to the 6 and 9-times tables (as the children learn to build on their knowledge of the 3-times table). 

Within Year 4 and 5, fluency sessions follow the Mastering Number at Key Stage 2 approach. This focuses on developing the children's multiplicative reasoning. This project enables pupils in Years 4 and 5 to develop fluency in multiplication and division facts, and a confidence and flexibility with number that exemplifies good number sense. The NCETM state, "Knowledge of multiplication and division and its applications forms the single most important aspect of the KS2 curriculum, and is the gateway to success at secondary school." Subsequently, these sessions support pupils in Year 4 in preparation for the Multiplication Tables Check, as well as preparing children for learning in Upper Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3 and ongoing throughout their life. 

Daily fluency sessions in Year 6 are used to continually develop fluency in recall and strategies. The coverage in Year 6 is based on the needs of the current cohort. 

All of our mathematics teaching and learning focuses on carefully planned and structured small steps. This provides both the necessary scaffold for all to achieve, and the necessary detail and rigour of all aspects of the maths to facilitate deep thinking. The small steps are connected and concepts are built. This leads to generalisation of the maths, and the ability to apply it to multiple contexts and solve problems.

Achievement for All

As a school, we strive to be proactive rather than reactive and want to support all children in ‘keeping up’ rather than ‘catching up’. Consequently, we invite children to participate in pre-teaching activities at the start of the day. These sessions are used to prepare children for the daily maths concept, with the ambition that by the end of the lesson all children will have grasped the lesson content.  It is expected that those children who will achieve well on a particular topic may not necessarily be the same children who achieved well on other topics. Our experience shows that it is not always the same pupils who require pre-teaching intervention and therefore different children may participate in different pre-teaching focus groups. This boosts the self-belief of previously low-attaining pupils


At Bierton CE Combined School and Nursery, pupils leave our setting with a secure understanding of the mathematical content taught and how this will support them in their next educational setting and throughout their life. In addition, we want them to apply their knowledge while having an awareness of how to be socially, morally, spiritually and culturally responsible; how to make positive contributions to the local community and how to endeavour to allow their light to shine and continue to shine brightly as they embark on their next journey. We aim for all of our children to leave Bierton, respectful, responsible, ambitious and with a thirst for life and all it has to offer.

The impact of our maths curriculum is formatively assessed daily and summatively assessed throughout the year. End of year assessments are shared with the children’s next teacher and pupils’ achievements in statutory assessments (currently the multiplication check in Year 4 and SATs in Year 2 and Year 6) are also used to evaluate the impact of our curriculum. In addition, to assess and adapt our provision, we use reflections and feedback from: Governor visits and meetings; trips and visitors; pupil voice; and internal monitoring of teaching and learning.

Evidence-based Research

Why have we adopted certain schemes?

International Research: At Bierton CE Combined School, we have chosen to implement the Maths No Problem approach as it is based upon the Singapore Maths mastery approach, which has produced a world-class level achievement for many years. Singapore students scored first in the past three Trends in International Mathematics and Science Studies (TIMSS). These studies are conducted by the International Association for Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). Singapore’s 4th and 8th grade students scored top place for Mathematics in 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007.

UK Adoption: The Department for Education, the National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics (NCETM), the National Curriculum Review Committee and OFSTED have all emphasised the pedagogy and heuristics developed in Singapore. Today, maths textbooks based on the Singapore Maths approach are being used in thousands of schools across the UK and have been widely adopted by the Department for Education’s Maths Hubs. Schools within the UK that have implemented this approach to the teaching of mathematics over a number of years to the teaching have seen a positive impact on the progress and attainment of their children. The NCETM have published case studies from schools who have implemented a mastery approach over many years. They write, “Elmhurst has had several years of successful maths results, but teaching for mastery is now seeing every year group excel. After 2017’s maths results (end of KS2 data saw 89% of pupils at Expected Standard and 40% at Greater Depth)…[in 2018] because the Year 6 pupils had benefited from several years of teaching for mastery in maths, they exceeded expectations (41% of pupils achieved Greater Depth, and 97% of pupils met Expected Standard). Results for both Year 6 and across the school demonstrate several years of commitment to teaching for mastery, and show that Elmhurst’s faith in the approach is well-founded.”