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Personalising learning in mathematics

Maths for Mastery is an inclusive approach which emphasizes the promotion of multiple methods of solving a problem, developing self-confidence and resilience. Though the whole class goes through the same content at the same pace, there is still plenty of opportunity for differentiation. Taking a mastery approach, differentiation occurs in the support and intervention provided to different pupils, not in the topics taught, particularly at earlier stages. There is no differentiation in content taught, but the questioning and scaffolding individual pupils receive in class as they work through problems will differ, with higher attaining children, or those pupils who grasp concepts quickly, challenged through more demanding problems which deepen their knowledge of the same content. Those children who are not sufficiently fluent are provided additional support to consolidate their understanding before moving on. Pupils’ difficulties and misconceptions are identified through immediate formative assessment and addressed with intervention – commonly through individual or small group support later the same day where possible.

Where children make less than expected progress efforts are made to ensure relevant support is put in place to help support the child. No child will be denied a full curriculum however and concepts will be revisited throughout the year during intervention to help with long term understanding.

At our school, all children receive a daily mathematics lesson. This lesson may sometimes need to be rearranged due to external supply, but mathematical skills are incorporated into many other areas of the curriculum as well. Each lesson is designed to focus on one clear learning objective that all children are expected to master. Extension activities are also included in the lesson plan to enable those children who grasp the objective rapidly to extend their learning by exploring it at greater depth.


The lessons include elements of fluency to practice skills, reasoning to deepen understanding, and problem-solving to apply skills based on the objective being taught and the understanding of the children. To aid mathematics teaching within the school, teachers use the White Rose Mastery planning and resources. They follow the scheme of work provided by the Maths Hub to ensure full curriculum coverage, including fluency, reasoning, and problem-solving opportunities that are addressed within lessons.


At our school, we adopt whole-class teaching, and children work in mixed ability groups. We believe that all children should have the same standard of teaching, and to ensure this, we aim not to group children based on their ability, but we also accept that at times this may be necessary. We differentiate via outcome rather than work set.


Every classroom in our school has a range of practical apparatus to support children’s learning, with additional resources stored centrally. We aim to review and add to these resources each year to ensure that our children have access to the best possible resources to support their learning.

Within school we regularly conduct peer review sessions whereby we critically look at Maths as a subject within the school. We observe lessons, speak to children/staff, analyse books/marking and ultimately come together as a staff to critique what we are doing well or want to improve.

Teachers assess pupils’ progress in mathematics every half term. In addition to recording whether a child is performing at, below or above national expectations, we adopt a forensic approach in order to identify key areas of learning:

  • Year group targets: which inform medium term planning and sequencing.
  • Small group targets:  driving differentiation in lessons and additional interventions
  • Individual targets: involving a one-to-one approach and a home-school programme

Cohort target areas January 2024

ReceptionNumber bonds and mathematical vocabulary
Year 1Number facts and fluency of recall
Year 2Written methods of addition and subtraction
Year 3Written methods of calculations, equivalent fractions and measures
Year 4Applying fractions in context, Retrieval of number facts
Year 5Using calculations in context to solve problems
Year 6Geometry, algebra and statistics

Where we have identified a large group/cohort target area, we spend more time on the subject to consolidate pupils understanding, before moving on to linked concepts within the learning sequence. Sometimes, children will join small groups or one-to-one sessions to consolidate their learning. These take place outside of class maths sessions.

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