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Westcliffe Primary School

'Our school is committed to inspirational teaching that develops aspirational young people.'



Westcliffe Primary School Maths Curriculum has been designed in-house to ensure fluency, reasoning and problem solving skills are embedded within maths lessons and are developed consistently over time. Our curriculum ensures pupils are taught core mathematical methods and are fluent with these before being expected to learn how to apply them.


The expectation is that the majority of pupils will move through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace. However, decisions about when to progress are always based on the security of pupils’ understanding and their readiness to progress to the next stage. Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly are challenged through being offered a variety of routine and non-routine problems before any acceleration through new content. Those who are not sufficiently fluent with earlier material will consolidate their understanding, including through additional practice, before moving on.


When teaching maths at Westcliffe, we intend to provide a curriculum which caters for the needs of all individuals and sets them up with the necessary skills and knowledge for them to become successful in their future adventures. We aim to prepare them for a successful working life. We incorporate sustained levels of challenge through varied and high quality activities with a focus on fluency, reasoning and problem solving.


Pupils are required to explore maths in depth, using mathematical vocabulary to reason and explain their workings. A wide range of mathematical resources are used and pupils are taught to show their workings in a concrete, pictorial and abstract form wherever suitable. They are taught to explain their choice of methods and develop their mathematical reasoning skills. We encourage resilience, adaptability and acceptance that a level of challenge is often a necessary step in learning.



The National Curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • Become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
  • Reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
  • can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.


How maths is taught


Practical Aids

Cuisenaire rods, in conjunction with other resources, are used throughout EYFS and KS1 in order to support the understanding of number and recall of number facts. Cuisenaire rods ensure that children have a visual representation of what they are learning. Teachers use the Cuisenaire rods in the move between concrete, pictorial and abstract understanding to enable the children to fully explain new concepts using mathematical language.


Children use the rods in free play, games and other activities to ensure they become completely familiar with the colours, the associated number names and the rods relationships with each other. Children are then able to use the rods to support in all four operations. Children move through a series of prompts that have been designed to ensure that they progress from using the Cuisenaire rods as a practical aid, to a visual prompt and to eventually assist in their abstract understanding of maths. 


Early Years

We believe that mathematics in the EYFS should be relevant and accessible to all children. Therefore, we teach the children about everyday mathematics and how exciting mathematics can be. Mathematics is taught in a systematic way over the course of the year and we use the ‘concrete-pictorial-abstract’ (CPA) approach. Using manipulatives ensures the children develop a deep and sustainable understanding of mathematics and have truly mastered mathematical concepts before they are expected to record them. We present amounts in many forms, including fingers, on ten frames and in a staircase. This supports the children’s understanding. Making connections with books, songs, games, rhymes and shape, space and measure allows the children to make connections in their mathematical understanding. 


KS1 and KS2

Medium Term Planning has been written for mixed age classes – Year 1 and Year 2, Year 3 and Year 4 and Year 5 and Year 6. Mental/oral starters and main objectives have been identified for each term. Careful planning of the mathematical objectives means particular core content is repeated. This planned overlearning and planned revisiting during mental/oral starters and the main sessions ensures pupils have the best chance in developing proficiency.  


A great importance has been placed on the expectation that pupils, early on, develop understanding of number and their automatic recall (this encourages using mental strategies and reduces the need to count on fingers) of number facts – this gives them the ability to progress through the curriculum at an increasing rate. This teaching and learning of core knowledge is supported by (but not an over reliance on) the use of Cuisenaire Rods.


In lower KS2, facts and methods from KS1 are planned to continue as mental/oral starters. This sequencing of the core content continuing into lower KS2 at the beginning of Autumn Term allows pupils to link new learning to content they have required from the previous Key stage.  The repetition of key knowledge and methods means pupils will learn the content thoroughly and are less likely to need to ‘relearn’ it.


Upper KS2 maths teaching also involves mental/oral starters to rehearse core facts, methods and strategies building on from previous years, as well as learning different types of problem solving skills. The Medium Term Plans offer a balanced approach. Pupils have the opportunity to become fluent with relevant facts and methods before being expected to learn how to complete different types of problems: e.g. explaining, justifying, proving etc.


Daily sessions include practising counting and quick recall of times tables. One session includes timed testing to help pupils apply counting and quick recall of multiplication/division maths facts (KS1 Westcliffe Rock Stars and KS1/KS2 TT Rock Stars-see website). The high expectation that pupils practise at least 3 times a week (paper copies) or for 15 minutes on TT Rock Stars is included in the Pupil of the Week criteria (See Behaviour Policy). This daily practice, weekly timed tests and assessment of learning within lessons, ensures pupils are making progress and helps pupils remember and be prepared for more formal assessment.  

Formal testing occurs at the end of each term. NFER tests are used at Westcliffe, as well as evidence from work in pupils’ books to inform the teachers’ termly assessments. 


Calculation Practices

The calculation practices for Westcliffe Primary School has been sequenced to help pupils see the connections between number, place value and the four operations but also to build systematically on previous learning. The practices are consistently used across school by all teaching staff. Younger pupils are taught accurate mathematical methods to use recall of known facts. Older pupils are taught efficient and systematic methods that they can use for more complex calculations. Learners of new mathematical content are taught instructional approaches but it is important that pupils develop proficiency through a journey of discovery, not just emulating expertise. Thus, a fundamental part to early mathematics at Westcliffe Primary School, is developing a sense of number through careful planning and questioning by the teacher  supported by the use of practical aids (such as, but not solely, Cuisenaire Rods). The calculation practices and the early learning - Cuisenaire prompts have been developed to draw on and make links with the content the pupils have previously acquired.


See attachments for examples of:

  • MTP
  • Cuisenaire Prompts
  • Section of Calculation Methods Document  
  • Times Tables Daily Practice
  •  Westcliffe Rock Stars
  • TT Rock Stars Sheets



Concrete Pictorial Abstract (CPA)

We implement our approach through high quality teaching delivering appropriately challenging work for all individuals. To support us, we have a range of mathematical resources in classrooms including Cuisenaire Rods, Numicon, Base10 and counters (concrete equipment). Rods are used to embed number facts.  When pupils have grasped a concept using concrete equipment, images and diagrams are used (pictorial) prior to moving to abstract questions. Abstract maths relies on the pupils understanding a concept thoroughly and being able to use their knowledge and understanding to answer and solve maths without equipment or images.


If you walk into a maths lesson, you will see

  • Small steps between and within lessons.
  • Questions are carefully planned and used throughout the lesson to target children’s fluency and reasoning skills.
  • Children are given opportunities to share and critique answers or strategies.
  • Children are given opportunities in a lesson and encouraged to identify and recognise patterns and rules, rather than just shown how to find the answer.
  • A CPA approach where concrete, pictorial and abstract representations are used fluidly to allow deep, sustainable learning for all
  • Children are expected to understand and use the correct, precise mathematical vocabulary when explaining their maths.
  • Children will be given opportunities to practise and use their number skills, and apply them in different contexts.
  • Children will be engaged, motivated and challenged in the learning. 


If you have any further enquiries about maths within our school, please contact Miss Melanie Troop.