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Kettlefields Primary School

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Maths Mastery at Kettlefields


At Kettlefields we follow the Maths Mastery approach to teaching maths. Mastery of mathematics is something that we want pupils - all pupils - to acquire, or rather to continue acquiring throughout their school lives, and beyond.


Since mastery is what we want pupils to acquire (or go on acquiring), rather than teachers to exhibit, we use the phrase ‘teaching for mastery’ to describe the range of elements of classroom practice and school organisation that combine to give pupils the best chances of mastering mathematics.

And mastering maths means acquiring a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject. At any one point in a pupil’s journey through school, achieving mastery is taken to mean acquiring a solid enough understanding of the maths that’s been taught to enable him/her move on to more advanced material.

Much of the NCETM's work training teachers has been based on Five Big Ideas under pinning teaching for mastery:


Five Big Ideas in Teaching for Mastery

A central component in the NCETM/Maths Hubs programmes to develop Mastery Specialists has been discussion of Five Big Ideas, drawn from research evidence, underpinning teaching for mastery. This is the diagram used to help bind these ideas together:


Coherence: Connecting new ideas to concepts that have already been understood, and ensuring that, once understood and mastered, new ideas are used again in next steps of learning, all steps being small steps


Representation and Structure: Representations used in lessons expose the mathematical structure being taught, the aim being that students can do the maths without recourse to the representation


Mathematical Thinking: If taught ideas are to be understood deeply, they must not merely be passively received but must be worked on by the student: thought about, reasoned with and discussed with others


Fluency: Quick and efficient recall of facts and procedures and the flexibility to move between different contexts and representations of mathematics


Variation: Varying the way a concept is initially presented to students, by giving examples that display a concept as well as those that don’t display it. Also, carefully varying practice questions so that mechanical repetition is avoided, and thinking is encouraged.


How is Maths Taught at Kettlefields?


Fluency Skills– To develop children’s fluency, short counting sessions take place. Children practise counting forwards and backwards and in steps of different sizes, including fractions and decimals in later years.


Discrete Maths Lessons – Most of the number aspects of the curriculum are taught through discrete Maths lessons. We are working towards a mastery approach to teaching mathematics. This means that we focus on topics, such as place value or addition, for a longer period of time to enable pupils to gain a deeper understanding of the mathematical concepts. Children are given opportunities to develop fluency, reason mathematically and solve problems.


Cross-Curricular Maths – Many aspects of the curriculum, especially Measurement, Geometry and Statistics are taught through a cross-curricular approach. There are particularly strong links with Computing, Science, Geography and Art.


Models and Images – To support children’s conceptual understanding, we use a range of models and images, including Numicon, straws, bead strings, place value counters, number lines, fraction boxes, Dienes’ apparatus.


Speaking and Listening – Children are given frequent opportunities to discuss their mathematical thinking and articulate their reasoning.


Early Morning Maths – Children in KS2 keep all maths topics current by doing early morning maths challenges during registration time.


Full information about progression in maths skills through the years groups is available in this document: Maths Progression YR1-6


How to Help Your Child at Home
Maths homework at Kettlefields comes in two forms. All children have access to Doodle Maths so they can practice key skills across the curriculum. Children also get set Maths homework by their teacher that links to the work they are doing in class.


Home is an ideal place for children to apply the Maths they have learnt in school to real-life situations. This may involve measuring quantities for baking; Counting place settings when setting the table; sharing sweets out equally or recognising patterns around us.


The Maths Co-ordinator
Alicia Gadsby (Primary Maths Mastery Specialist Teacher) is the Mathematics co-ordinator and oversees the teaching and learning of Maths at Kettlefields. Some priorities for this year include:

  • supporting teachers in implementing the maths mastery approach to teaching

  • the use of maths interventions to plug children’s learning gaps

  • Encouraging all learners to use concrete manipulatives to aid their learning

    She also works closely with other schools, including Maths co-ordinators at other schools across Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, the NCETM (National institute for Excellence In Teaching Maths) and the Cambridge Maths Hub (based at Comberton Village College)

  • Enrichment
    We aim to provide children with rich and exciting Mathematics throughout their Maths lessons at Kettlefields. As a school, we are looking at ways of promoting deep learning to challenge all children. We also offer some opportunities for children to engage in Maths beyond the classroom.


Last year we took part in the Bill Tutte Maths Celebration at Tattersalls, the children enjoyed learning about this local Maths legend and joining in the challenges on the day. This year will held a maths problem solving morning which we invited parents to join us for.


We have subscriptions to Maths of the day and Doodle maths. Children can use these tools both in school and at home to practice their Maths skills and have fun.


There are lots of great internet sites for children to practise their Maths skills. Please let Mrs Gadsby know if you know of any that should be added to this list.


An interesting article from the BBC website: Why Parents Can’t Do Maths Today

BBC Website – Good for everything – cbeebies, bitesize, schools etc.
A Maths Dictionary for Kids – very good for looking up maths words etc
Maths is Fun – fun games and explanations of mathematical concepts
Mr Nussbaum – good games and fun maths
Enrich Maths – a great resource for mathematical activities
Count On – good maths games
Sub Tangent – maths games and investigations
Fun Brain – fun maths games
Murderous Maths – a really jolly maths website, great ideas.

Maths of the day-

Doodle maths -