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At Portishead Primary we use a mastery approach. This includes a belief that all children are capable of understanding and doing mathematics, given sufficient time. We believe in fostering a ‘can do’ attitude so that all children can achieve in and enjoy mathematics. We are delivering a mastery curriculum at PPS where mathematical concepts, key ideas and the building blocks to achieve these are important for everyone. To support our Teaching for Mastery we have embedded a Scheme of Learning known as White Rose across the school, adapting it where appropriate to suit the needs of our year groups.

Why White Rose Approach?

This approach enables teachers to keep the children working together on the same area, whilst addressing the needs for all children. White Rose provides teachers with blocked units, offering greater time frames to deliver and explore the objectives in. These blocks are further broken down into small steps, giving children the opportunity to take more time to develop their understanding. Lessons will promote fluency, reasoning and problem solving with all children being given the opportunity to achieve and experience these. Children who grasp concepts and small steps rapidly will be further challenged through being offered rich reasoning and problem solving challenges before any acceleration of new content.

Updated Calculation Policy:

Our updated Calculation Policy now illustrates how we teach children the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) using the CPA approach below.

  • Concrete – using manipulatives (e.g. tens frames, dienes & place value counters)
  • Pictorial – drawing their own representations of the concrete
  • Abstract – calculations using numerals and symbols

Often, children will be encouraged to use concrete and pictorial methods to explain their problem solving and reasoning. For examples of these methods please visit our website.

What will you see in a typical Portishead Primary maths lesson?

  • A clear learning journey - the children are encouraged to discuss their learning and reflect on their understanding using success criteria.
  • The majority of the class working on the same small step of learning at a pace that suits them. During the lesson key vocabulary and key questions are shared and the children are encouraged to use specific mathematical language using full sentences.
  • Pre-teaching sessions prior to the lesson to support understanding.
  • Activities which promote children’s fluency of number and their reasoning and problem solving skills.
  • A range of manipulatives being used to explore key concepts. All children expected to explore these either to support understanding or to explain their understanding.
  • For children who are struggling to grasp the concept adults will support in class and ‘hinge questions’ are often used to identify pupils to work in a guided teacher groups.
  • During lessons pupils are confident and free to share their ideas in a safe, supported space and understand the importance of making mistakes as part of their learning journey. We share ‘marvellous mistakes’ with others to help with misconceptions.
  • Hinge questions being used in lessons to identify misconceptions and children who require group support.
  • Post- teaching sessions are provided for children who require additional support to grasp or revisit a concept.
  • Children who grasp mathematical concepts more rapidly are given the opportunity to deepen their understanding by attempting additional challenges. These activities are carefully designed problem solving challenges that encourage children to use and develop their mathematical skills, such as the ability to deduce, conjecture, reason and prove their understanding.

Please see our Calculation Policy here.

Resources to support at Home

Maths with Micheal - White Rose Maths videos for parents

BBC Bitesize KS2 Maths Resources

Nrich maths activities for primary school children from Cambridge University

Free maths games for children between 5 and 8

More free maths games

Even more free maths games by age range


Maths gives us hope that every problem has a solution - Anon