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Maths at Marden Vale

At Marden Vale academy, we follow the 'Mastery Model of Learning' when teaching maths. This means spending greater time going in to depth on each subject. Children will first become fluent in their mathematical skills before embedding these skills through reasoning and problem solving. We believe that pupils needs a firm understanding of mathematical concepts, and these are grasped through following a simple process identified by Bruner.



The use of equipment and hands-on apparatus is vital to a child’s understanding of a concept. The use of these manipulatives can be seen in almost every lesson from reception to Year 6.




The mastery curriculum we use means the following:

*Teach less, learn more – focussed lessons, evidencing learning and progress.

*No child being left behind – the majority of children are enabled to keep up every day.

*Understanding real life applications – wherever possible for learning to be relevant and not abstract, to teach with a clear purpose.

*Space and time – to experience and apply, with all children entitled to additional support to ensure they do not fall behind or to be challenged in their learning and go deeper with their understanding.

To this end, TAs run afternoon intervention sessions ensuring that children who didn’t quite understand the learning are retaught, and are ready for the following day’s lesson.

To assist our planning of the maths 'Mastery Learning Model', we use the White Rose Maths to inform our planning and teaching. White Rose’s philosophy matches our own, stating that all children should progress from fluency to reasoning and problem solving in each lesson. Consequently, there will be great emphasis on reasoning and problem solving in each mathematics lesson. As such, our lessons will follow a clear structure which is detailed below:

  • Do It - Children are introduced to new concepts and become fluent with new methods. They practise through well-crafted questions.
  • Twist It – Children do more practice where the problems and questions have been changed slightly so they need to apply their newly gained knowledge and skills.
  • Solve It - Children use reasoning and problem solving. They are given a range of mathematical problems in different contexts to deepen their understanding. These include activities such as: - show me, convince me, explain, true/false, open ended investigations, etc.

Maths lessons

Most days there are 2 maths sessions in Year 1-6. The first one is as the children arrive in school. It is called ‘Quick maths.’ There is no teaching in this session; it is a time for children to practise arithmetic and mental strategies, improving their fluency with mathematics, although the teacher may be working with identified children to move their learning on. The main lesson is at least one hour long. It starts with a 5 minute warm up focussed on mental arithmetic or times tables. This is followed by the teaching of new skills or knowledge, always using manipulatives, and/or images on the smartboard or flipchart. The pupils then have a short time to practise a few well-chosen questions. If they show they are confident they are quickly moved onto the ‘Twist it’ part where they apply those skills in a variety of different problems/situations. Finally the class are brought back together to be taught a problem solving strategy, such as sentence starters to explain their thinking, and they then go and apply their understanding with more in depth problem solving questions.


A similar approach is used in EYFS ensuring that maths has a high priority. The teach it, do it, twist it, solve it model is used to support children in making links between their maths learning and real life. Maths is taught five times a week. For four of these sessions practitioners support children's maths learning in the environment and through lead adult led tasks after a whole class teaching input. Once a week, following a maths whole class teaching input, the children take part in a 'Funky Feet' session which supports children with developing their maths oracy skills as well as developing their physical skills.

Maths in the Resource Base

Pupils within the resource Base have a structured and scaffolded maths approach across their week. This overlays learning and breaks objectives in to smaller more manageable steps. In the Sunshine and Rainbow Rooms, the children experience daily basic skills in maths each morning, which is linked to their EHCP targets and gaps to their learning. For the remainder of the week there are three weekly maths lessons, which are a maximum of forty minutes long that target objectives for their maths level and learning. For the other days of the week, their maths skills are supported by adult lead tasks and choosing activities which scaffold and reinforce objectives of the week. These activities feed into maths oracy skills and the overlaying of learning needed to reinforce their independent skills and knowledge

Paramount to their learning is the use of manipulatives, adult led activities, communication and physical skills linked to their EHCP targets. This approach is embedded in problem solving activities such as; cookery, play, PE, messy play and maths challenges.

Rainbow room accesses group maths lessons in a similar way with sessions matched to their need and EHCP targets so the length and variation changes with each group requirement. For instance, some groups access their mainstream class with support whilst others will remain in the Resource Base with more individualized adult led activities linked to personalised targets.

What will you see in our maths lessons?

  • Whole class teaching
  • Whole class response/ talk partners
  • Partner practice
  • Lots of apparatus and equipment
  • Limiting the number of calculations that children do before they start applying their learning.
  • A focus on the depth of learning and understanding, rather than rushing onto the next year group.
  • Problem solving challenges differentiated appropriately for a child’s ability and understanding.
  • Links being made between different areas of maths, questioning to encourage children to look for patterns and relationships.
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