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“Without mathematics, there’s nothing you can do. Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers.” (Shakuntala Devi).   Our approach to Mathematics is both skills and knowledge based. In order for our children to develop into well rounded and passionate mathematicians, we aim to encourage the children’s understanding of the world around them and arm the children with the skills to approach everyday problems.

At Ashfield, we believe that fluency is key. Children need to have a secure understanding of basic principles in order to deepen their knowledge of the maths curriculum further. With our carefully sequenced curriculum, children are encouraged to challenge themselves through the use of efficient and effective approaches to problems which they may face. Sequences, patterns, measures and ultimately the entire study of mathematics was created to make more sense of the world around us and our aim is to enable all of our pupils to use maths as a tool to explore these possibilities through the use of inspiring and challenging mathematical tasks.

Our Maths curriculum is carefully sequenced into a number of small learning steps so that children achieve and build on success within and across lessons. Our learning sequences provide sufficient opportunities to revisit previously learned knowledge and skills and this helps to embed learning in the children’s long term memories. We use Herts for Learning EssentialMaths sequences as the basis for our curriculum, which we then adapt for the needs of our children.

Children are encouraged to make mistakes in a safe and supportive environment. Oracy is vital and so the use of appropriate vocabulary is modelled throughout lessons by both staff and children, allowing everyone to ‘talk like a mathematician’. Once a child can articulate their understanding of a concept, they can truly begin to make connections within their learning.    Our North Star is for all children at Ashfield to be enthusiastic, creative and articulate mathematicians. They will have a positive attitude towards mathematics that will stay with them for life.


At Ashfield, Maths is taught as a discreet subject, although children will apply their mathematical knowledge to science and other subjects. Lessons are planned with a clear progression across each year group.   Key skills and knowledge have been broken down and allocated to different year groups to ensure full coverage of the National Curriculum.  Our Maths curriculum builds on what children have learnt at our local infant feeder school.  It has been carefully planned to ensure that children

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics
  • reason mathematically
  • can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication.

At Ashfield, our Maths lessons are based upon the ESSENTIALmaths sequences. These are designed by Herts for Learning experts. We use the sequences at Ashfield because they support the delivery of a spiral curriculum, in which learning is built upon step by step, sequence by sequence and year on year. The materials are aspirational and ensure progression and coverage throughout out school. We also use the sequences to ‘track back’ for children who are working below their current year group.

Learning sequences are designed to cover National Curriculum statements and key concepts, through small learning steps with a mastery approach. They aim to develop conceptual understanding and procedural fluency in parallel, including speaking frames, practice examples, games and problem solving opportunities for the children to build upon their prior learning.

At Ashfield, teachers deliver careful modelling with concrete resources and pictorial representations to develop the children’s understanding of structures and connections in mathematics. Pupils actively participate through purposeful questioning, whole class discussions, talk partners, and by using resources to demonstrate their thinking.

Regular recording opportunities encourage pupils to represent and internalise their learning, and the children are encouraged to use models, drawings, symbols and concrete resources including the following: bead strings, base 10 equipment (Dienes) double sided counters, place value counters and cubes.

We use speaking frames to support pupil development of the language of mathematics. They enable the children to articulate their thinking using accurate technical vocabulary, and support core skills such as conjecturing and generalising to investigate and problem solve.

We also use ‘Destination Questions’ throughout each learning sequence. These ensure that pupils have exposure to a variety of different question types and potential misconceptions at each stage of their learning. Opportunities are built-in for children to think deeply and develop explicit reasoning and problem-solving skills, so that they can confidently apply their learning to new contexts. The ‘Buffer Zone’ in each sequence  allows teachers to check that pupils are secure in their understanding, before moving on to the next step and helps to map each pupil’s learning journey against age-related expectations.

We use ESSENTIALmaths practice materials in each year group which provide further resources in many of the learning sequences. They provide a developmental approach in which pupils continue to ‘see’ new aspects of an idea over the course of practice. Each sheet provides a range of different types of practice such as worked examples; rehearsal; developing further thinking; ‘Can I still…’ retrieval; application and investigation.

We supplement the ESSENTIALmaths scheme with White Rose Maths. This has been chosen because it further breaks down the learning sequences into smaller steps. We use Abacus, Target Your Maths and Maths No Problem textbooks to provide overlearning opportunities. We use MyMaths to provide homework linked to the learning in class and Times Tables Rockstars to ensure that children are fluent with their times tables knowledge.

Maths Curriculum Overview

See also individual statutory yearly overviews
Year 3 Number & Place Value, Addition & Subtraction, Multiplication & Division, Fractions, Measurement, Geometry – Properties of Shapes, Statistics
Year 4 Number & Place Value, Addition & Subtraction, Multiplication & Division, Fractions including decimals, Measurement, Geometry – Properties of Shapes, Geometry – Position & Direction, Statistics
Year 5 Number & Place Value, Addition & Subtraction, Multiplication & Division, Fractions including decimals and percentages, Measurement, Geometry – Properties of Shapes, Geometry – Position & Direction, Statistics
Year 6 Number & Place Value, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication & Division, Fractions including decimals and percentages, Ratio & Proportion, Algebra, Measurement, Geometry – Properties of Shapes, Geometry – Position & Direction, Statistics


  • Our children can talk passionately about learning in Maths
  • Children articulate existing and new knowledge, skills and language learnt and apply this in written and mental maths
  • Children use mathematical vocabulary appropriately enabling them to answer mathematical problems, calculations and processes.  Children reason with the correct mathematical vocabulary
  • Children understand the need for their learning – why do you need to learn this?  They understand how Maths can be applied in real life scenarios
  • Children discuss how they have shown resilience and learn from their mistakes
  • Children confidently use mathematical resources for support

Our children will be successful and engaged in lessons because:

  • Teachers use assessment for learning to inform planning to address misconceptions and gaps in learning
  • Teachers build on a progression of skills and knowledge from the previous year
  • Teachers make links and connections with prior learning in Maths and in other curriculum subjects
  • Teachers scaffold activities, model mathematical vocabulary and follow a sequence of learning so that all children can make progress