Maths Mastery at Highfields

At Highfields Spencer Academy we are passionate about mathematics and regard it as an essential tool for everyday life.  Our team teach maths using the Maths Mastery approach. This approach supports progression throughout the primary years and has a strong concrete, pictoral, abstract (CPA) thread running throughout. This means that children are exposed to conceptual ideas at a concrete level with a range of apparatus (e.g. counters, beads, dienes and numicon) before moving on to pictoral representations. This may mean using diagrams, sketches or using the Singapore bar model to solve problems. Approaching maths in this manner develops children’s deep conceptual understanding and skills proficiency which supports the next move into abstract mathematics, such as long division.

At Highfields Spencer Academy, we believe children should take an active role in their learning. Maths lessons will therefore be designed to be interactive with a high level of pupil talk, allowing them to develop their mathematical understanding with their peers in real life context. To further develop this skill, each year group will take part in weekly reasoning lessons when their skills are used to develop understanding and problem solving, whilst learning to enjoy natural mathematical problems in the world around us.


Why focus on Maths Mastery?

Mastering maths means pupils acquiring a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject.

The phrase ‘teaching for mastery’ describes the elements of classroom practice and school organisation that combine to give pupils the best chances of mastering maths.

Achieving mastery means acquiring a solid enough understanding of the maths that’s been taught to enable pupils to move on to more advanced material.



When teaching mathematics at Highfields Spencer Academy, 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. 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. We encourage resilience, adaptability and acceptance that struggle is often a necessary step in learning.



Every class from Reception to Year 6 follows the White Rose 3.0 scheme of learning, which is based on the National Curriculum (supported by Powermaths materials when appropriate). In order to further develop the children’s fluency, reasoning and problem-solving, we practice reasoning which correlates to the White Rose Maths lessons and further develops children’s understanding of a concept and the links between maths topics.


We use a CPA approach to Maths

We implement our approach through high quality teaching delivering appropriately challenging work for all individuals. When children have grasped a concept using concrete equipment, images and diagrams are used (pictorial) prior to moving to abstract questions. Abstract maths relies on the children understanding a concept thoroughly and being able to use their knowledge and understanding to answer and solve maths without equipment or images.


Maths in the Early Years

The journey for our pupils actually begins right at the beginning of Nursery ( FS1 and FS2).

We use the to help us focus on six key areas of maths:

  • Cardinality and Counting – Understanding that the cardinal value of a number refers to the quantity, or ‘howmanyness’ of things it represents
  • Comparison – Understanding that comparing numbers involves knowing which numbers are worth more or less than each other
  • Composition – Understanding that one number can be made up from (composed from) two or more smaller numbers
  • Pattern – Looking for and finding patterns helps children notice and understand mathematical relationships
  • Shape and Space – Understanding what happens when shapes move, or combine with other shapes, helps develop wider mathematical thinking
  • Measures – Comparing different aspects such as length, weight and volume, as a preliminary to using units to compare later


We use Number blocks in Nursery to help us engage pupils!


Everyone can

Together, we’re building a whole new culture of deep understanding, confidence and competence in maths – a culture that produces strong, secure learning and real progress for all pupils.


Our mantra is simple:

Through our Maths lessons we will be shaping assured, happy and resilient mathematicians who relish the challenge of maths. They will become independent, reflective thinkers, whose skills not only liberate them in maths but also support them across the curriculum.

We’re committed to working together to be and give the very best, and to make a difference to every pupil.


Further Reading

  • Click here to view our nursery overview.
  • Click here to view our reception overview.
  • Click here to view our national curriculum progression map.
  • Click here to learn more about maths at home.
  • Click here to view our maths policy.
  • Click here to learn more about our recovery curriculum.
  • Click here to learn more about our primary schemes of learning.
  • Click here to view our calculation policy for Years 1-6.
  • Click here to view our multiplication policy for Years 1-6.