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St Anne Line
Catholic Infant School & Nursery

Love Learn Pray

Mathematics Policy

Mathematics Policy 


Subject Lead: Miss Bond

Date: September 2022

Updates: Annually to reflect any DFE guidance updates or new research outcomes    

Full Review Date: 2025


About this Policy

This Mathematics Policy was developed following an evaluation of Mathematics as St Anne Line Catholic Infant School.  The previous policy was designed to reflect the changes to the new National Curriculum in 2014; this new policy takes into account the updated Mathematics Guidance from the DFE in 2020 and outcomes of research into the teaching of Mathematics. This policy will be updated annually as a result of any new guidance or research.  A full review of this policy will be undertaken in 3 years following a review of the mathematics long-term subject action plan.


Equality and Inclusion

At St Anne Line Catholic Infant School we strive to create a happy, safe and secure environment, where members of our school community are healthy, enjoy learning, achieve their potential, respect and value each other and themselves.


As an inclusive school the teaching and learning, achievements, attitudes and well-

being of every young person matters. We take into account pupils’ varied life experiences and needs, to provide equal opportunities for all pupils, whatever their age, disability, race, religion or belief, gender or social-economic background, to ensure that every child really does matter. We aim to develop a culture of inclusion and diversity in which success is celebrated and all those connected to the school feel proud of their identity and are able to participate fully in school life. 


We will tackle discrimination by the positive promotion of equality and the creation of an environment which

advocates respect for all.



At St Anne Line Catholic Infant School we recognise that mathematics is a fundamental part of understanding the world and ourselves.  Mathematics builds mental reasoning and logical thinking skills, playing a crucial role in other school subjects such as science, computing and music.  A high quality mathematics education also provides the foundations for everyday life beyond school such as in employment and being financially literate. 


With this in mind we promote the basic and wider understanding of mathematics in the hope of instilling an enjoyment in the subject, supporting children to engage confidently and positively with mathematics.


This policy should be read in conjunction with the following school policies and documents:

  • Mathematics Curriculum Statement
  • Calculation Policy
  • Marking and Feedback in Mathematics
  • Marking and Feedback Policy



Mental Health & Well-Being

At St Anne Line Catholic Infant School we recognise that mental health and well-being is a significant factor in ensuring all pupils are happy and confident learners who can reach their full potential.


Maths anxiety or a fear of maths is common, and although it can limit performance in certain situations and contexts, it’s not linked to intelligence or ability. In one study involving children, most of those with high maths anxiety scored normal to high results on curriculum maths tests.


There isn't a formal test for maths anxiety, but a situation involving maths, or even the thought of doing some maths, can bring on the following recognisable reactions in people with maths anxiety:

  • Feeling panicked or stressed
  • Feeling flustered or struggling to concentrate on a calculation
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating and nausea 
  • Avoiding situations which involve maths


The teaching approach taken for Mathematics at St Anne Line aims to reduce maths anxiety by making lessons accessible and inclusive for all children by breaking concepts and objectives into small steps.  


Some strategies that our curriculum tries to encompasses are listed below, these can also be used at home to help with maths anxiety:


Positive Mindset: One of the most important strategies is to ensure that there is no negative view of mathematics.  Try not to say things like “mummy is rubbish at maths, I’m not sure I can help” or “maths just isn’t your thing” or “boys are better at maths.”  Instead try phrases such as “let’s work on this and learn together” or “Practice makes progress.”


Recognising the emotion: Lots of people experience panic and stress when faced with maths, especially if it’s been a while since doing any. Trying to recognise that it won’t always be this way is important, e.g. that this is the way that you feel now, but not forever.


Making the time: It can help to be somewhere relaxed and quiet, allowing enough time so the element of speed and rushing is removed. If time is stretched, doing just ten minutes here and there works well.


Easing into it: Getting better at maths doesn’t happen overnight, it can be difficult and require persistence. This can be daunting for anyone who experiences maths anxiety. It is important for people to work at their own pace, without the pressure to master a problem straight away. Setting achievable goals, which feel reachable, can help to keep up the motivation while overcoming anxiety


Talking it through: In order to overcome maths anxiety, it’s important not to struggle alone. If a first attempt to solve something doesn’t work, it is important to seek support from others, this could be a friend, teacher, parent or maybe even a brother or sister.  There are lots of videos on YouTube which offer child-speak explanations and methods of mathematics.


Overcoming maths myths: Changing the way that we think about numbers can make a real difference to our self-confidence. It is helpful to remember that the ability to be good at maths isn’t something we are born with; it can change over time and we can all be good with numbers.


Our Curriculum

Teachers plan lessons using guidance from the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) following the ‘Mastery’ approach. A great deal of research over many years has provided us with the knowledge of how best to teach mathematics. We are following research from the NCETM and top performing countries such as Singapore and China.


The model below shows the 5 ‘big ideas’ of teaching mastery in mathematics and all mathematics lessons at St Anne Line Catholic Infant School will include several elements of this model based upon the content being taught and attainment of the pupils at that time.


This approach is designed for pupils to spend a longer amount of time on fewer mathematical concepts enabling them to work at a greater depth.  Objectives are not just ‘received’ passively but are worked on by the pupil to fully understand, explore and apply their new knowledge. This approach aims to reduce maths anxiety by allowing sufficient time for pupils to understand a concept rather than rushing through curriculum content.

For coherence, units of learning are broken down into small steps which are then explored through the Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract approach (CPA).



Concrete - Learning has been supported by using manipulatives such as counters.

Pictorial - The learner has used or drawn representations or models such as tens frames.

Abstract - The learner has understood the math concept using only numbers, notation, and mathematical symbols. 


Manipulatives, models, and stem sentences are used to expose concepts and connections in order to scaffold and strengthen learning. Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) coined in 1988 by John Sweller, suggests that our working memory is only able to hold a small amount of information at any one time and that instructional methods should avoid overloading it in order to maximise learning (Sweller, 1988).  Therefore in KS1, specifically chosen manipulatives and models are used by teachers and pupils which aim to reduce cognitive load eg. all children using a set of red, yellow or blue counters (depending on concept representation) rather than multicoloured, different sized counting bears.  For Reception and SEND pupils, low cognitive manipulatives are used by teachers in lessons whilst a wide range of manipulatives are provided in their learning environment. Pupils are able to explore concepts using their own choice of resources which can include natural resources such as stones or pine cones.




All pupils in Reception and Key Stage 1 have four ‘Mastering Number’ sessions per week, in addition to their daily mathematics lesson.  This programme from the NCETM aims to provide:

  • secure firm foundations in the development of good number sense for all children from Reception through to Year 1 and Year 2. 
  • children in KS1 with fluency in calculation, confidence and flexibility with number. 
  • key knowledge and understanding needed in Reception classes to support transition into KS1

“Most children will move through units of learning at broadly the same pace” National Curriculum 2014.  Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly will be challenged through rich problem solving opportunities to increase depth of understanding rather than simply accelerating through new content.  Any pupils who have gaps in their knowledge or are not sufficiently fluent with a concept will consolidate their understanding through additional practice before moving on.


Oracy in Mathematics

The National Curriculum 2014 Mathematics Programme of Study highlights the importance of spoken language in mathematics and states “the quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are key factors in developing their mathematical vocabulary and presenting a mathematical justification, argument or proof. They must be assisted in making their thinking clear to themselves as well as others, and teachers should ensure that pupils build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy their misconceptions.”  Therefore we ensure that oracy is a prominent aspect of our mathematics curriculum and lessons. 


Mathematical vocabulary has also been highlighted as a key teaching and learning aspect in the most recent DFE Mathematics Guidance (2020) Therefore, accurate mathematical vocabulary and stem sentences are used by teachers and encouraged by all pupils in lessons.  Stem sentences and key vocabulary are displayed in classrooms to support pupils' independent use and can be found in our Calculation Policy on the school website for parents to use at home too.



Teaching mathematics through the mastery approach offers all pupils access to the full mathematics curriculum. This inclusive approach, the CPA approach and emphasis on promoting multiple methods of solving a problem, builds self-confidence and resilience in pupils. Though the whole class goes through the same concept at the same pace, there is still plenty of opportunity for additional support for learning. This can take the form of:

  • Adult support
  • Scaffolded activities
  • Modelling with manipulatives or pictorial representations
  • Targeted intervention - 1:1 or additional small group sessions


No child will be denied a full curriculum, concepts will be revisited throughout the year to help with long term understanding and consolidating learning.


Pupils with SEND will be working towards the same objective as the pupils in their class, at the step suitable for their current progress on their mathematics learning journey. If pupils have missed learning or have gaps in their learning, they will be supported to develop their understanding before moving forward to prevent any misconceptions or difficulties later on.



Curriculum Organisation


In Reception the NCETM programme is supported by Numberblocks.  Numberblocks, first broadcast in January 2017, is a pre-school BBC television series aimed at introducing children to early number.  Snappy animation and loveable characters combine with engaging storylines to gently introduce concepts of number to support early mathematical understanding.  The NCETM materials use each episode as a launch pad. They are designed to assist Early Years teachers to move on from an episode, helping children to bring the numbers and ideas to life in the world around them.

Teachers will model precise and correct mathematical language, there are suggestions in the programme of key sentences and language structures to connect each mathematical idea to different contexts. Pupils will initially use their own language to talk about mathematics, and will be encouraged to use correct and precise language as modelled by the teachers.

The NCETM programme gives suggestions for extending mathematics into the wider Early Years environment where children engage in meaningful activity and explore the mathematical concepts further.  Additional mathematics learning will focus on the expectations of Development Matters / Early Years Outcomes and is developed through purposeful, play based experiences and will be represented throughout the indoor and outdoor provision. The learning will be based on pupil’s interests and current themes. Mathematical understanding can be developed through stories, songs, games, imaginative play, child initiated learning and structured teaching. As pupils progress, they will be encouraged to record their mathematical thinking.


An overview of learning from the NCETM Numberblocks programme is appended to this policy.


Key Stage 1: Long-term 

Teachers plan using the NCETM Prioritisation Programme which “provides coherent sequencing for the primary maths curriculum. It draws together the DfE guidance on curriculum prioritisation, with the high quality professional development and classroom resources provided by the NCETM.”  (NCETM)

This programme covers all objectives of the National Curriculum Mathematics Programme of Study 2014 with the exception of Statistics for Year 2.  Data Handling is taught in a discreet unit linked cross curricularly to foundation subjects of Science and Geography in the Spring Term as recommended by the NCETM.   This enables pupils to collect meaningful ‘real life’ data, understand data handling and graph construction in a relevant context.


Some curriculum content in the NCETM Prioritisation Programme may have been moved from one year groups programme of study to another but remains within the same key stage.  This is to improve coherence and to align to the new ‘ready-to-progress criteria’ contained in the updated DFE Mathematics Guidance 2020.


An overview of the curriculum content for Year 1 and Year 2  is appended to this policy.

Key Stage 1: Short-term 

Decisions about when to progress will always be based on the security of pupils’ understanding and their readiness to progress to the next stage. As stated by the DFE, “most children will move through units of learning at broadly the same pace” (National Curriculum 2014)  Teachers will assess pupils' progress using a range of assessment techniques including the ready-to-progress criteria (DFE 2020).  Teachers will then plan lessons to further explore a concept, deepen understanding or move the class on to the next concept. As a result of this flexible approach you may occasionally find that teaching does not precisely follow long-term planning.



Whole class teaching is adopted and pupils work in mixed ability groups, pairs, or individually.  We believe that all children should have the same standard of teaching and to ensure this we aim not to group children based on their attainment but also accept that at times this may be necessary. 


The structure of lessons will contain a demonstration of the concept or small step by the teacher.  Children are then encouraged to work along with the teacher, before applying the learning to their own work.  This is referred to as “I do, we do, you do”.  Depending on the progress of learners, some lessons may go back and forth between teacher demonstration and pupil exploration or application.


Children are encouraged to self mark and correct their work as the teacher and class discuss the outcomes of the learning.


Every classroom has a range of practical manipulatives and pictorial models to support children’s learning, with additional resources stored centrally. We review our resources regularly. 




Mathematics is assessed using formative strategies through:

  • Questioning & Discussions
  • Observations whilst pupils working
  • Reviewing and marking work


Reception teachers use Development Matters to assess attainment towards the Early Learning Goals. 

Key Stage 1 teachers make records of progress against the small step objectives during the teaching of each unit and use the DFE ready-to-progress criteria document to assess attainment at the end of the unit.

Year 2 pupils will also take the Key Stage 1 SAT test in May 2023. (This will be the final year of KS1 SATS)

All teachers use computer software called Target Tracker to record assessments at the end of each term.  This data is used to monitor pupil progress.