Hutton Cranswick Community Primary School


The Mastery Approach

Our approach to teaching maths at Hutton Cranswick CP School

What our school is doing to move towards a mastery approach: 

Using the core content from the Programmes of Study, we aim to provide children with deeper knowledge and understanding of mathematical procedures and related concepts.  Learning sequences are developmental and, depending on the concept, a good proportion of time will be spent securing key learning. Teachers will use their judgement about when it is the right time to move on.  As we secure this approach, it is envisaged that the large majority of pupils will progress through the curriculum content at broadly the same pace.

What a visitor might typically see in maths learning in our school:

  • Whole class direct teaching with clear and progressive modelling of concepts and procedures with sequences of varied examples
  • The consistent use of core manipulatives and representations to support ability to access learning and to deepen children’s understanding
  • Rehearsal of core facts and strategies through the development of frequent ‘intelligent rehearsal’ (Fluency Feeders)
  • Rich mathematical talk is given high status and supported by the learning environment and teachers’ questioning
  • Emphasis placed on ‘learning’ through reasoning, developing multiple strategies and concepts towards understanding
  • Pupils ‘grappling’ with learning mathematical concepts
  • Challenge for pupils grasping concepts quickly is provided through depth and breadth of experience
  • A few areas of learning covered more deeply in a half term
  • Frequent opportunities to reason and problem solve

Differentiation is achieved through:

– adjustments to allow access to whole class learning or

– increase in challenge through adjustment of depth and breadth to whole class learning.

How the school intervenes swiftly to help those having difficulty to make sure they keep up, and to stretch and deepen the learning of the ‘rapid-graspers’

  • Teachers work with a focus group each day supporting pupils having difficulty to catch up or deepening understanding for those pupils who have grasped the concept quickly. During this focus group, teachers are constantly assessing next steps and diagnosing misconceptions ready for future planning and teaching. These groups are flexible and based upon pupils’ understanding of the current learning as teachers understand that pupils grasp areas of maths at different rates. So, for example, a pupil might find learning an aspect of number difficult but may require challenge in geometric learning
  • Teachers make manipulatives available to support and/or challenge conceptual understanding depending on the needs of the pupil
  • TAs are well trained and as a result of their increased subject knowledge are able to support groups effectively
  • The school invests in early intervention for mathematics. These will be short-term and sharply focussed upon specific needs. Leaders will regularly assesses the impact of these as part of the school monitoring cycle
  • Staff understand that stretch and challenge are achieved through increasing opportunities for pupils to work deeply and broadly within each area of mathematics.


Mathematics Mastery places emphasis on the cumulative mastery of essential knowledge and skills in mathematics. It embeds a deeper understanding of maths by utilising a concrete, pictorial, abstract approach so that pupils understand what they are doing rather than just learning to repeat routines without grasping what is happening. 


The principle of the concrete-pictorial-abstract (CPA) approach is that for children to have a true understanding of a mathematical concept, they need to master all three phases. Reinforcement is achieved by going back and forth between these representations. For example, if a child has moved on from the concrete to the pictorial, it does not mean that the concrete cannot be used alongside the pictorial. Or if a child is working in the abstract, ‘proving’ something or ‘working out’ could involve use of the concrete or pictorial. In short, these are not always ‘exclusive’ representations.

Calculation Policy for the Mastery Approach

One of the most common things that parents/carers and grandparents comment on is the changes in methods for solving calculations. By clicking the link below, you will be able to see how children in each year are taught to calculate, and also how the progression across the school works. And if you'd like to see more, please look out for our Maths Workshop for parents that will be advertised soon!


Calculation Policy - Addition and Subtraction


Calculation Policy - Multiplication and Division