Teaching for Mastery

The National Curriculum states that children should be able to solve a range of problems, alongside developing mathematical fluency and the ability to reason and explain their thinking. Through adopting the mastery model for teaching mathematics we are able to achieve this. We use the White Rose scheme of work as a vehicle to deliver a curriculum that revolves around teaching for mastery. Children are taught to develop a deep conceptual understanding as well as procedural flexibility, and through this they meet the aims of the National Curriculum.

A typical lesson

At the start of a typical lesson, children focus on a 'get ready' starter activity which links to prior learning and embeds concepts already learnt. New learning begins gradually and prior knowledge is explored and then built upon with new skills. Links to other mathematical areas in lessons helps children to see patterns and use skills across a range of concepts. Lessons can be delivered and outcomes recorded in different ways using workbooks and journals.

One of the key principles of the mastery method is the concrete-pictorial-abstract approach. This means that you will often see children working with practical apparatus, whatever their ability. More able children may move more quickly onto pictorial and abstract (symbolic) representations but reinforcement and deep conceptual understanding is achieved by going back and forth between the concrete, pictorial and abstract. Through this approach, and with careful questioning, children will notice patterns, make connections and begin to generalise.

Throughout a lesson, you will hear the teacher and teaching assistants talking mainly in questions. This promotes thinking, and children have opportunities to discuss their ideas with talk partners as well as with the whole class. This enables them to refine their thinking and progress.

Alongside the White Rose scheme, all children receive extra basic skills practice in sessions as soon as they come into school. These sessions focus mainly on arithmetic, for example, multiplication tables or number bonds. 


Children in Year 6 will be preparing for their SATs, and as such they still follow the National Curriulum but also complete preparation work.



As set out in the National Curriculum, children are expected to move through programmes of study at broadly the same pace. In all year groups, children who grasp concepts quickly are extended through the use of effective questioning that aids higher order thinking. Children are challenged through the use of increasingly complex problems and are expected to show a variety of methods. Children who are less secure with a concept work more with practical apparatus and questioning is used to support and scaffold conceptual understanding.

Interventions are also planned for groups of children. These groups are fluid and based on assessment during mathematics lessons. They support children by giving those who find grasping mathematical concepts more difficult an opportunity to ‘catch up and keep up’.

Pupil feedback

Workbooks and exercise books are marked according to our school marking policy and termly assessments are carried out to support on-going teacher assessment.

Our progression document is set out below.


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