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Maths at St Nicholas

As a school, we want to ensure every child has the ability to ‘talk’ maths. The children will be fluent in communicating and articulating their understanding by using the correct mathematical vocabulary to reason and justify their knowledge in maths.


At St Nicholas our mathematical aims are to ensure all children:

- become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately. 

- reason mathematically by looking for patterns and relationships, making connections, forming opinions, reasoning, and generalising. Pupils actively engage in mathematical thinking in all lessons, communicating their ideas using precise mathematical language.

- can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.

These aims support our children in ensuring they are confident mathematicians who are not afraid to take risks and become fully developed independent learners with inquisitive minds who have secure mathematical foundations.


At St Nicholas, we believe that all children can be successful in the study of maths. We teach the class as a whole, except where children are working significantly behind their peers. This is central to our Mastery approach to teaching and learning.

In order to achieve Mastery, our expectation is that through quality teaching, all our children will successfully access the learning. We expect the vast majority of children to through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace. However, for children who lack fluency, we provide opportunities to consolidate their understanding through additional scaffolding (this could be through adult support, concrete resources or adapted resources). 

Across the school, Maths lessons are taught daily where the children:

- practice fluency and the ability to recall and apply knowledge accurately and quickly. 

- develop reasoning skills by following a line of enquiry, generalising, making links and justifying using mathematical language.

-develop the ability to solve increasingly complex problems. 

The main vehicle we use to achieve this is Power Maths.

How does Power Maths work?

Each Maths lesson follows the mastery approach to learning which is divided into evidence-based sections and set out clearly in the textbooks. Lessons are busy and interactive with children working independently, in pairs, in groups and as a class.

The lesson begins with a Power Up fluency task to sustain prior learning, consolidate number facts and establish the lesson’s confident, can-do tone.

Next, children share, explore and learn from a Discover problem, presented with some focused questions to guide their thinking. Children have to grapple with this task, and consider how to show their understanding in different ways. 

After the Discover stage, children discuss their learning in a Share activity. During this whole-class, interactive learning phase, children share their thinking and look for the best ways to solve the problem. The Share section has the added benefit of allowing children to read the Maths. All too often they focus on the abstract, numerical form, such as”3 x 5 = 15”, but a written problem makes very different demands on the children. We teach children to use the right language, read the Maths and see it in different forms at the same time.

The lesson then moves into a Think Together section. It begins with a teacher-guided question followed by a problem for children to solve in collaboration with a partner, and finally an independent question. It develops the concrete problem through the pictorial and abstract stages and there is clear progression within each lesson. 

In the Practice section, children use the cleverly devised Practice Books to apply and rehearse what they’ve learned. The carefully varied questions help children to understand the essential features of each concept and build their fluency. They push children that bit further… The questions are not what they’re expecting and they have to think a bit more! There’s always an ‘Even Deeper’ challenge question that links to other Maths areas, too.

Finally, a Reflect section brings each lesson to a conclusion. It involves everyone looking back on what they feel they’ve each learned, and it’s a great way of helping each child to understand and consolidate their learning.

Early Years Foundation Stage

In EYFS, teachers use the PowerMaths program to teach shape, space and measure. Alongside this, to support the teaching of numbers, teachers use the NCETM Mastering Number program. This is matched to the National Curriculum Early Learning goals. Maths is a specific area of learning in the Early Years curriculum.

This is then continued as a fluency based program in Key Stage 1. This secures firm foundations in the development of good number sense for all children from Reception through to Year 1 and Year 2. 

The aim is that children will leave EYFS with fluency in calculation and confidence and flexibility with numbers. Attention will be given to key knowledge and understanding needed in Reception classes, and progression through KS1 to support success in the future.

The children learn to:

- clearly communicate their mathematical ideas.

- develop a secure understanding of how to build firm mathematical foundations.

- develop fluency in calculation and number sense.

- develop understanding and use of appropriate manipulatives to support their understanding of mathematical structures.

Play-based opportunities are carefully planned and provided by staff. The learning environment both inside and outside is set up to create a stimulating space where children feel confident, secure and challenged in their mathematical thinking. Learning experiences provide children with a chance to explore, use their senses and become independent in their learning. Enhanced provision to meet the children's individual needs and next steps can be seen in the provision provided. 

Times tables 

Children will be explicitly taught their times tables during Maths lessons. The children should know the followings times tables by the end of the following years:

Year 2 - 2s, 5s, 10s

Year 3 - 3s, 4s, 8s

Year 4 - 6s, 7s, 9s, 11s, 12s

At the end of Year 4, children will sit the multiplication check where they will be asked 25 random multiplication questions to check their recall of these facts.

All children have access to Times Table Rock Stars to support them in gaining fast recall of these number facts to help them with the most difficult concepts of Maths in Upper Key Stage 2.