The Maths Mastery Approach at Little Gaddesden


“A place where all children can gain a conceptual understanding of Maths

through representation, variation, making connections

and continual review of current knowledge and skills”

Mathematics Rationale and Aims

Our focus for high quality Mathematics learning has continued with our participation in the NCETM Mastery Programmes which ‘assumes everyone can learn and enjoy mathematics’. Our curriculum is a detailed sequence of learning with sustained progression over time. We use White Rose Maths and provide an inclusive and rich mastery curriculum that ensures challenge for all.

Learning consists of pupils’ developing mathematical fluency and deepening their understanding of mathematical principles through problem solving and reasoning.

Our teaching for Mastery has reached the ‘Sustaining’ Phase, whereby we focus on continued improvement, consistency and refinement. This enables staff to develop their mastery skills. Within our Mastery approach, we are part of the Mastering Number programme,striving for good number sense for all our children from Reception through to Key Stage 1. This helps to establish their mathematical building blocks, enabling pupils to move to Key Stage 2 with fluency in calculation and confidence with manipulating numbers.

Key principles of our approach

Our teaching for mastery is underpinned by the NCETM’s 5 big ideas:


Our lessons are broken down into small steps that gradually unfold the concept, providing access for all children and leading to a generalisation of the concept and the ability to apply the concept to a range of contexts.

Representation and Structure

Moving between abstract, pictorial and concrete representations expose the mathematical structure being taught and allow pupils to develop a true conceptual understanding.

Mathematical Thinking

To help our pupils develop mastery and mathematical fluency, we believe pupils must be exposed to a range of reasoning and problem solving style questions every lesson alongside discussion with peers.


As a school we are moving towards a fluency focused approach in every lesson that encourages quick and efficient recall of facts and procedures and the flexibility to move between different contexts and representations in mathematics


A new and exciting focus in Maths is variation: conceptual and procedural.  Our teachers are implementing ‘intelligent practice’ into our question design by paying attention to what is kept the same and what changes, to connect the mathematics and draw attention to mathematical relationships and structure.

The Five Big Ideas were first published by the NCETM in 2017.

Mathematics at Little Gaddesden School

Progression in Mathematics

Little Gaddesden Calculation policies

DfE Mathematics Curriculum