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Maths is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment. A high-quality mathematics education therefore provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.

At Pinfold Street Primary, we want all children to develop into confident and competent mathematical thinkers and to be able to apply their mathematical knowledge in a range of situations.

Our aim is that all children

  1. develop a positive and confident attitude to mathematics,

  2. enjoy mathematics

  3. reach their full potential as mathematicians by being able to recall and use the maths taught

  4. to transfer and apply knowledge in different contexts

  5. to reason and problem solve ready for everyday life


This deep learning is what we are aiming for by teaching maths using the mastery approach.

A Mastery Approach

At Pinfold, we know all children can be successful at maths provided they are given the opportunities to understand in a way that makes sense to them.    

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Research has found that children with ‘fixed mindsets’ who believe they are naturally no good at mathematics are less successful than those who have a ‘growth mindset’ and believe they can learn through effort. Therefore, the way we teach maths focuses on developing children’s self-esteem by creating a ‘can do’ attitude. This is done by ensuring children have a deeper understanding of each concept and not moving onto bigger numbers too quickly. As well as ‘hands on learning’ using real life situations and objects (concrete, pictorial and abstract- see below) which allows children to think and find out for themselves, creating strong maths foundations to build on throughout their life.

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Mixed Ability Partners

To scaffold and challenge children’s learning, children are sat in mixed ability pairs (children who have different levels of understanding and ability to grasp concepts). When choosing these, children’s personalities and learning behaviours are also considered. These partners are also changed regularly, to allow for different learning styles and behaviours. To make sure children feel confident within these pairs, there are always at least two children of similar understanding/ability on each table.


This organisation promotes rich discussion within partners that enables children to develop clear and accurate explanations, using real life objects and diagrams/pictures. Whilst working together, children are able to make sense of the maths talk/discuss/explain to each other. This maximises the learning for both children as well as building confidence. When children then share their ideas with the whole class, they have the confidence to feel that ‘this is our answer’ and therefore less exposing than ‘my answer’.

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