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Kingswood Primary School

"Opportunity, Enjoyment, Excellence"

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Kingswood Primary School

"Opportunity, Enjoyment, Excellence"


Mathematics in the Early Years Curriculum


As part of the Early Learning goals in Reception the children learn to:

  • count reliably with numbers form 1 to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number;
  • add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer;
  • solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing.


Shape, Space and Measures:

As part of the Early Learning goals in Reception the children learn to:

  • use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, time and money to compare quantities and objects to solve problems;
  • recognise, create and describe patterns;
  • explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and use mathematical language to describe them.

Progression into KS1 and KS2

Our work in the Early Years flows into our KS1 and KS2 curriculum, which follows the National Curriculum for mathematics:

The national curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:
  • 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 following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
  • can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.

Key Learning through Years 1 to 6:

Whilst teaching the whole mathematics curriculum as detailed above, we also focus on key elements within the programmes of study, that, if mastered, demonstrate a child’s grasp of understanding of that facet of the national curriculum. These have been taken from guidance published by the National Association of Head Teachers, and are set out for each year group below.

Taking a "mastery" approach:


At Kingswood Primary School we take a "mastery" approach to the teaching of mathematics and are currently working with GLOWMaths and other schools across Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Worcestershire to embed this way of learning into our school practice. The key principles of mastery are:


  • Maths teaching for mastery rejects the idea that a large proportion of people ‘just can’t do maths’.
  • All pupils are encouraged by the belief that by working hard at maths they can succeed.
  • Pupils are taught through whole-class interactive teaching, where the focus is on all pupils working together on the same lesson content at the same time, as happens in Shanghai and several other regions that teach maths successfully. This ensures that all can master concepts before moving to the next part of the curriculum sequence, allowing no pupil to be left behind.
  • If a pupil fails to grasp a concept or procedure, this is identified quickly and early intervention ensures the pupil is ready to move forward with the whole class in the next lesson.
  • Lesson design identifies the new mathematics that is to be taught, the key points, the difficult points and a carefully sequenced journey through the learning.
  • Significant time is spent developing deep knowledge of the key ideas that are needed to underpin future learning. The structure and connections within the mathematics are emphasised, so that pupils develop deep learning that can be sustained.



Developing skills in problem solving:


We teach mathematical problem-solving skills through the STOPS programme (Sequenced Teaching of Problem Solving). This involves discretely teaching eight strategies of increasing complexity and applying them in mathematical contexts:


  • Act It Out - physically acting out the situation represented in a maths problem to help us better understand the problem.
  • Trial and Error - guessing the answer and then checking that the guess fits the answer.
  • Trial and Improvement - removing possible answers until the correct solution remains. It helps children organise and evaluate which pieces of information they will use, eliminating the information that does not fit.
  • Making a List or Table - writing the information in a more organised format. This enables children to discover relationship and patterns within data.
  • Find a Pattern - looking for patterns in the data in order to solve a problem.Children look for items, events or series of events that are repeated.
  • Simplifying Problems - when a problem is too complex to be solved in a single step, it helps to divide it into simpler problems and solve each one separately.
  • Working Backwards - starting with the end in mind helps develop a strategy that leads to a solution by backing through the process.
  • Algebra - if the problem involves numbers and number operations, a mathematical sequence or expression of a relationship with numbers or symbols, such as an equation or formula, can help to make the solution clearer.