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The Importance of Mathematics in the Curriculum

Mathematics equips pupils with a uniquely powerful set of tools to understand and change the world. These tools include logical reasoning, problem-solving skills, and the ability to think in abstract ways. Mathematics is important in everyday life, many forms of employment, science and technology, medicine, the economy, the environment and development, and in public decision-making. Different cultures have contributed to the development and application of mathematics. Today, the subject transcends cultural boundaries and its importance is universally recognised. Mathematics is a creative discipline. It can stimulate moments of pleasure and wonder when a pupil solves a problem for the first time, discovers a more elegant solution to that problem, or suddenly sees hidden connections.

The essential characteristics of mathematics in school will involve the development in all children of the ability to solve problems, communicate and reason with themselves and each other.

Mathematics is essentially a proficiency that involves confidence and competence with numbers and measures. It requires:

  • an understanding of the number system;

  • a repertoire of computational skills;

  • an inclination and ability to solve number problems in a variety of contexts;

  • a practical understanding of the world around them within the context of their everyday life;

  • the development of skills of using and applying;

  • knowledge and understanding of numbers and the number system, calculations, shape, space and measures and handling data.


    The aims of the subject and how they contribute to the aims of the school.

    Brixington Primary Academy aims to:

  • stimulate and excite pupils’ curiosity about changes and events in the world;

  • satisfy this curiosity with knowledge;

  • engage pupils as learners at many levels through linking ideas with practical experience;

  • help pupils to learn to question and discuss mathematical issues that may affect their own lives;

  • help pupils develop, model and evaluate explanations through mathematical methods of collecting evidence using critical and creative thought;

  • show pupils how major mathematical ideas contribute to technological change and how this impacts on improving the quality of our everyday lives;

  • help pupils recognise the cultural significance of mathematics and trace its development.



    Entitlement and Curriculum Provision (including statutory position)

    Mathematics is a core subject of the National Curriculum and pupils undertake some mathematics activity every week at the Foundation Stage and at Key Stages 1 and 2. Time allocations will be 3 hours and 45 minutes a week at Key Stage 1, and between 4 hours and 10 minutes a week and 5 hours a week at Key Stage 2. 

    Mathematics is taught as a discrete subject.  The programmes of study are covered in units of work developed from the National Numeracy Strategy.

    Planning takes into account that the school places a high emphasis on the development of pupils’ skills of using and applying mathematics (Ma1). In the substantial majority of lessons the skills for Ma1 are taught alongside the knowledge and understanding in number (Ma2), shape, space and measure (Ma3) and handling data (Ma4).

    At the Foundation Stage pupils’ development depends on confidence and competency in learning and using key skills. This area of learning includes counting, sorting, matching, seeking patterns, making connections, recognising relationships and working with numbers, shapes, space and measures. Mathematical understanding is developed through stories, songs, games and imaginative play, so that children enjoy using and experimenting with numbers, including numbers larger than 10. There is also a place for children to have good opportunities to take part in well-planned play. Through communicating with others as they solve problems, by thinking creatively and imaginatively, by taking risks and making mistakes and exploring and developing learning experiences that help them make sense of the world.

    At Key Stage 1 pupils develop their knowledge and understanding of mathematics through practical activity, exploration and discussion. They learn to count, read, write and order numbers to 100 and beyond. They develop a range of mental calculation skills and use these confidently in different settings. They learn about shape and space through practical activity that builds on their understanding of their immediate environment. They begin to grasp mathematical language, using it to talk about their methods and explain their reasoning when solving problems and through the help of ICT if it is appropriate.

    At Key Stage 2 pupils use the number system more confidently. They move from counting reliably to calculating fluently with all four number operations. They often try to tackle a problem with mental methods before using any other approach. Pupils explore features of shape and space and develop their measuring skills in a range of contexts. They discuss and present their methods and reasoning using a wider range of mathematical language, diagrams, charts and ICT to communicate their ideas.


    The Unit Leader and HOTL is responsible for evaluating the overall impact of the mathematics curriculum on standards and for ensuring good continuity and progression in mathematics through the school. The Unit Leader and HOTL is responsible for keeping up-to-date with new developments and for ensuring relevant information is disseminated to the whole staff. The Unit Leader and HOTL will maintain an exemplar portfolio of pupils’ work including year group and the appropriate levels. The subject leader will also advise staff over assessment issues.

    Liaison with Secondary Schools will ensure smooth transition from Key Stage 2 to 3.

    There is a balance of content from each Attainment Target every year.

    Long-term planning

    Brixington Primary Academy will base Foundation Stage planning on a Long Term Plan integrating the 6 areas of learning (including mathematical development and the Early Learning Goals for numbers as labels and for counting and for calculating.)

    Within Key Stages 1 and 2, planning will be based broadly on the National Primary Strategy for mathematics in Key Stages 1 and 2, adapted as appropriate. The Framework consists of a set of yearly teaching programmes or programmes of study that summarise the teaching objectives for each year from Reception to Year 6. Each programme covers the full range of the National Curriculum for mathematics that is relevant to the year group. The key objectives are given priority throughout the yearly programme. There is a common teaching plan in the autumn and summer terms and a separate one for the spring term. Each planning grid indicates the topics to be taught in units of work, and the recommended number of days of lessons for each unit, except in Reception, where the length of units of work needs to be determined once children have settled in to school. The grids for Years 1 and 2, for Years 3 and 4, and for Years 5 and 6 correspond very closely to help with planning and teaching.

    Medium-term planning (MTP)

    The school agreed MTP format is used for each unit of work. The MTP identifies:

  • National Curriculum Programmes of Study;

  • Subject Skills, Thinking Skills and Key Skills;

  • Learning objectives, mathematical vocabulary and the activities and/or episodes including extension activities through which it is suggested these could be taught.

  • Indication as to which of the school aims are to be addressed;

  • assessment opportunities and the focus and form/s in which such assessment/s would take place;

  • guidance as to the expectations and /or levels children are likely to achieve by the end of the unit;

  • safety issues, links to risk assessment;

  • an indication of links to other subjects including Information Communication Technology;

  • each unit of work will be evaluated and amendments or alterations made after completion.  This information should be passed on to the subject leader who will retain up-to-date copies of all MTP’s.

    Short-term (weekly) planning (STP)

    The school’s agreed STP format will be used. This describes:

  • the learning objectives for the unit of work and the specific lesson;

  • the activity/ies through which this will be delivered and the groupings in which children will work;

  • key resources (for teacher information and for use in the lesson);

  • any specific vocabulary will be listed;

  • details of differentiation, including information as to the directing of TA’s (Teaching Assistants);

  • a link to risk assessment for the specific episode (MTP);

  • notes for future planning.

    Teaching and Learning

    Teachers will implement the school’s teaching and learning policy and refer to subject guidance provided by the Subject Leader.

    Teaching Assistants will need clear guidance about their role.

    The Subject Leader will support staff in the planning, teaching and assessment of mathematics where appropriate.

    All lessons have clear learning objectives which are shared and reviewed with the pupils effectively.

    A wide variety of strategies, including questioning, discussion, concept mapping and marking, are used to assess progress in line with “Assessment for Learning” practice.

    Activities develop the skills of using and applying, problem solving, communicating, reasoning, selecting appropriate equipment and using it safely, searching for patterns in their results and developing logical thinking.

    Lessons make effective links with other curriculum areas and subjects, especially literacy, numeracy and ICT.

    Activities are challenging, motivating and extend pupils’ learning.

    Assessment and Recording

    Assessment for Learning is continuous and will inform planning.

    At the start of each unit of work teachers will assess the pupils’ knowledge and understanding and adapt planning accordingly.  This assessment may take the form of for example, questioning, discussion or concept mapping, and will be referred back to in order to assess progress at the end of the unit of work.

    Assessment is based on the teaching of the key objectives specified for each year group and will take place in the form of appropriate “assess and reviews” at the end of each half term.

    Teachers record information referring to children’s achievements and progress in a mark book / class file which will be passed to the following year’s teacher with the class.

    Teachers will analyse pupils’ progress to complete the annual report to parents.

    Extension or extra curricular opportunities

    In line with the school’s aims for the child as an individual, work will be planned to allow for extended opportunities as and where appropriate.

    Medium Term Planning will identify opportunities for visits and fieldwork as appropriate to the unit of work.  The planning of such activities will be in line with school policy and practice and will be discussed with the head teacher before firm plans are made.

    The class teacher will plan enrichment activities for those children that are more able.

    Learning Resources

    The Unit Leaders and the HOTL is responsible for the maintenance of the school’s resources for mathematics.  Some of these are held in a central location although class teachers have a set of equipment for day-to-day use. An up-to-date inventory, maintained by the subject manager, is available to all staff.  The subject leader is responsible for placing a bid for funds to maintain and improve resources and for ordering such resources with the permission and knowledge of the head teacher.

    Teachers should make sensible decisions as to the equipment children should be able to use, depending on their age and key stage, other factors such as whether there is additional adult support, and in some cases reference to IEP’s should be taken into consideration.  Teachers are responsible for the completion and filing of risk assessments whenever appropriate.

    It is the responsibility of the member of staff who takes resources to replace them appropriately and inform the subject leader of any breakages or worn out items.


    Planning at all levels ensures that the interests of boys and girls are taken into account.  Pupils are grouped in mixed ability and gender groups for all activities.

    The pupils work individually, in pairs, as part of a small group and as a whole class each term.  They use a variety of means for communicating and recording their work.

    Educational support staff work as directed by the teacher, educational assistants assigned to pupils with special educational needs and Teacher Assistants working with year groups or particular classes are all included in planning meetings, where there is the opportunity for discussion and joint planning with teaching staff.

    All pupils, including those with special educational needs, undertake the full range of activities.  Teacher assessment determines the depth to which individuals and groups go during each unit of work.

    Weekly planning shows how activities have been adapted or extended for the needs of all pupils and, where appropriate, how they relate to IEPs.

    End of year results will be analysed to show the relative progress of gender and ethnic groups in addition to pupils on the SEN Code of Practice.

    Contribution to Key Skills and Thinking Skills

    The school curriculum aims to promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and prepare all pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life.

    At all Key Stages, pupils learn, practise, combine, develop and refine a wide range of skills in their work across the Mathematics Curriculum.  Some of these skills are subject specific, some are common to several subjects.

    Some skills are universal, for example the skills of communication, improving own learning and performance, and creative thinking.  These skills are also imbedded into the subjects of the National Curriculum and are essential to effective learning.

    Opportunities for teaching and learning all these skills across the key stages are   identified in Medium Term Planning and therefore taken into account in Short Term Planning.  The range of skills is addressed throughout the school taking into account progression in the child’s development.