Federation of Earlswood Schools

A Place to Learn Together

We offer Nursery Provision to Year 6


Mathematics at Earlswood...

 At Earlswood Federation, we adopt an engaging and accessible mastery approach to our teaching of mathematics to ensure deep, sustained learning for all. This approach to the curriculum encourages learners to achieve a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts, rather than learning procedures by rote. This starts in our Nursery and Reception classes where we ensure children develop a secure mathematical foundation of cardinality and counting, comparison, composition, pattern, shape and space, and measures. Using real life objects and contexts, children explore these concepts through their environment and in their play, in addition to their daily maths sessions. 


Throughout the Federation, all children are taught the same mathematical concepts, moving through the curriculum at broadly the same pace. The learning needs of individual pupils are addressed through careful scaffolding, skilful questioning and appropriate rapid intervention, in order to provide the necessary support and challenge.


Central to this approach is the concrete – pictorial – abstract process. Children are encouraged to begin to physically represent mathematical concepts with objects. Pictorial representations are then used to demonstrate and visualise strategies, before moving on to more abstract, formal, numerical methods. This approach enables all children to access the learning and to make a deeper connection between mathematical concepts and understanding of, otherwise, abstract ideas.

Within every topic in Maths, the learning is broken down into small steps. Throughout these small steps, all pupils will develop their fluency, reasoning and problem-solving skills.


It is essential that our children are secure with the fluency as this will enable them to comprehend the reasoning and problem solving. In order to ensure our children are confident with fluency, we dedicate one lesson every week around the four operations. As a result, our children are more confident and quicker when being faced with reasoning and problem-solving questions.


To ensure that children can ‘master’ each concept, they are then encouraged to reason with their answers. It is essential that the children can articulate why a particular mathematical concept will or will not work and justify their responses. For every topic, key vocabulary is taught to the children to ensure they can use this technical vocabulary in context. 


The final part of this approach, is being able to problem solve. Problem solving is at the heart of mastering mathematics. Teaching for mastery involves holding problem solving as the ultimate aim of learning mathematics for every child.


Key features of our maths curriculum:

  • High expectations for every child
  • Scaffolding through pictorial and concrete resources to ensure all children can access the learning
  • Fewer topics, taught for longer, in greater depth
  • Concrete objects and pictures always before abstract numbers
  • Challenge is central through problem solving, reasoning and explaining
  • Clear modelling from all adults with abstract calculations to be modelled alongside the pictorial.
  • Rapid recall of key number facts
  • Precise mathematical language is taught and used by all


“The expectation is that the majority of pupils will move through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace. However, decisions about when to progress should also be based on the security of pupils’ understanding and their readiness to progress to the next stage of their learning.  Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly should be challenged through being offered rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration onto new content.  Those who are not sufficiently fluent with earlier material should consolidate their understanding including through additional practice before moving on.”  (National Curriculum 2014)