Skip to content ↓
Barrow Hill Academy

Barrow Hill Academy


‘Mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.’  Albert Einstein

Children’s chances of success are maximised if they develop deep and lasting understanding of mathematical procedures and concepts.  


At Barrow Hill Primary Academy, our aim is to raise levels of achievement in maths, and increasing appreciation of the power and wonder of maths.  Mastering maths means children acquiring a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject.  The phrase ‘teaching for mastery’ describes the elements of classroom practice and school organisation that combine to give pupils the best chances of mastering maths.  Achieving mastery means acquiring a solid enough understanding of the maths that’s been taught to enable children to move on to more advanced material.

Mathematics Intent

Mathematics is a creative and highly inter-connected discipline that has been developed over centuries, providing the solution to some of history’s most intriguing problems. It is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy. Crucially, a sound knowledge of mathematics is vital for young people seeking employment, and securing a qualification in mathematics is a fundamental requirement for the majority of employers.

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.

In line with the National Curriculum Objectives for Mathematics, our intent is that all children:

  • 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

Mathematics is an interconnected subject in which children need to be able to move fluently between representations of mathematical ideas. The programmes of study are, by necessity, organised into apparently distinct domains, but pupils should make rich connections across mathematical ideas to develop fluency, mathematical reasoning and competence in solving increasingly sophisticated problems. They should also apply their mathematical knowledge to science and other subjects.

Central to our approach are the 5 Big Ideas which underpin mastery in mathematics.

In line with our whole school focus on oracy and vocabulary, we expect and encourage children to use mathematical language to describe, discuss, examine, explain, justify and analyse. 

The essence of Maths Teaching for Mastery is that it rejects the idea that a large proportion of children ‘just can’t do maths’.  At Barrow Hill Primary Academy, we have created a whole school approach that is underpinned by the belief that by working hard all children can succeed. 

Mathematics Implementation

Children are taught in mixed ability year groups for mathematics.  In each class, the teacher is responsible for the planning, teaching and assessment of all children.  Where appropriate and under the guidance of the teacher, our highly skilled teaching assistants take responsibility for the delivery some parts of the maths lesson.  This enables our groups to remain under 15 children and allows for mixed ability teaching whilst focusing on the conceptual journey for each year group. 

Long term plan

White Rose Maths is used plan and sequence the mathematics curriculum.  The maths lead has amended the White Rose LTP to suit the needs of the Barrow Hill children, against each learning journey is a link to the NCETM Curriculum Prioritisation and Professional Development documents. The Professional Development Spines support teachers with their mathematical understanding and planning small steps. 

S Planning

For each conceptual journey the class teachers, alongside their supporting maths teaching assistant, produce an S plan.  This method addresses a theme and aims to strip it down into smaller steps by which teachers can reflect on the strategies to move learners along the "learning journey".  Once the steps have been identified teachers can focus on how best learners can master the conceptual & procedural skills and knowledge of each one in turn.  Where possible links are made to previous learning.   Many of these steps are planned for using the White Rose Maths MTP and NCETM prioritisation documents but knowing the journey in advance and planning for further opportunities ensures that the needs of all children are planned for and nothing is left to chance.   This planning is visible in the classroom and is a working document shared with the children.  

Keep Up

Class teachers intervene when a child/children are having difficulty keeping up.  This may be within a lesson or during timetabled ‘Keep up time’.  There may also be occasions when children are pre-taught a concept prior to whole class teaching.  Where appropriate ‘Keep Up’ time may also be used to pre read content to a child/ group of children.  Where appropriate, Ready to Progress exemplification is used to support struggling learners.  If there are children who do not require specific keep up then the time should be used to practice mental skills e.g. time tables, finish off earlier work, attempt additional challenges or explain their learning.  Rapid graspers are challenged by having opportunities to deepen their learning through carefully chosen challenges/ problem solving activities.

Early Years


The first few years of a child’s life are especially important for mathematics development. Research shows that early mathematical knowledge predicts later reading ability and general education and social progress(ii). Conversely, children who start behind in mathematics tend to stay behind throughout their whole educational journey(iii).  The objective for those working in Early Years, then, is to ensure that all children develop firm mathematical foundations in a way that is engaging, and appropriate for their age. The materials in this section ( of the website) are primarily designed to support Reception teachers (those working with 4-5 year olds), and are based on international research.  The materials are organised into key concepts (not individual objectives), which underpin many early mathematics curricula. The typical progression highlights the range of experiences (some of which may be appropriate for younger children) but the activities and opportunities could be developed across the Reception provision.

There are six key areas of early mathematics learning, which collectively provide a platform for everything children will encounter as they progress through their maths learning at primary school, and beyond:

  • Cardinality and Counting
  • Comparison
  • Composition
  • Pattern
  • Shape and Space
  • Measures.

You can explore these areas in further detail in a special Early Years episode of our podcast with Dr Sue Gifford and Viv Lloyd.

These areas form the fundamental mathematical basis of a CBeebies series of five-minute animated programmes called Numberblocks. The NCETM has provided support materials linked to the Numberblocks programmes. These are designed to help Early Years practitioners draw out and build on the maths embedded in the stories contained in each episode.

At Barrow Hill, the Foundation stage use the principles of mastery to ensure the children are building firm, mathematical foundations.  The learning environment enables the children to see and experience maths through play and interaction with adults and other children.  Early use of concrete resources such as tens frames, Numicon, counters, objects etc support children with their understanding of maths.  The environment in Early Years is language rich and children are encouraged to use the environment to support their learning.  In addition to the continuous play and adult led activities there is also a daily 20 minute discrete lesson for all reception children.  The NCETM Numberblock and Mastering Number resources along with White Rose Maths are used to plan and prepare these lessons.  This ensures the five elements of mastery are promoted in Early Years

Mastering Number

Mastering Number (DfE approved NCETM programme) is taught daily in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2.   The programme secures firm foundations in the development of good number sense for all children from Reception through to Year 1 and Year 2. The aim over time is that children will leave KS1 with fluency in calculation and a confidence and flexibility with number. Attention will be given to key knowledge and understanding needed in Reception classes, and progression through KS1 to support success in the future.  Staff participants in the workgroup will:

  • develop skills in working in a professional learning community, reflecting with other colleagues on their own practice, and refining skills through support and challenge within a community
  • develop a secure understanding of how to build firm mathematical foundations with a stronger subject and pedagogical understanding for EYFS and KS1
  • work to develop intentional teaching strategies focused on developing fluency in calculation and number sense for ALL children
  • develop understanding and their use of appropriate manipulatives to support their teaching of mathematical structures.


Children spend 15 minutes every day following the Mastering Number programme.  In EYFS, this is followed 4 times per week and the 5th day focusses on shape, space and measure using high quality resources from White Rose Maths.  The Mastering Number programme is enhanced through the continuous provision, learning environment and interactions with children throughout the day.  In Y1/2, Mastering Number is taught in addition to the daily 45 minutes mastery lesson.  

In September 2023, a daily 15 minute Mastering Number session has been implemented in KS2 to continue the programme. Staff in KS2 have received training and are part of a development workgroup which focusses on;

  • Developing an understanding of how pupils progress in their knowledge and understanding of multiplicative concepts.
  • Working as part of a professional learning community to refine their practice.c

Knowledge of multiplication and division and its applications forms the single most important aspect of the KS2 curriculum, and is the gateway to success at secondary school. The mastering number project enables pupils in KS2 to develop fluency in multiplication and division facts, and a confidence and flexibility with number that exemplifies good number sense. Through the Mastering Number programme, children in KS2 will develop automaticity in multiplication and division facts through regular practice.

 Times tables

From year 3 onwards, children practice their times tables every day to build fluency, accuracy and automaticity.  The booklets used in school have been carefully created by the NCETM to reduce cognitive load, build on from known facts and learn times tables systematically.  Each child completes a 2-minute times table challenge, ideally twice per day.  The challenges are times but children may go over the time if needed; they just record their time using the class timer.  This is a low threat, high challenge quiz where children aim to beat their own times and own scores.  The booklets are worked through in the following order, to match the order suggested in the National Curriculum Guidance (July 2020)

Booklet A: 10 times table

Booklet B: 5 times table

Booklet C: 2 times table

Booklet D: 4 times table

Booklet E: 8 times table


Booklet F: 3 times table

Booklet G: 6 times table

Booklet H: 9 times table

Booklet I: 7 times table

Booklet J: 11 times table

Booklet K: 12 times table

Within each booklet there are 22 tests, ordered as follows:

  • Tests 1 – 4: First half of the new times table
  • Tests 5 – 8: Second half of the new times table
  • Tests 9 – 12: All the new times table
  • Tests 13 – 22: The new times table combined with previously learnt times tables.

There are two exceptions to this, the 10 times and 11 times table booklets.  As these are quicker for children to learn, all the facts are introduced at once rather than split into ‘first half’ and ‘second half’ of the times table.

  • Children must work through the booklets in the order provided in the table above, otherwise they will meet facts in tests 13 – 22 that they have not yet learnt.
  • The NC Guidance explains that the facts it is essential to master in Year 4 to be ready to progress to Year 5 are the facts up to 9 x 9, as these facts are the ones that occur as within column calculations in formal written methods. Therefore, Booklets B – I include facts with multipliers of 2 – 9 only.
  • Times tables facts with a factor of 11 and 12 are only introduced in the final 2 booklets, so that most of the time can be spent learning the most essential facts. However, all booklets should be complete so that children are secure in all times tables facts prior to the Year 4 check.
  • Facts with a multiplier of 0 and 1 are not included, as these do not need to be learnt in the same was as other facts.
  • The 10 times table is of course also essential for progression, and this is learnt in booklet A, and then included in tests 13 – 22 in each of the subsequent booklets.
  • About 20% of the facts are expressed as division facts, to give children practice deriving division facts from learnt multiplication facts.

In addition to the Times Table Booklets, children have access to Times Table Rockstars.  Practicing on the app encourages the children to respond with speed and accuracy.  Children play the app both at home and school.  This prepares the children well for the statutory multiplication check in Y4 and for automaticity in upper key stage two reducing cognitive load during more challenging mathematical concepts. 

From year 3, children also practice their times tables at the beginning of each maths lesson using a counting stick where the products are added to the counting stick.  The children are then taken through a series of steps to make explicit the links between patterns and connections in known and new multiplication facts. The products are periodically removed from the counting stick to encourage the children to commit the tables to their long-term memory. The advantages of using a counting stick to teach times tables are;

  • Concrete representation: Counting sticks provide a concrete representation of the numbers being multiplied, allowing students to physically manipulate the sticks and see the relationship between the numbers. This can help students who struggle with abstract concepts to better understand multiplication.
  • Visual aids: Counting sticks can be used as visual aids to demonstrate the concept of repeated addition, which is often used to teach multiplication. This can help students see the relationship between multiplication and repeated addition, and understand that multiplication is a way of finding the total number of objects in a group.
  • Hands-on learning: Counting sticks are a hands-on tool that allows students to be actively engaged in the learning process. This can help to increase their interest and understanding of the concept.
  • Multiplication facts memorisation: Using counting sticks to teach multiplication can be a great way to help students memorise their multiplication facts. For example, students can use a counting stick to practise and memorise the 2’s multiplication table by counting in 2s.
  • Multiplication with larger numbers: Counting sticks can be used to represent large numbers and help students to visualise the process of multiplication with larger numbers.
  • Reinforce the concept of place value: The use of counting sticks can help students to understand the concept of place value and how it relates to multiplication.

Mathematics Impact

The impact of our mathematics curriculum is that children are fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics.  They are able to solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of questions and have resilience when faced with more challenging and complex problems.  Through pupil voice and pupil interviews, we will ensure that children are enjoying mathematics and feel they are received appropriate support and challenge.  Where there are gaps in knowledge, children are given additional support to keep up with their peers.

At the end of reception, we report to parents the age related expectation levels.  Children in foundation stage are assessed within the Foundation Stage Framework and their progress is tracked termly using EAZMags.  At the end of Key Stage 1, children are assessed using the national SATs tests.  It is reported to parents whether child has reached the expected levels of attainment. 

In year 4, the national Multiplication Check is administered to determine whether children can recall their time tables fluently, which is essential for future success in mathematics and to identify children who have not yet mastered their times tables so that additional support can be provided. 

Progress and attainment are monitored daily though assessment for learning strategies.    Children in Key Stage 2 are assessed termly using NFER tests.  At the end of Key Stage 2, national SATs tests assess if the children are meeting the national expected standard, are working towards or are working at greater depth.  This information is reported to parents.  

Children will develop a lifelong enjoyment of mathematics and will understand how the concepts they have been learning relate to real life. 

Role of the Mathematics Lead

The Maths lead will monitor for appropriate pitch and progression, monitoring will take the form of:

  • Lesson observations and feedback;
  • Learning walks and pupil voice conversations;
  • Planning scrutiny followed by support where necessary;
  • Book/work/digital media scrutiny
  • Monitoring of book band progression and 1:1 reading via GoRead
  • Quality of learning environments including reading areas across school
  • Purchasing and organizing resources
  • Keeping up to date with research and best practice

The Maths Lead conducts staff audits and along with SLT, designs appropriate Professional Development for staff in school. The Maths Leader models excellent practice leading by example and supporting colleagues in school to develop their knowledge and skills of the subject.

The Maths Lead ensures that school engages with workgroups led by the East Midlands West Maths Hub.  As an NCETM Primary Mastery Specialist, the Maths Lead receives high quality PD training which is disseminated to staff and improves practice in school.   

Get in touch


Station Road, Barrow Hill, Chesterfield, Derbyshire. S43 2PG


01246 472494