St James Catholic

Primary School

In the loving peace, justice and joy of Jesus, we achieve.


Mathematics at St. James’


In the loving peace, justice and joy of Jesus, we achieve.


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 and most forms of employment. (DfE, 2014)


At St James’ we aim to nurture children’s God-given talents by delivering an enjoyable, engaging curriculum; developing lively, inquisitive minds and encouraging children to become more self-motivated, confident and capable in order to solve problems that will become an integral part of their future. We aim to deliver the knowledge, understanding and skills as outlined in the National Curriculum for Mathematics.  In the foundation stage, curriculum coverage is outlined in Development Matters. This progresses onto the Early Learning Goals.


The National Curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:


· Become fluent in the fundamental of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils have conceptual understanding and are able to recall and apply their knowledge rapidly and accurately to problems

· 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



A mastery approach to the teaching of mathematics has been adopted at St. James’, so that we have high expectations of all our pupils. We endeavour to make the maths curriculum accessible to all pupils; moving them through the programme of study at broadly the same pace, with opportunities to work on the objectives more deeply for those who grasp concepts rapidly. Teachers from Reception to Year 6 follow the ‘Power Maths Scheme’ and use a wide variety of additional resources to provide pupils with a range of challenges where they can apply their skills.

Our children learn to communicate mathematically, developing as confident and articulate learners with a broad range of mathematical vocabulary and the verbal dexterity to explain, examine and evaluate problem solving approaches. Our in-depth approach to critical thinking and open-ended problem solving aims to enrich our pupils with an exceptional mathematical foundation, on which our children are able to build successful educational careers and personal growth.


During mathematics lessons at St James’ school we aim to sustain and develop in all children:

· Confidence, understanding and enjoyment in mathematics;

· Resilience when solving problems and overcoming difficult problems;

· An awareness of relationship and pattern, and how these can bring about a clearer understanding of a situation;

· An appreciation of mathematics as a means of communication through which they can analyse information and ideas;

· The ability to work systematically where the task requires a careful and accurate approach, as well as the ability to show imagination, initiative and flexibility when appropriate;

· Independence of thought and action as well as the ability to cooperate within a group;

· Problem solving skills and strategies;

· The usefulness of mathematics in the world as a wider context;

· The ability to use mathematics effectively as a tool in a wide variety of situations; and

· The sensible use of factual recall, mental and written methods, calculators and other mathematical aides.


By the end of year 4, pupils should have memorised their multiplication tables up to and including the 12-multiplication table and show precision and fluency in their work.



  • Lessons begin with retrieval practice centering on number and calculations.
  • Teachers share learning objectives via a problem solving (discover) activity at the start of each lesson.
  • Carefully chosen, mixed ability talk partners are used to create speaking and listening opportunities for children to explain their thinking in mathematics.
  • Mathematical talk and specific mathematical vocabulary is a non-negotiable.
  • Children are expected to speak in full sentences when explaining a concept or procedure.
  • To develop secure and deep conceptual understanding, staff are expected to plan for the use of concrete resources, representations and structures (outlined and guided through Power Maths) to reinforce learning objectives and to support pupils with English as an additional language and/or additional needs.
  • Additional resources such as White Rose Maths are also used to supplement the Power Maths curriculum when required.
  • The planning materials used by staff, within the Power Maths scheme, promote intelligent practice and as well as developing own staff subject knowledge, children have opportunities to develop their mental arithmetic skills within most lessons.
  • Differentiation is seen through the concrete resources used, and/or the reliance on the representations and structures within a lesson to help embed a mathematical concept.
  • All children are expected to be exposed to age related expectations and staff allow the time to plug gaps if they are not yet ARE within an area of mathematics. Staff understand what ARE and mastering looks like for each objective and plan for how their children will get there. In order to meet the needs of all pupils, children working above ARE within an area of mathematics have ‘going deeper’ opportunities planned by staff.
  • At the end of every lesson, children complete the ‘reflect’ within the Power Maths practice books and are asked to present and explain their work, discuss and compare methods, generalise rules and make links with other work.


In Reception and KS1, all children will be taking part in the Mastering Number Programme which is aimed at strengthening the understanding of number, and fluency with number facts, among children in the first three years of school. The aim over time is that children will leave KS1 with fluency in calculation and flexibility with number. Teachers in these year groups will deliver daily number 15 minute fluency sessions - in addition to the Maths lesson - where children will use a range of materials and representations. 


In addition to daily Maths lessons, all children also have access to RMEasimaths which is an online programme that aims to close the gaps in core areas that are personalised to each child. Children will also have access to Times Table Rockstars. We would also encourage all children to use these online resources at home to boost their impact further.



Throughout St. James’ Primary School, the most powerful and formative tool to assess and support progress is our teachers’ expert use of assessment for learning. In each mathematics lesson, teachers identify and quickly address misconceptions, enable the forging of connections between concepts, and recognise opportunities for challenge and in-depth reasoning. Children are tested on their taught content each term, in addition to shorter low-stakes tests within each unit of learning. Pupil progress and attainment is carefully analysed, and the data used formatively to direct access arrangements, teacher planning and content revision.

Year 4 Multiplication Tables Check

Reception Power Maths Overview

Mastering Number

From September 2023-2024, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 will continue to take part in the NCETM's Mastering Number programme with the intent for children to make connections within number, make good progress towards Early Learning Goals and National Curriculum objectives, be confident in communicating their ideas and develop a positive attitude towards mathematics.

These sessions take place 4 times per week for 15 minutes and are in addition to Maths lessons.