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The Mathematics Curriculum


At the Convent of Jesus and Mary Catholic Infant School & Nursery, we believe in the mastery approach to the teaching of Mathematics. For the past two years we have been working closely with Mathematics Mastery and have deepen our pupils’ understanding of Mathematical concepts.


What is Mastery?

The ‘mastery approach’ to teaching maths is the underlying principle of Mathematics Mastery. Instead of learning mathematical procedures by rote, we want pupils to build a deep conceptual understanding of concepts which allows them to apply their learning in different situations.

The Mathematics Mastery curriculum is cumulative - each school year begins with a focus on the concepts and skills that have the most connections, which are then applied and connected throughout the school year to consolidate learning. This gives pupils the opportunity to become secure in mathematics; by using previous learning throughout the school year, they are able to develop mathematical fluency and conceptual understanding.

Mathematics Mastery encourages the use of Dimensions of Depth to deepen pupils’ understanding. These are:

  1. Conceptual understanding
  2. Language and communication
  3. Mathematical thinking

Problem solving is at the heart of the mastery approach, so teahcers make sure to dedicate sufficient time to each new concept so all pupils can gain the understanding they need to solve new problems in unfamiliar contexts.

In Mathematics Mastery, our pupils are expected to all solve the same investigations by the end of the lesson, meaning the key concepts and objectives are met by all pupils. Instead of accelerating higher attainers onto new content, we differentiate through depth, to develop pupils’ conceptual understanding.

How We Teach?

Mathematics Mastery promotes Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract (CPA) representations. Learning is achieved by going back and forth between these representations, building pupils' conceptual understanding instead of an 'instrumental understanding'.

  • Concrete - the doing: A pupil is introduced to an idea or a skill by acting it out with real objects. This is a 'hands on' component using real objects and it is the foundation for conceptual understanding. 'Concrete' refers to any concrete material which can be manipulated.
  • Pictorial - the seeing: A pupil may also begin to relate their understanding to pictorial representations, such as a diagram or picture of the problem.
  • Abstract - the symbolic: A pupil is now capable of representing problems by using mathematical notation, for example: 12 + 2 = 14. This is the most formal and efficient stage of mathematical understanding.

Maths Morning Meetings:

Maths Meetings are a vital part our day, used to consolidate key learning for 10-15 minutes every day outside of the maths lesson.

An important aspect of Mathematics Mastery is the daily Maths Meeting, which is used to consolidate key areas of mathematics. Maths Meetings allow extra opportunities to teach and revise 'general knowledge maths', such as days of the week and time, and allows the daily integration of maths into the surrounding environment. This means that pupils are practicing concepts and skills on a regular basis. Maths Meetings are fun and interactive, using such activities as singing and chanting.

Guide to Math Vocabulary