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Maths Overviews 

Mathematics at Oakley Infant School


At Oakley Infant School we believe that every child can master the mathematics they learn and become confident mathematicians as they progress. We aim to ensure that pupils develop confidence and fluency across each of the mathematical domains: number and place value, addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, fractions, measurement and geometry and statistics. We want to give children the confidence, skills and the language they need to solve mathematical problems quickly, accurately and creatively, to make connections in their mathematics and to explain their thinking to others.



How is maths taught at Oakley Infants?

  • Whole class together – We teach mathematics to whole classes whilst being careful not to make assumptions of learners by ‘ability’ grouping them.  At the planning stage, teachers consider modifications or adaptations which may be required should learners struggle to grasp concepts and, for those who grasp concepts quickly within a lesson, the teachers plan greater depth tasks to challenge and deepen the learners’ understanding.
  • Longer but deeper – In order to address the aims of the NC, our long/medium term plans have been adjusted to allow longer on topics. Each lesson develops the concept from the previous one in logically sequenced small-steps so that progress and understanding is enhanced.
  • Key learning points – These are identified during planning and a clear journey through the maths is evident in lessons. Deep questioning probes learners’ understanding throughout and responses are expected in full sentences, using precise mathematical vocabulary.


What is a typical lesson like?

Maths in Early Years:


In the Early Years children will take part in short adult led tasks which develop their concept of number and shape, space and measure. This is done through play based tasks, which, whenever possible are set within a real life context or link to the current theme. As well as this focused input, the children also have daily access to mathematical activities with which they can engage during their independent play.  Our skilled team of practitioners observe the children during this time and look for opportunities to develop their understanding and challenge their thinking.


Maths in KS1

Lessons are broadly structured into 3 main parts:

1. Fluency Focus – A practise or revisit of those all-important facts which children need at their fingertips in order to learn new mathematics without experiencing cognitive overload.

2. Guided teaching or Talk Task – This is a period of in-depth instruction by the teacher.  It is an opportunity for learners to begin to acquire the new concept and for the teacher to extend their understanding through carefully structured questioning and examples.  Learners are very active, practising or exploring the new ideas alongside the adult teaching, repeating stem sentences and using precise mathematical vocabulary. Often learners will be exploring a range of concrete resources to support their thinking and expose the key mathematical concepts. Partner or group-work is often employed in this stage, encouraging discussion and collaboration.

3. Independent practice – This is where learners will apply their learning.  During this time, adults may be working with a group who have been identified as requiring further support or extension.  Tasks are carefully structured to scaffold and progress learners’ understanding, exposing the mathematics and difficult points, to provide intelligent practice, not mechanical repetition. Depth is achieved through sophisticated, rich challenges available to all learners, in order to deepen understanding and develop reasoning and problem-solving skills.



Concrete,  Pictorial and Abstract


The learning of mathematics relies heavily upon the CPA (concrete-pictorial-abstract) model and concrete resources are used to support concept building and reasoning through ‘doing’.  They then move to the pictorial stage alongside the concrete, which then encourages the learner to make a mental connection between the physical object and abstract levels of understanding by drawing or looking at pictures, diagrams or models which represent the objects in the problem.



To develop deeper understanding and the ability to reason and explain, teachers use effective questioning throughout every lesson to check understanding and prompt thinking.  More complex questions are also used to challenge learners who have grasped the concept earlier.  Learners are expected to listen to each other’s responses and may be asked to explain someone else’s ideas in their own words, or if they agree/disagree etc.


Reasoning and Problem-solving 

We understand that developing strong reasoning skills is an essential process and teaching and capturing this is a developing element of our practice.  Teachers aim to provide the opportunity for all learners to solve problems and reason, encouraging deeper understanding, generalisation and building links to other concepts. Any children who appear to have grasped a concept quite quickly will be challenged to tackle more in-depth problems, as well as to explain and justify their answers, through use of precise mathematical language, verbally or written, or using pictures to demonstrate their understanding in a clear, logical way.



Pupil voice: Pupils will be able to confidently articulate their understanding of mathematics and will be able to explain their reasoning.

Evidence in knowledge: Children will be able to make links in their learning.

Teachers subject knowledge will ensure that children’s learning is closely matched to the Early Learning Goals and National curriculum objectives with a focus on depth not breadth.

Outcomes: At the end of each year we expect the children to achieve the Early Learning Goals for YR and Age Related Expectations for their year group in KS1. Some will have progressed further and reached greater depth whilst others will still be working towards these goals and  will receive interventions to help consolidate and plug gaps.

How can I help my child at home? 

Be positive. Never say you’re no good at maths!

Notice and use maths in everyday life – count, share and talk about numbers.

Talk about how they have done their maths

Ask your child to explain answers or draw a picture to explain their thinking

Give praise and encouragement

Practise number fact fluency – fast recall of number bonds and tables.

Support them in doing homework

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