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Barcroft Primary School

Unlocking potential today for a brighter tomorrow



What is Mathematics?

Mathematics is a creative and highly interconnected 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. 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.  (National Curriculum 2014)



It is our aim at Barcroft Primary school to provide children with the processes and knowledge to become competent Mathematicians and skilful and creative problem solvers. At Barcroft Primary School we believe that Mathematics should be linked to the Real World where possible, as Mathematics is a tool for everyday life. As a result, it is vital for pupils to understand the importance of Maths within the Real World and identify this within their lessons. Mathematics is used to analyse and communicate information and ideas and to tackle a range of practical tasks and real-life problems.



The national curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • 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 (national curriculum 2014)



We want our children to be:

  • Resilient and have a positive attitude towards Mathematics and an awareness of the fascination of mathematics.
  • Competent and confident in Mathematical knowledge, concepts and skills.
  • Able to solve problems, reason, think logically and to work systematically and accurately.
  • Independent and work cooperatively with others.
  • Able to use and apply mathematics across the curriculum and in real life situations.


Teaching and learning


Through careful planning and preparation, as well as clear policies and regular professional development from a range of sources, we aim to ensure that throughout the school children are given opportunities to:

  • Become skilful and creative problem solvers.
  • Reason effectively.
  • Use visual images to aid their Mathematical Understanding.
  • Participate in practical activities and Mathematical games, within the classroom and outdoors.
  • Be taught Mathematical skills into real life contexts and through cross curricular and creative topics.
  • Work with computers as a Mathematical tool.
  • Participate in a range of challenges relating to the Mastery Approach of Mathematics. 


Our staff at Barcroft Primary School, consistently have high expectations of all children, irrespective of ability, and encourage them to be successful and achieve their full potential.


Organisation in Early Years

Mathematics is one of the seven areas of the early years foundation stage and is used to develop a child's confidence and ability with number but also to encourage their understanding of shapes, space and measures. Teachers and practitioners support children in developing their understanding of mathematics in a broad range of contexts in which they can explore, enjoy, learn, practise and talk about their developing understanding. Different strands of mathematics have been carefully planned progressively using revised September 2021 the Birth to 5 matters / Development Matters document and supports children to achieve the Early Learning Goals by the end of Reception. This area of development includes seeking patterns, making connections, recognising relationships, working with numbers, shapes and measures, and counting, sorting and matching. Children use their knowledge and skills in these areas to solve problems, to generate new questions and make connections across other areas of learning and development.


Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside. We recognise that children learn through routine, continuous provision and incidental learning opportunities, as well as planned sessions and activities. Mathematical understanding can be developed through stories, songs, games, routine, questioning, imaginative play, child-initiated learning and structured teaching.


Organisation – KS1 and KS2

Children in KS1 and KS2 participate in regular mathematics lessons that are spread out during the week. The framework for the teaching and learning of Mathematics in our school is the National Curriculum in England: mathematics programme of study. This is delivered through a range of individually designed and commercially produced resources, most significant of which are ‘Big Maths’ which is available to all classes, with online support.


Additional resources include White Rose and Test Base. A bank of other essential mathematical resources is kept in each classroom, on the shared computer system as well as a central store.  The learning objectives are drawn from the National Curriculum 2014, Sonar Tracking system as well as Big Maths.


We use ‘Big Maths’ to deliver core numeracy skills and outer numeracy.  Once a week or once every two weeks for younger pupils all children complete Big Maths Beat That assessments.

Our pupils are also given regular opportunities to reason mathematically and explain their thinking as well as being challenging to show a deeper understanding of a mathematical concept through mastery.



What is Big Maths?

Big Maths is a teaching method created by Ben Harding that embraces the logical nature of maths, translating it into simple Steps and Progress Drives. This makes progress easy and fun for both children and teachers giving all pupils the opportunity to achieve.

Other strategies approach the teaching of maths in the ‘traditional way’; giving teachers broad curriculum statements with little accurate guidance on how to get pupils there. In Big Maths there is great detail built into the system that allows all teachers to experience high subject knowledge and teacher expertise, therefore getting the chronology of the maths journey right for each child.

Big Maths begins with a model of numeracy development that provides innovative and highly effective way of looking at the Primary Mathematics curriculum. It cashes in on the nature of maths, using CLIC as a chronological framework for securing basic skills and on the logical steps of progression that sit naturally in mathematical progression (Progress Drives).

Children acquire the basic skills of Mathematics through the chronology of CLIC. When we look at Core Numeracy in more detail we see that it has a 4 stage process to it;


Children learn to count and to ‘count on’.


Learn its
Children then short-cut this counting by recalling their ‘counting on’ as facts.


It’s nothing new
Children then ‘swap the thing’ to realise that the counting fact, or ‘learn it’, can be applied to any object, amount or unit of measure.


The previous 3 phases are combined to provide a calculation structure.


We call the rest of the mathematics curriculum ‘Outer Numeracy’. This gives us a ‘simple view’ of the primary Mathematics Curriculum. Basic skills (CLIC) need to be acquired before they are used in different contexts. When we zoom into Outer Numeracy we see four aspects but this time they are non-chronological. They are:


Real Life Maths: (think ‘word problems’) These are worded scenarios that ask children to solve problems that attempt to mimic real life. For example, ‘There are 20 pencils in a box. 50 children need 2 pencils each. How many boxes are needed? ’All CLIC skills can be taken into real life context.


SAFE Maths: (think shape, measure, fractions and data) This refers to a large amount of primary mathematics curriculum content. Virtually all of SAFE Maths is underpinned by a Core Numeracy element.

Shape - 2D, 3D, Coordinates etc…

Amounts - Measures for distance, mass, angles etc.

Fractions - Fractions of amounts, percentages, ratio etc…

Explaining Data - Graphs, probability.


Multi-Methods: (think ‘Column Methods, Calculators and Cool Moves’) These refer to more efficient aspects of numeracy beyond the core. For example, one might teach children to add using near doubles, or to solve 405 – 198 by adding 2 to both numbers. This means the question is easily re-written as 407 – 200 and the gap between the two numbers becomes clearer. These methods also include Column Methods and solving calculations using a calculator.


Dangerous Maths: (think ‘number problems’) This means maths problems that take the child out of their immediate comfort zone and require more creative and analytical thinking. For example, ‘What is the highest square number under 1000?’ Dangerous Maths also includes algebra and number patterns. We just use the phrase ‘Dangerous Maths’ as teachers to remind us that children shouldn’t find this part of the maths curriculum easy.


Components of a typical mathematics lesson

Section of lesson

What it comprises

Content may include…

Oral and Mental starter

Big Maths


C – counting

L – learn its

I – It’s nothing new

C – calculation

Staff will be working on accurate steps of progression known as Progress Drives

Main teaching activity

One or more of these:

  • Whole-class introduction to topic with some paired work
  • Follow up teaching to the whole class or a group
  • Group work – usually three groups at most
  • Individual practice
  • Key concepts recorded in mathematics books


Based on objectives from the New National Curriculum or Big Maths:

  • Introducing new work
  • Extending or consolidating new previous work
  • Using and applying what has been learned
  • Assessing what has been taught
  • Revising and further practice


Spoken language

The national curriculum for mathematics reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are key factors in developing their mathematical vocabulary and presenting a mathematical justification, argument or proof. They must be assisted in making their thinking clear to themselves as well as others and teachers should ensure that pupils build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy their misconceptions.

Please use the link below to view the Maths Policy:

Key Information Graphic