At Fishtoft Academy, we believe that all learners should be able to access and engage with a high-quality maths curriculum.  We aim to do this by:

  • Providing a curriculum that is broken down into small steps that builds upon prior learning from current and previous year groups.
  • Allowing our learners to develop their fluency, reasoning and problem-solving skills through a range of carefully planned activities and questioning.
  • Developing an understanding of new concepts through the use of concrete apparatus and pictorial representations, prior to working in the abstract.
  • Allowing our learners the opportunity to work with their peers to help develop their mathematical thinking and language (maths talk).
  • Identifying gaps in learner’s understanding and intervening with high quality intervention at the earliest opportunity.

Essentially, through our maths teaching we aim to make maths meaningful and develop independent, reflective thinkers, whose skills in maths will also support them across the curriculum and beyond.


Maths is delivered daily to all year groups.  The teaching of maths at Fishtoft Academy is based on the three key aims of the National Curriculum: fluency, reasoning and problem solving. However, as an Academy, we follow a bespoke maths pathway which clearly outlines the progression between different year groups in terms of the core mathematical concepts taught.

Our mathematical pathway is based on a spiral approach where learning is spread out over time rather than being concentrated in shorter periods or blocks. From our experience we have found that a spiral model (where material is increasingly built on and revised repeatedly over terms and years) leads to better long-term understanding of facts, skills and concepts for our learners.  We teach reasoning and problem solving integrally as part of every session in order that our learners know the real-life purpose of the mathematical concepts covered by their lessons.

Our calculation policy explains the approaches that we adopt for teaching addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and it shows how the methods develop as our learners progress through the Academy. It is based upon the CPA (Concrete – Pictorial – Abstract) approach. Adopting a common calculation policy within our setting ensures consistency of approach and entitlement for our learners.

Although the main focus of our calculation policy is on effective written compact methods, it is important to recognise that the ability to calculate mentally lies at the heart of mathematics. Mental calculations are not at the exclusion of written recordings and should be seen as complementary to, and not as separate from, it as in every written method there is an element of mental processing.  All year groups therefore also have dedicated timeslots each day for the development of mental fluency.  In EYFS and KS1, these sessions centre around subitising, securing their number bonds and counting forwards and backwards in different steps. In Key stage 2, we explicitly teach each multiplication table at the age-appropriate stage and embed this through our daily teaching, adopting the rolling tables system.

A typical maths session will consist of:

  • A mental/oral starter to activate related knowledge.
  • A teacher-led input during which concepts are explicitly modelled.
  • A period of paired practice of the concept or strategy modelled (during which adults within the room observe to identify and address misconceptions).
  • Independent differentiated practice.
  • A plenary, usually with a using and applying or reasoning focus.

However, when appropriate this model may be adapted to facilitate split input teaching to cater for the wide range of needs often found in mixed age-group classes.

We incorporate challenge within each session in order that all learners have access to the full maths curriculum as opposed to creating any “glass ceilings” based on their perceived ability. Learners are able to self-select from the levels of challenge on offer.  This inclusive approach builds self-confidence and resilience. Those learners who grasp concepts quickly are challenged through problem solving and reasoning, while learners who are not sufficiently fluent are provided with additional support to consolidate their understanding further.

We recognise that not every child finds maths easy and offer a range of evidence-based interventions to support those who require more than just quality first teaching to stay on track.  We are privileged enough to have our very own accredited Numbers Count teacher, who not only works with our most vulnerable mathematicians, but also shares her expertise with colleagues for the benefit of all pupils.  Nevertheless, our aim is always for pupils to be supported to ‘keep up’ as opposed to requiring interventions to ‘catch up’.