Mastery approach


The Saints’ Federation strives to deliver a stimulating and enjoyable Maths curriculum and will provide this following The Mastery Approach. This is a new approach which is taught in units of work with small steps. The aim of this approach is for every child to have a secure understanding of mathematical concepts and processes, combined with a genuine procedural fluency. A child who has mastered a particular skill is able to apply their understanding and solve different types of problem, including where the skill is either embedded in a different context, or where a choice of method has to be made.


Some children will be able to achieve mastery with greater depth. This means that they are able to apply their understanding of a concept in a wider variety of contexts, some of which are more difficult. They can manipulate the facts they know and the skills they possess in order to solve more complex problems.


Common features of mastery include:

  • An expectation that all children can succeed in maths, often achieved by keeping the class together.
  • Giving children a secure and sustainable understanding of mathematical concepts by developing consistent models and images throughout.
  • Ensuring children are fluent in mathematical procedures and number facts by rehearsing these in systematic ways.
  • Children who master a concept easily are expected to deepen their understanding, for example by applying it to solve problems embedded in mathematical investigations or more complex contexts.


Teaching for mastery:

We use a mastery approach to maths teaching. This is a research-driven teaching and learning method that meets the goals of the National Curriculum. In summary, a mastery approach…

  • Puts numbers first

Our schemes have number at their heart, because we believe confidence with numbers is the first step to competency in the curriculum as a whole.

  • Puts depth before breadth

We reinforce knowledge again and again.

  • Encourages collaboration

Children can progress through the schemes as a group, supporting each other as they learn.

  • Focuses on fluency, reasoning and problem solving

It gives children the skills they need to become competent mathematicians.

This means pupils acquire a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the concept. It is where a child can use their knowledge of the concept to solve unfamiliar word problems and undertake complex reasoning, all whilst using the appropriate mathematical vocabulary.

To reinforce this learning, the children in Early Years and Key Stage 1 have maths buddies. For Early Years, it is Marlon and for Key Stage 1, it is Mimi.


Although we’ve presented CPA as three distinct stages, a skilled teacher will go back and forth between each stage to reinforce concepts. Marlon and Mimi are introduced to the children as animals who loves mathematics but sometimes need help to solve tricky problems or explain their answers. In Early Years, questions are set each week to challenge the learning and deepen their thinking; whereas in Key Stage 1, questions are given every lesson.

Early Years examples:

Key Stage 1 examples:

We are proud to be a part of SUA Trust

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SUAT supports and leads in the set-up of new academies joining the partnership. The services provided by the central support function cover both educational and non-educational support. In terms of educational support, SUAT is linked to the School of Education of Staffordshire University, which is an outstanding ITT provider.