How we teach maths

Hannah More’s mastery curriculum inspires success and develops curious, flexible and confident mathematicians from Reception to Year 6 and beyond.

We believe that all children (and adults) can ‘do’ maths and start with the highest expectation of every pupil, no matter their starting point. Through our bespoke mastery teaching approach - Maths at Hannah More - we develop curious and independent learners. Classes spend time exploring concepts in depth and move forward in learning together, with no-one being ‘left behind’, all while rapid graspers are extended through rich challenges. We develop flexible, fluent mathematicians through the rigorous teaching of number/multiplication facts and a wide range of mental and written calculation methods. Children reason about mathematics and solve a variety of increasingly challenging problems, supported by a heavy emphasis on developing strong mathematical language.

As a result, pupils leave Hannah More as resilient learners with the mathematical skills needed for effective learning in secondary school and beyond.


In Reception, the emphasis is on developing children’s mathematical understanding through play. Supported by the White Rose Reception scheme of learning and the NCETM’s Numberblocks materials, teachers provide children with a range of opportunities across the classroom and beyond to practise, demonstrate and enhance their understanding. Through these play-based opportunities, children learn to use numbers up to 20, to add and subtract numbers, to recognise and sort shapes and to use informal units of measure.

Teachers also ensure children are equipped with strong mathematical language and problem solving skills which enable them to quickly and seamlessly meet the demands of the National Curriculum from Year 1 onwards.

Year 1 to 6

Teaching in years 1 to 6 follows the Maths at Hannah More teaching approach established by staff in 2018 and updated each year. The latest version is Maths at Hannah More (September 2023).

Learning is currently organised using an adapted version of the White Rose scheme of learning in Years 2, 3, 4 and 6. However, the school is beginning a transition to learning organised through the NCETM curriculum prioritisation materials which is currently being trialled in Years 1 and 5, aiming to be rolled out across all year groups by September 2025. New concepts are taught through the concrete-pictorial-abstract (CPA) approach which values practical experience of mathematics in different contexts to support deep, sustained learning. Teachers use skilful questioning and set up tasks that allow children to ‘discover’ for themselves. Children learn to use a variety of mental and written calculation methods with an emphasis on flexibility and efficiency. At regular intervals, children’s understanding is assessed through a variety of informal assessments and formal tests. Teachers use the outcomes of these assessments to plan new learning activities.

In a typical lesson, children first spend time collaborating in pairs on small tasks set by the teacher, often using equipment and resources to reinforce and stretch their understanding. Teachers encourage children to ‘discover’ key concepts through these tasks and then draw learning together, with each learning step building on the last. Children’s language and reasoning skills are developed throughout. This part of the lesson is called the discovery phase.

The lesson then moves to the independent phase where children apply their understanding to a range of increasingly challenging problems. At this point, rapid graspers are extended through rich, deep mathematical problems while any children still with gaps in their understanding receive immediate intervention to fill these, allowing the class to move forward together and ensuring none fall behind.

Adapted curriculum

Although we strive for all children to achieve the highest levels possible, we also recognise that some children have additional needs - current or historic - that mean they face significant barriers to working at age-related expectations. To support these children to make accelerated progress and catch up to their peers, a bespoke curriculum is implemented giving more time to key concepts, slowing down learning to build deeper understanding. Children may also receive additional intervention, such as pre-teaching, additional adult support or learning tasks differentiated to a cognitively-appropriate level, to enable them to achieve their full potential.

Greater depth mathematicians

In line with our high expectations for all, we ensure that the highest-attaining mathematicians are constantly challenged throughout lessons and their time at Hannah More. All pupils have the opportunity to access ‘greater depth’ challenges, whether through targeted questioning and ‘star challenges’ in the discovery phase of lessons, or through Level 2 and 3 extension challenges. Level 3 challenges, in particular, develop key mathematical problem solving skills – such as working systematically, trial & improvement, pattern spotting etc… enabling children to develop increasing independence and removing the ceiling on their achievement. Higher-attainers also have the opportunity to both enhance their own understanding and support that of others through careful pairings by teachers in lessons.

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Contact us

0117 9039936
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Hannah More Primary School, New Kingsley Road, St Philips, Bristol, BS2 0LT


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