Learning maths is like building a tower; children must have firm foundations and acquire specific building blocks in a certain order. If any of these blocks of understanding are missing, then the tower is shaky and can be toppled at any time with the presentation of new challenges or concepts. 

Therefore, at Upton, we teach maths differently. Children are not simply rushed through the curriculum, gaining vast, but superficial knowledge that can fall apart whenever they encounter something unfamiliar. Instead, significant time is spent ensuring children have a deep, sustained knowledge of mathematical concepts and that secure building blocks are in place. As a result, we believe that all of our children can succeed in this subject, that no child ‘just can’t do it’.

But our children do not learn just how to ‘do maths’; huge emphasis is also placed on teaching them to ‘think mathematically’. Through contextualized problem solving activities, children work in the same way real mathematicians do, learning skills such as reasoning, conjecturing, generalizing and working systematically. This allows children to experience maths as something that is fundamentally useful, and not just a series of skills that must be learnt in order to pass tests. Our approach also produces outstanding results, with a huge majority of our children making expected, or better than expected, progress each year.


The National Curriculum for Mathematics (2014) aims for pupils to:

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils have conceptual understanding and are able to recall and apply their knowledge rapidly and accurately to problems
  • reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
  •  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.

Maths at Upton

In line with the New National Curriculum (2014) each year group have particular mathematics skills that must be embedded by the end of the academic year. Problem solving is at the heart of our teaching, broadening children’s knowledge and encouraging them to relate their learning to real life situations. A good knowledge of numbers or a ‘feel’ for numbers is the product of structured practice and repetition. It requires an understanding of number patterns and relationships developed through directed enquiry, use of models and images and the application of acquired number knowledge and skills.

To do all this, Upton has adopted a mastery approach to teaching maths.

What does a mastery approach look like at Upton?

To support parents at home, a copy of our calculation policy can be found by clicking here.


Upton curriculum

Please use the links below to download an overview of the school's mastery curriculum.