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St Dominic’s Spring Slam!

What is the Spring Slam? It is a new exciting times table competition for all KS2 children to take part in. Each class will work as a team and complete a times table test. Scores will be collected and a class average will be calculated. At assembly on Wednesdays, we will reveal the winning class and rank the rest of the classes. There will be four weekly rounds and two Grand Finals (which are very tricky). The winning class will win a super reward! Miss Carey and her helpers launched this new competition in assembly this week and all the children are excited about taking part. Get practising your times tables at home, the best class wins!

Teaching for Mastery in Maths!

What is Mastery?

The National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) describe Mastery as a focus on deep conceptual learning and developing secure foundations that pupils can build on throughout their education. Teaching for mastery rejects the idea that a large proportion of people ‘just can’t do maths’ and all pupils are encouraged by the belief that by working hard at maths they can succeed. Pupils are taught through whole-class interactive teaching, where the focus is on all pupils working together on the same lesson content at the same time, as happens in Shanghai and several other regions that teach maths successfully. This ensures that all can master concepts before moving to the next part of the curriculum sequence, allowing no pupil to be left behind. If a pupil fails to grasp a concept or procedure, this is identified quickly and teachers can ensure pupils are ready to move forward with the next step in their learning. Lesson design identifies the new mathematics that is to be taught, the key points, the difficult points and a carefully sequenced journey through the learning.


In a typical lesson the teacher leads back and forth interaction, including questioning, short tasks, explanation, demonstration, and discussion. Procedural fluency and conceptual understanding are developed in tandem because each supports the development of the other. It is recognised that practise is a vital part of learning, but the practise used is intelligent practise that both reinforces pupils’ procedural fluency and develops their conceptual understanding. Significant time is spent developing deep knowledge of the key ideas that are needed to underpin future learning. The structure and connections within the mathematics are emphasised, so that pupils develop deep learning that can be sustained. Key facts such as multiplication tables and addition facts within 10 are learnt to automaticity to avoid cognitive overload in the working memory and enable pupils to focus on new concepts.


5 big ideas

The following key foundations underpin teaching for Mastery.

  • Representation and structure – Examples in lessons highlight the structure of mathematics.
  • Variation – Ensuring the concept if shown in a wide range of different images and subsequent work has questions that show clear patterns/ concepts/relationships.
  • Mathematical thinking – mathematical connections are highlighted and made explicit.
  • Fluency – Children are expected to learn by rote and use these in a range of contexts. Coherence – Lessons slowly build upon each other in small steps, allowing for greater depth/ reasoning.
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Concrete - Pictorial - Abstract approach 

The concrete, pictorial, abstract (CPA) approach to teaching mastery is a highly effective approach to teaching that develops a deep and sustainable understanding of maths in pupils.


Concrete:      All children begin at the concrete stage when beginning a new skill in Maths. It is not assumed that ‘more able’ children have prior knowledge of a skill. During this stage, children use concrete objects to model problems. 

Pictorial:       Pictorial is the “seeing” stage. Here, visual representations of concrete objects are used to model problems. This stage encourages children to make a mental connection between the physical object they just handled and the abstract pictures, diagrams or models that represent the objects from the problem.


Abstract:   Abstract is the “symbolic” stage, where children use abstract symbols to model problems. Students will see the abstract alongside both the concrete and pictorial stage of the model and then when children are ready, the concrete and pictorial representations are taken away. 

Curriculum overview 2017-2018