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Pupils in a lesson at Willow Tree Primary School


                                                          Maths at Willow Tree


  • Number sense;
  • The ability to explain their mathematical thinking orally and in writing (including using pictures and mathematical symbols);
  • To develop problem solving and reasoning skills that will benefit them in future learning;
  • A belief that anyone can achieve in maths;
  • To know key number facts by heart;
  • To choose efficient calculation methods;
  • To appreciate how maths is used and useful outside of school/education.

Willow Tree is currently working towards developing ‘Teaching for mastery’ in our maths curriculum. Teaching maths for mastery is a transformational approach which stems from research into high performing Asian nations such as Singapore.
An important feature of teaching for mastery is that the whole class works on the same topics at broadly the same pace, with lots of time and practice in each topic before moving on. An idea is carefully introduced and formed, then reinforced by lots of practice over a series of lessons. This enables children to develop a deep and long-lasting understanding of the concepts being taught.
Maths teaching in the Early Years (Nursery and Reception) involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers; calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and describing shapes, space, and measures. Children will develop their understanding through planned, purposeful play and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activity. Teachers use the ‘Earlybird Kindergarten Mathematics’ textbooks to support children’s mathematical development.
Lessons in Years 1 to 5 are taught using the ‘Maths- No Problem!’ scheme of work. Willow Tree decided to introduce the ‘Maths – No Problem!’ scheme in stages to ensure children are able to access the learning using this approach. During this transitional phase (up to the end of the 2019-2020 academic year), some children in Year 6 will continue to be taught mathematics based on the Lancashire scheme of work.

Why did we choose the ‘Maths – No Problem!’ scheme?

  • The scheme is based on research and evidence and endorsed by the Department for Education, Ofsted and the NCETM (National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics).
  • It builds students’ mathematical fluency, reasoning and develops their ability to solve problems - the key aims of the maths curriculum.
  • The scheme teaches pupils to understand maths in stages, often beginning with concrete objects (such as counters, Base 10 and number disks), then moving to pictorial representations (representing problems using pictures), and finally working in the abstract (where children represent problems using mathematical notation, such as 12 ÷ 4 = 3). Through this process, children learn numerous strategies to work with numbers and build understanding and confidence in maths.
  • The scheme encourages pupils learn to think mathematically, as opposed to reciting formulas/’tricks’ they don’t understand.

What would you see in a ‘Maths – No Problem!’ lesson?

Each lesson is divided into distinct parts: an anchor task, guided practice and independent practice. During the anchor task, children work in groups on a problem from the textbook. During guided practice, children work through further questions from the textbook with a partner but under the guidance of the teacher, to practise an idea that has been developed in the anchor task. The final section of the lesson is independent practice, where the children work in their own workbook to apply the ideas taught that lesson.

Within a mastery curriculum, the differing abilities of the children within our school will be catered for through the questioning and scaffolding individual pupils receive in class as they work through problems. Children who grasp ideas quickly and confidently will be challenged through more demanding problems which deepen their knowledge of the content. Where children are struggling, they will receive intervention to support them to keep pace with their peers.

For more information, please feel free to talk to the staff in school or visit the ‘Maths - No Problem!’ website, which includes a range of information and videos about the ideas behind the scheme’s approach. Two useful links to the website are:


End of Key Stage 2 Mathematics 2017 /2018

                                              National                          Willow Tree
Expected                               76%                                87%
Higher Standard                    26%                                24%