Maths at Thriplow


Maths Mastery At Thriplow


What is Maths Mastery?

  • Maths Mastery is an approach to teaching Mathematics that originates from some East Asian countries such as China and Singapore where success rates in the subject amongst both school age children and university students is high. It places a focus on deep understanding of mathematical concepts for all students. One of its greatest strengths is the way it encourages children to make connections, between mathematical subjects and with maths in the real world.


  • For a child to truly grasp a mathematical concept they have to be able to understand it in a holistic way. They should be able to talk about it using mathematical terminology, write about it using symbols, pictures or icons and apply it usefully to real life situations. Any unit of learning should give opportunities for a child to “build it, draw it, say it and write it” before moving on to a new subject.


  • At school, when we learn about a subject such as fractions we now spend up to five weeks exploring the concept from many different perspectives before moving on. We build on previous learning, starting with knowledge we first developed about fractions up to two years previously. We try to relate it to knowledge we already have about other subjects, such as multiplication and division or measurement. Crucially, we think about how we could use our knowledge about fractions usefully in real life situations and we make lots of different types of visual representations of the same idea.


Why Use This Approach?

  • It provides opportunities to embed learning and gain a depth in understanding

  • It ensures progress for all learners, no matter their current level of ability

  • It makes maths lessons lively and enjoyable as there is a great deal of creativity and discussion

  • Children start to see Maths as a useful subject that they can apply to real life

  • This approach to teaching Mathematics is very challenging and stretches even the most able pupils by forcing them to justify and prove their assertions

  • It ensures that children do not end up with gaps in their understanding as a result of having been “pushed on” to the next thing before they are ready

  • Able mathematicians become more competent and well rounded

  • It helps to dispel gender stereotyping and anxieties surrounding the subject of maths

  • It promotes a growth mindset

  • The focus is not on “getting the right answer” but explaining how you got there and if there are any alternative methods – “mistakes” become an invaluable learning point and maths is no longer a race to see who can get 10/10 first


What Can I Expect to See in A Maths Mastery Lesson?

Maths mastery lessons are very lively and full of discussion. Children are encouraged to use the correct technical vocabulary and to chant key facts. A new unit of learning might start with a real life problem to be solved. A lesson might start with a wrong answer to be disproved or even with the correct answer and the question “how did I get there?” “True or false” questions and “which is the odd one out” conundrums are also regularly used.

Children will engage in conversations and debate with each other and the class teacher. “PROVE IT” becomes the adult maxim in a maths mastery classroom. There are lots of “jottings” on the interactive whiteboard, on children’s individual whiteboards and in their books.

The classroom becomes littered with different kinds of equipment during the course of a lesson, so that the children can make varied visual representations of the same idea. Amongst all this creativity and freedom lies a robust approach to key facts; times tables and measurement facts are reinforced and repeated.


What Can I Do To Help at Home?


  • Learn number bonds for 5,6,7,8,9,10 and 20

  • Learn multiplication tables up to 12x

  • Learn key facts for measurements

  • Use Mathletics!!!!

  • Support children with their Mental Maths in Key Stage 2

  • Do lots of hands on maths at home, using money, weighing scales, jugs, rulers, tape measures etc

  • Have conversations involving number, time, dates, distances, estimating and sharing

  • Play games and with toys that involve maths – this could be something numerical like Monopoly or something structural such as multilink

  • Watch the BBC series “Numberblocks” – it is a brilliant animated programme which showcases the concepts of Maths Mastery in a very entertaining and accessible way

We want our children to love maths and to believe that they can do it. Maths lessons at Thriplow Primary School are full of discussion and discovery. In KS2 an hour and a half of each school day is devoted to the subject.  Our approach combines two equally important aspects of what it means to be “mathematically literate”. The first is a strong emphasis on knowledge and application of key facts such as times tables, place value, calculations and the number system. The second seeks to explore how we can apply this knowledge, and build upon it via problem solving. We allow children to try things out for themselves, with lots of practical activities. We want children to see how important and valuable “mistakes” are in furthering their mathematical understanding. Our whole school maths Topics, which happen each term for a fortnight, give pupils the opportunity to explore a chosen aspect of the subject in more depth. Topics such as “Time”, “Money” and “The Beauty of Maths” have opened the children’s eyes to the vast practical and philosophical significance of this subject both to them as individuals and to the world they live in.