St John's Church of England Academy

I Will Shine

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At St John’s Church of England Academy, we will excite, engage and inspire pupils with a relevant, inclusive and memorable maths curriculum that encourages our children to develop a love of mathematics! At the heart of their maths learning, children will develop our core values, that will allow them to shine both now and in their future. Our curriculum covers statutory objectives from the National Curriculum with the key knowledge, skills and understanding mapped out in a spiral approach to allow solid foundations to be built upon and encourage a mastery approach. Our maths curriculum also helps to develop our children into self-regulating learners with the metacognitive skills to plan, monitor, evaluate and regulate their approach to maths and the way they are thinking about a given problem .  Children will leave St John’s with a range of strategies to help them continue their maths learning in the future: a fluency of fundamental key skills, an ability to reason and explain their thinking and a resilience when problem solving.

Curriculum design

Our mathematics curriculum is designed with the 3 areas of the National Curriculum at the centre of all  learning: fluency, reasoning and problem solving. We have carefully designed our curriculum so that it is progressive and builds upon prior learning and provides full coverage of the National Curriculum. We also ensure that prior learning is revisited to activate children’s long term memories and provide ‘overlearning’ of fundamental key skills to allow children to develop their confidence and accuracy.

Our curriculum and calculation policy have been inspired by White Rose and then designed by our maths lead and evaluated alongside our teachers, senior leaders and governors to ensure it is tailored for the needs of our children.

Varied fluency

A key aspect of our mathematics curriculum is to develop children’s fluency of fundamental skills. As a result, we aim to provide many opportunities to see questions presented in a variety of ways. We implemented ‘Key Skills’ sessions at the start of every maths lesson from Reception to Year 6 to provide more opportunities for varied fluency practice. These short, regular session focus on fluency of key number skills, such as number bonds, times tables and arithmetic skills, and provide children with opportunities to consolidate their learning by seeing these questions presented in a variety of formats. 


Reasoning and problem solving

In all year groups from Reception to Year 6, children are encouraged to develop their reasoning and problem solving skills in every maths lesson. We provide regular   opportunities for ‘maths talk’ to develop children’s reasoning and problem solving skills. This includes teachers modelling using a ‘think out loud’ strategy in which teachers verbalise their reasoning while modelling how to solve a problem. We also provide many opportunities for ‘partner talk’ and encourage children to verbalise their thinking with a partner. At St John’s, we encourage children to follow the ‘APE’ approach when reasoning which breaks down their answers into: ‘Answer it’, ‘Prove it’ and ‘Explain it’. This approach helps scaffold children’s thinking and encourages them to justify and prove their answers.


Our curriculum is designed to introduce new, abstract topics using the ‘Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract’ (CPA) approach. We have chosen to follow this approach as research shows it is a highly effective way of developing a deep and sustainable understanding of mathematics. Children are introduced to new mathematical concepts through the use of concrete resources. When children are comfortable solving problems with physical aids, they move on to the pictorial approach and use picture representations of the concrete resources. Finally, when children have a secure understanding, they are moved on to the abstract approach.


In Reception, like the rest of the school, maths is taught daily. It is taught through whole class, small group and 1:1 learning with a mixture of adult-led learning and child-initiated learning with sustained shared thinking. Mathematical opportunities are available daily in the wider classroom environment for children to access independently and through their ‘star challenge’ directed learning task. Across the rest of the school, maths is taught daily for one hour. All year groups, including Reception, have a ’Key Skills’ session at the start of their lesson to encourage overlearning of key facts. 


Our long term and medium term plans have been inspired by White Rose and then adapted for the needs of our learners. We have designed our plans very carefully to enable prior knowledge to be built upon. Teachers then adapt these plans to the individual needs of their class and produce PowerPoint/Flipchart planning as aids to delivering quality first teaching to allow children master each objective. At St John’s, we chose not to follow a set ‘scheme’ of learning but instead allow teachers to hand pick purposeful activities from a variety of resources in order to meet the individual needs of their class and hone in on what will engage and excite them in their learning! 

Children at St.John's love using TTRockstars to support with recalling their times table facts. Here is the link to access TTRockstars. 

Supporting all learners


When teaching mathematics at St John’s, we intend to provide a curriculum which caters for the needs of all individuals. Our first and foremost strategy is to provide inclusive, quality first teaching for all and have high expectations to ensure all children make good progress.


A strategy which we use to support all learners is ’learning partners’. We do not group/set children as research shows this does not encourage children to make progress and can lower children’s aspirations. We encourage children to develop our values of Teamwork and Stewardship and by seating children in mixed ability pairings we provide them with opportunities to learn from each other. Teachers are also encouraged by our Pupil Premium Champion to think carefully about the seating position of Pupil Premium children to ensure they are arrange effective learning partners.


Another way in which we support all learners is through differentiation. In our lessons, we provide structures and scaffolds to support our children as well as higher order questions and mastery challenges to extend our more able learners. We use a ‘bronze, silver, gold’ differentiation system in which children are encouraged to self-select their appropriate starting level and regulate their learning to encourage they have selected a suitable challenge. We aim to develop children’s metacognitive skills to self-select independently; although, we are aware of some of our learners who made need some guidance before they are able to choose a sufficiently challenging task. We also provide differentiation through support and carefully designed deployment of adults.


Our bespoke ‘Shine Time’ strategy also provides numerous opportunities to support our children with their mathematical learning. Through skilful AFL strategies, teachers can recognise those with misconceptions or those who haven’t confidently understood an objective and plan Shine Time opportunities to enable them to close the gap with their peers. This may be in many forms but could include a ‘pre-teach’ before the following lesson or a same day intervention with a teacher/teaching assistant to consolidate their understanding. The teacher may also plan in a regular Shine Time session for a learner to develop particular skills. Shine Time sessions are also a great opportunity for teachers to stretch more able learners and extend their thinking in order to master a skill.



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