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Early Years Foundation Stage

In the Early Years, we are becoming mathematicians. Children develop their mathematical skills in areas of learning through opportunities which are both child initiated and adult supported. Maths is underpinned by the Characteristics of Effective Learning: playing and exploring (engagement), active learning (motivation) and creating and thinking critically (thinking), which is how children learn within the EYFS. The children are assessed towards the Early Learning Goal for Mathematics – Numbers, Shape, Space and Measures. Adult-led activities take account of the children’s interests and learning styles, maximising the use of areas of provision within the environment, both indoors and out. The learning leads on to children developing and practising skills in their own way and provides further learning possibilities. We embed mathematical opportunities within daily routines to make them real and purposeful.


To support the whole school sequencing of the maths curriculum, we use the Archimedes Maths Hub/North Yorkshire LA’s mixed age planning guidance to support teaching and learning in EYFS maths. Topics are introduced in 4 areas:

1 Big ideas – where new topics are introduced e.g. Understanding what money is and what it is used for and the value of coins.

2 Key maths vocabulary – recap previous learned vocabulary and introduce the pupils to new key mathematical vocabulary linked to that topic e.g. money, coins, pence, pounds, price, cost, sell, buy, spend, pay and change.

3 Securing key skills and embedding understanding e.g. using and experiencing REAL coins and notes in a role play situation to pay, add, subtract and give change..

4 Activities, stories and songs e.g. 20 Currant Buns song, The Great Pet Sale story

Following on from the introduction and gauging of children’s interests, the topic continues in the learning areas, indoors and out, through adult-initiated tasks and ‘Enabling Environments’ (child-initiated, adult-supported). For example, making labels for a shop and matching the correct coins to the label, buying tickets for a bus ride, setting up a toy shop role play area, paying and giving change. We use specific ‘hands on’ maths equipment as well as a rich variety of ‘real life’ resources linked to problem solving in the EYFS. We link maths vocabulary to ‘Convince me maths’ (see KS1 and KS2 below). Children will be asked to ‘think, explain and solve’ problems using specific maths vocabulary linked to the unit they are being taught.


Maths in the Early Years Curriculum is split into two areas: ‘Numbers’ and ‘Shapes, Space and Measures’, where children work towards achieving the Early Learning Goals (ELGs) for each of these areas.

ELGs for ‘Numbers’

Children count reliably with numbers from 1 to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. Using quantities and objects, they add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer. They solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing.

ELGs for ‘Shapes, Space and Measures’

Children use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money to compare quantities and objects and to solve problems. They recognise, create and describe patterns. They explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and use mathematical language to describe them.


Children will be assessed as ‘emerging’, ‘expected’ or ‘exceeding’ for each Early Learning Goal at the end of the Foundation Stage.

KS1 and KS2

Throughout KS1 and KS2 we teach ‘Convince Me Maths’ (CMM) which involves extending children’s mathematical understanding through reasoning, using a structured programme which provides appropriate differentiation and challenge to all. Our long term plans are adapted from the Archimedes Maths hub/North Yorkshire Local Authority’s mixed age planning guidance. We have based our maths curriculum on these long term plans because the sequencing of topics has been written to help ensure that any pre-requisite knowledge needed for a unit can be taught in the preceding units. We have chosen to adapt the ‘long block’ approach as this best meets the needs of our learners in mixed age classes across the school. Overviews for each topic allow teachers to see the content for each year group, providing continuity and understanding of progression (preceding and following year groups) in the topics.

We cover all aspects of mathematics as outlined in the National Curriculum:

Year 1 Number and Place Value; Calculations; Fractions; Measurement; Geometry
Year 2 Number and Place Value; Calculations; Fractions; Measurement; Geometry; Statistics
Year 3 Number and Place Value; Calculations; Fractions; Measurement; Geometry; Statistics
Year 4 Number and Place Value; Calculations; Fractions and Decimals; Measurement; Geometry; Statistics
Year 5 Number and PV; Calculations; Fractions, Decimals and Percentages; Measurement; Geometry; Statistics
Year 6 Number and PV; Calculations; Fractions, Decimals and Percentages; Ratio and Proportion; Algebra; Measurement; Geometry; Statistics

Through Convince Me Maths, we teach each unit in the same sequence across the school:

Step 1 – Vocabulary

This lesson is to recap learned vocabulary and introduce the children to new key mathematical vocabulary linked to the topic. This is essential to allow the children to access the whole of the topic.

Step 2 – Show (concrete, pictorial and abstract)

Once the children have a good understanding of the vocabulary, they are encouraged to explore the topic, using concrete resources that they can handle e.g. counters, cubes etc. They are then encouraged to develop this further into a pictorial representation, where they use diagrams to show their understanding visually. Following on from this, the abstract teaches the children the appropriate mathematical symbols and representations for the specific area of learning e.g. + addition, – subtraction.

Step 3 – Do (fluency)

This is the teacher-led input where the children learn new skills in order to later apply what they have learned. It is important that children succeed in the fluency stage before they move on.

Step 4 – Think

Once children have a sound knowledge of the mathematical skills, they move on to apply their understanding. This stage is designed to encourage the children to reason – explaining how they found their answer and how they know it is correct. Every Think task begins with ‘Convince me that…’. This reminds the children that they must explain their thought processes.

Step 5 – Explain

After the Think stage has been successfully completed and understood, the children can move on to the Explain stage. Explain is designed to allow the children to demonstrate their understanding of the skills being taught, applying their learning and using appropriate mathematical vocabulary

Step 6 – Solve

The final stage, which is the mastery stage, is Solve. This is where the children are given more difficult investigations to explore the skills further. They apply all of the previously used skills to gain a deeper level of understanding. Solve tasks begin with, ‘Is it always, sometimes or never true that…’

Convince Me Maths encourages and expects children to become more independent and responsible for their own learning. In KS1, Convince Me Maths is more teacher-led as the children are being introduced to the school’s approach to mathematics. In Lower KS2, children are more independent, with some teacher-led sessions. In Upper KS2, the fluency sessions are teacher-led; beyond that, the children work independently and receive regular feedback before moving onto the next step. In KS2, identified children may require additional adult support.

Concrete resources are always readily available to the children to be used at any time, during any of the steps. The children are free to choose which methods and resources work best to develop their understanding. ‘Maths No Problem’ teaching resources are used to expose all pupils to a range of fluency, mastery and problem-solving questions.

At the end of each unit, pupils in Years 2 to 6 self-assess their learning based on how well they feel they have achieved against the criteria. The teacher then assesses each pupil’s progress using the same criteria. Each year group has the same structure of units. Therefore, before each unit is taught, previous learning will be reviewed and revisited.