Our Lady of Compassion Catholic Primary School

To live as Jesus taught us



“The only way to learn mathematics is to do mathematics.”

- Paul Halmos -



At Our Lady of Compassion School, in line with our Catholic ethos, we believe that everyone has a special part to play in God’s plan. As a fully inclusive school, we welcome all children with their individual strengths and needs and strive to give them the best opportunities to be able to participate in school life, progress and achieve their full potential. We believe that all children are entitled to a rich and diverse curriculum that is delivered through high quality teaching and differentiated to meet the needs of all children. The school has a supportive ethos, and our approaches support the children in developing their collaborative and independent skills, as well as empathy and the need to recognise the achievement of others.




At Our Lady of Compassion School, we are committed to providing our children with a curriculum and a learning experience which stimulates and inspires them, whilst preparing them for life outside school. We aim to develop children as true lifelong learners, hungry for knowledge and understanding, and proficient at transferring learning skills into a wide range of areas. We believe that all children can be successful in learning maths - we strive to ensure that maths is an adventure for children to be immersed in, get creative with, make mistakes, and conquer! We do not accept that ‘some children cannot do maths’ or that children should be limited by prior attainment – we believe that with the right support and challenge, EVERYONE can learn maths successfully! 


We enable us to achieve this, we have implemented Power Maths as a whole school approach to maths, a whole-class mastery programme designed to spark curiosity and excitement and help nurture confidence in maths. This is a ‘small-steps’ mastery approach to the teaching maths, where concepts are broken down so that the children can master one idea without feeling over-whelmed, ensuring that they have the best opportunity to develop into resilient learners who become life-long mathematicians. There are a range of fluency, reasoning and problem-solving questions in each lesson that are designed to support the different needs and confidence levels within a class, while at the same time fostering a spirit of working and learning together. Each lesson includes a challenge question for those children who can delve deeper into a concept.  


The Power Maths approach to learning and experiencing maths enables children to be numerate, creative, independent, inquisitive, enquiring and confident, as well as develops an appreciation for the beauty and power of maths. Children learn to make mistakes, embracing the fact that these form an essential part of learning.  This mastery curriculum promotes a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject, so that children become fluent in calculations, possess a growing confidence to reason mathematically and develop and secure their problem-solving skills.




The Power Maths scheme of learning has supported us in developing a consistent approach to the teaching of maths and in supporting the teachers to further develop their understanding of mastery. This builds on the concrete, pictorial, abstract approach (the C-P-A approach). By using all three, the children can explore and demonstrate their mathematical learning. Together, these elements help to cement knowledge so that children truly understand what they have learnt; the children embed the skills acquired within their maths lessons and develop them consistently over time.


Children are therefore encouraged to solve problems each day through the use of concrete resources, pictorial representations and abstract thinking:


  • Concrete – children have the opportunity to use concrete objects and manipulatives to help them understand and explain what they are doing.
  • Pictorial – children then build on this concrete approach by using these pictorial representations, which can then be used to reason and solve problems.
  • Abstract – with the foundations firmly laid by using the concrete and pictorial methods the children can move onto an abstract approach using numbers and key concepts with confidence.


This helps children tackle concepts in a tangible and more comfortable way. Teachers use careful questions to draw out children’s discussions and their reasoning. The class teacher then leads children through strategies for solving the problem, including those already discussed. High quality resources are also used in conjunction with Power Maths, such as NRich and NCETM to support, stretch and challenge all children within the classroom.  In addition, the school uses the Power Maths calculation policies to ensure a coherent approach to teaching the operations across our school.


Teachers reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards in maths, as follows:

  • The large majority of children progress through the curriculum content at the same pace; differentiation is achieved by emphasising deep knowledge and through individual support and intervention.
  • Teaching is underpinned by methodical curriculum design and supported by carefully crafted lessons and resources to foster deep conceptual and procedural knowledge.
  • Practice and consolidation play a central role; carefully designed variation within this builds fluency and understanding of underlying mathematical concepts.
  • Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual and procedural knowledge and assess children regularly to identify those requiring intervention, so that all children keep up.


The lesson structure is designed to support the achievement of deeper thinking skills and the ‘reflect’ task at the end of each lesson (see below) also allows for misconceptions to be addressed.  Each lesson has a progression, with a central flow that draws the main learning into focus. There are different elements, informed by research into best practice in maths teaching, that bring the lessons to life: 

  • Discover – each lesson begins with a problem to solve, often a real-life example, sometimes a puzzle or a game; these are engaging and fun and designed to get all children thinking. 
  • Share – the class shares their ideas and compares different ways to solve the problem, explaining their reasoning with hands-on resources and drawings to make their ideas clear; children are able to develop their understanding of the concept with input from the teacher.  
  • Think together – the next part of the lesson is a journey through the concept, digging deeper and deeper so that each child builds on secure foundations while being challenged to apply their understanding in different ways and with increasing independence. 
  • Practice – now children practise individually or in small groups, rehearsing and developing their skills to build fluency, understanding of the concept and confidence. 
  • Reflect – finally, children are prompted to reflect on and record their learning from each session and show how they have grasped the concept explored in the lesson. 




Formative assessment takes place continuously; children receive effective immediate verbal feedback during the lesson (AfL is integral to the design of each lesson). Common misconceptions are addressed within the teaching sequence and key understanding within each ‘small step’ is reviewed and checked by the teacher and the children before progression to further depth. The teacher also assesses the children’s understanding when marking their work.


In addition, we place a strong emphasis on the power of questioning: this enables us to explore topics together as a class, verbally develop reasoning skills during the lessons and further assess the children’s understanding. At the end of the unit is an End of Unit Check; the children’s responses to these questions further help inform the teacher on the children’s their understanding and acquisition of skills taught, so that the teacher can then support the children’s learning prior to moving on the next unit. Regular and ongoing assessment therefore also informs intervention, implementing support and challenge as appropriate; this ensures that we are able to maintain high standards, enabling the success of every child.


As a school we recognise that parents have a valuable role to play in supporting their child’s mathematical learning journey. Parents are informed of their child’s progress at Parents’ Evenings or sooner if necessary; parents are encouraged to speak to their child’s teacher at any point during the year, either informally or by making a specific appointment should the need arise. An overview of the maths curriculum is available on the school’s website to support parents further, as well as guidance in the progression in calculation methods used throughout the school. We also provide opportunities for parents to discover what their child is learning, and the methods being taught, during the ‘Working Together Meetings’ and maths workshops.



KIRFs - ‘Key Instant Recall Facts’ – are key facts which have been carefully structured to build upon each other term by term, year by year. They are designed to support the development of mental maths skills that underpin the maths curriculum. When children have access to a bank of facts, they have more capacity to think about more complex problems that draw on these facts. Regular practice embeds these facts in the children’s long-term memory so that they can be recalled quickly and accurately. These will therefore develop the children’s fluency and mental maths skills, helping with mental agility in their application of maths skills. They are particularly useful when calculating, adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing. They contain number facts such as number bonds and times tables that need constant practice and rehearsal, so children can recall them quickly and accurately. When children move onto written calculations, knowing these key facts is very beneficial - for children to become more efficient in recalling them easily, they need to be practised frequently and for short periods of time.


Each half term the children will focus on one area of Key Instant Recall Facts (KIRFs) that will be taught in school but will benefit from being practised at home too - they are not designed to be a time-consuming task and can be practised anywhere in a fun way, in the car, walking to school, etc. Regular practice helps the children retain these facts and keep their skills sharp - little and often will support the children in embedding these facts in their long-term memory. We have also included a number of online links that may further support the children to practise these skills. As a result, children will leave school with a much stronger foundation of mathematical understanding to build upon.


We thank you for your support in helping your child develop as a confident mathematician, better able to access the curriculum year-on-year with more confidence and enjoyment.