Maths – No Problem!

All pupils should become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and are able to recall and apply their knowledge rapidly and accurately to problems. (National Curriculum, 2014)

At Thames, we teach maths through the ‘mastery approach’. In this approach problem solving is at the heart of mathematics teaching. The focus is not on rote procedures, rote memorisation or tedious calculations but on relational understanding. Children are encouraged to solve problems which will help to build mathematical fluency. It uses the Concrete Pictorial Abstract (CPA) approach. Much of this approach is to ensure children gain mastery in maths at each year level. Pupils will spend time to fully explore a topic, reinforcing it with practice, before moving onto the next topic. All ideas are built on previous knowledge and pupils have ample opportunity to develop relationships between topics.

Key features of maths teaching:

  • The whole class moves through topics together.
  • Children are encouraged to think more deeply and explain their mathematical understanding. 
  • The inclusive approach means learners build self-confidence.
  • Learning goes deeper with challenges and sophisticated problem solving.


How are lessons taught?

Concepts are built upon from one chapter to the next. Chapters are then broken down into individual lessons. Lessons typically are broken into three parts and can last one or more days. Children will master topics before moving on.


The three parts to a lesson are:

  1. Anchor Task – the entire class spends time on a question guided by the teacher. The children are encouraged during this time to think of as many ways as possible to solve the question as possible.
  2. Guided Practice – practice new ideas in groups, pairs or individually guided by the teacher.
  3. Independent Practice – practice on your own. Once children have mastered the concept they use their reasoning and problem solving skills to develop their depth of learning.


What impact will Maths No Problem have on your child?

Children will have a greater conceptual understanding of number and calculation. They will be able to visualise and generalise more readily due to a more in-depth understanding.

Struggling learners will be fully supported through accessing concrete equipment and use of visual models to support understanding.

Confident learners will be challenged through exposure to unfamiliar problems, development of reasoning skills and by exploring multiple ways to manipulate numbers and solve problems.

All learners will access teaching of content which matches the expectations of the new curriculum in England and be supported further if needed, in order to access this. The resources match the expectations for formal written methods set out by the Government, alongside greater understanding.

Year 4 Times Table Check

All primary school-aged children are expected to know their times tables up to 12 x 12 by heart. In fact, they are expected to have mastered their times tables by the end of Year 4.

Until now, there has been no formal measure to judge whether children had learnt their times tables or not. So, the idea is for the Multiplication Tables Check to be taken towards the end of Year 4 to make sure children are meeting the benchmark of memorising their times tables up to 12 x 12 before moving up to Upper Key Stage 2 (Year 5 and Year 6).

The Year 4 children will sit the check in June, during a three-week window. The children will take the test on a desktop computer, laptop or tablet (such as an iPad) at school. The programme that the test runs on will automatically mark each child’s times tables test.