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Our approach to maths

Within Belleville (and across all schools in our trust), maths follows the mastery approach from the National Curriculum and is taught using ‘Singapore style’ maths. Singapore has consistently ranked amongst the highest countries in the international PISA tests due to their world renowned methods in the teaching of maths.

As in Singapore, maths at Belleville is taught through the use of the concrete-pictorial-abstract (C-P-A) approach, from Bruner’s enactive-iconic-symbolic modes of representations, giving our students a deep understanding of mathematical concepts. We use the 'Maths - No Problem!' textbook scheme - the first textbook to meet the DfE textbook criteria - ensuring lessons build on one another in a logical progression.

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Maths is taught for an hour each morning.

Every lesson has a real-life, open-ended problem as a starting point for learning.  Students solve the problem in small groups or with partners using the C-P-A approach and after exploring their own methods they are guided towards the most efficient approach.

Children spend time in lessons working in groups or with partners to support articulation of their ideas before showing deep understanding with independent work.    

After practice, children work independently in workbooks that link directly to the textbooks. All children have their own workbooks.

Core curriculum elements

Our maths curriculum follows the National Curriculum objectives for each year group.

Using the Singapore approach to teaching maths encourages students to explore their thinking using manipulatives and pictorial representations before moving onto the abstract. For quick learners, this gives them opportunity to examine concepts in different ways and make judgements as to the efficiency of different methods as well as articulating their learning with high expectations of the use of mathematical reasoning. For those who may struggle with maths, their understanding is supported through the use of manipulatives.  

Every lesson has an open-ended problem as a starting point for learning. Usually the question can be investigated and answered using multiple strategies with the teacher converging ideas to teach the most efficient method.  The concrete-pictorial-abstract approach is used throughout to support the deep understanding of concepts.

Students solve the main problem in small groups or with partners with teacher questioning giving opportunity for exploring and articulation of explanations by the students before moving into practicing the preferred method.

Workbooks provide independent practice and additional activities consolidate and deepen conceptual learning.

Fluency of facts such as multiplication tables, estimation and comparing amounts is in incorporated into each lesson.


Article ImageWe are proud that:

  • Through the use of manipulatives, our lessons are exciting and interesting. Whether we are sharing pizza slices or chocolate bars in our teaching of fractions or making equal groups with flowers, cupcakes or sausages in our teaching of multiplication, our lessons use real-life problems as their foundations. Real life problems need real life resources! 
  • Using the first DfE recommended textbook and workbook means our students have a clear progression across concepts and opportunity to deepen their understanding through additional activities.
  • Maths can be found in most subjects across the curriculum. Our problem solving skills are used in science, geography and PSCHE for instance. Whilst data interpretation and presentation for example, can be seen in geography, history, RE, PSCHE and science. Angles and co-ordinates are seen in PE and time and money in history, geography, languages and PSCHE.


"Of course it is not for Ofsted to say how children should be taught mathematics, but it is for us to measure schools against high standards and expectations, which in my view you are setting in mathematics.” Matthew Purves, Deputy Director, Schools for Ofsted email of 25th May, 2018

"I think maths at school is better with all the counters and materials." Freddie, 6S