Birkbeck Primary School


The Intent of our Maths curriculum is:

For all pupils to develop a deeper, conceptual understanding of mathematics in order to engender a lifelong confidence and love of applying and explaining mathematics in our pupils to connect with the world around them.

We follow the Department for Education's National Curriculum programmes of study for Key Stages 1 and 2, details of which are published on the DfE's website

The National Curriculum for maths aims to provide a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of maths, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject. It aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of maths, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex
  • problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately
  • reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, looking at relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
  • can solve problems by applying their maths to a variety of routine and non – routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and preserving in seeking solutions.

Our curriculum design is driven by our intent and by the NCETM’s research evidenced 5 big ideas: 

  1. Coherence is established through small, manageable steps to enable access for all pupils and to allow concepts to unfold with a logical progression within and across lessons.
  2. Representation and Structure is developed using concrete, pictorial and abstract opportunities to expose pupils to mathematical structures and patterns.
  3. Mathematical Thinking is supported through opportunities for pupils to consider, reason with and discuss their thinking.
  4. Fluency is fostered through the quick and efficient recall of number and times table facts. 
  5. Variation of tasks and representations allows pupils to connect ideas within and across topics by encouraging mathematical structures and patterns to be identified. 

How our units of work are structured

We have created our own curriculum map for Maths, informed by the White rose small step sequence as well as the NCETM curriculum mapping documentation. You can see the curriculum overview for each year group below.


reception yearly overview.pdf


 Year 1

year 1 yearly overview.pdf


 Year 2

year 2 yearly overview.pdf


 Year 3

year 3 yearly overview.pdf


 Year 4

year 4 yearly overview.pdf


 Year 5 

year 5 yearly overview.pdf


 Year 6


year 6 yearly overview.pdf


Within each unit, concepts will be taught in the order specified on the curriculum map. The concepts have been logically sequenced so that new knowledge builds upon existing knowledge. When a new concept is introduced, teachers make sure that the concept is understood structurally by providing multiple concrete representations. Children are given opportunities to practice using these representations before moving on and teachers use questioning during this process to engage children in mathematical talk that further embeds their understanding.

Children will then learn to apply the same concept pictorially and to a range of different concepts as teachers vary the nature of the questions children are asked to work on to ensure that they recognise the same concept at play in different contexts. This helps them think carefully about what knowledge the already have that could help them solve a previously unseen problem. Throughout this process, children are asked to verbalise their understanding, eliciting ever developing reasoning skills that serve to embed understanding as well as reveal misconceptions that teachers are able to address in the moment. 

Children then apply this same concept in abstract contexts, to solve problems and puzzles. At all times, teachers are on hand to guide, support and scaffold learning with modelling and explanation, making use of representations and strategies specified in our calculation policy. 

Strategic recall

We apply the principle of Ebbinghaus's forgetting curve to ensure that knowledge is revisited at points when it is desirably difficult to remember. We know that working hard to remember something and then being able to do so, strengthens that knowledge and makes it easier to retrieve next time.  So, we revisit knowledge one day after it has been initially learned, three further days after that, seven days after that and twenty one days after that. This is because we estimate that children will have around 60% retention of the concept at these points. 

To make sure this revisiting is built into the curriculum, we use the period of time between 8:50 and 9:10 for children to answer questions from lessons 1,3,7 and 21 days previously. 


In Early years and Key stage 1, children do their strategic recall through the Mastering number programme which is a national programme aimed at helping children master a fluent understanding of number and the relationships and patterns that exist within it.


We understand the importance of children being able to fluently recall facts and relationships between numbers and being able to perform mathematical operations fluently and accurately. We also recognise that this understanding underpins successful problem solving later on. Therefore, every Maths lesson begins with an arithmetic starter of 5 questions that are strategically sequenced to ensure that they cover knowledge learned over the preceding 5 weeks of study. These questions are planned and sequenced on Medium term plans by the Maths lead, ensuring that coverage is accurate and strategic across the school. 

Our principles of teaching and learning in Maths

Our principles of teaching and learning are rooted in what we know to be the components of truly great teaching and learning. You can read about how these are applied to Maths lesson delivery in the document below: 

principles of teaching and learning maths.pdf



Teachers assess formatively in Maths lessons every day in line with the school's marking and feedback policy. This results in teachers feeding back to individuals, small groups or the whole class depending on the misconceptions they identify in the lesson. This feedback may take place in the lesson itself or later on that day or early the next morning but it will always take place before the next lesson begins. 

We formally assess Maths once per term using Pixl tests. These tests give us access to a cohort of between 20,000 and 30,000 pupils from across the country and so we know our assessments are robust because they are within a context much larger and varied than just our own school.

Outcomes of these assessments are reported to parents and carers at parents evening every term. However, the primary purpose of these assessments is for teachers to understand what pupils do not currently understand so that they can adapt their teaching and revisiting accordingly. 

Times tables

At Birkbeck we realise the importance of children knowing their times tables. Times tables set the foundation for a child to learn more advanced mathematics later on and any child who falls behind with multiplication may have more trouble catching up later.

We encourage your child/children to practise their times tables as much as possible in order to help improve their attainment in maths. 

To help facilitate this further we have set up all children from Years 1 to Year 6 on an app called ‘Times Table Rock Stars’. It can be accessed on any PC, or on any mobile or tablet device (although you will need to download a free app from your App Store for the latter two). 

The app allows children to practice any times tables up to 12 x 12, test themselves against the clock, earn trophies and even compete against other children in a times table battle!

The times table focus for each year group is as follows:

Year 1 Doubles of numbers from 1 – 10, counting in 2’s, 5’s and 10’s
Year 2 2, 5 and 10 times tables and related division facts
Year 3 3, 4 and 8 times tables and related division facts
Year 4 All times tables up to 12 x 12 and related division facts
Year 5 & 6

Revise all times tables (up to 12 x 12) and further develop division facts.

Apply times tables fluently into formal written methods

Multiply 3 or more digit numbers by 1 and 2 digit numbers


Please see our Maths calculation policy below.  This document explains how each calculation is taught progressively from Reception through to Year 6 and details the different concrete and pictorial representations that we use to secure understanding during this process. 


birkbeck calculation policy 1 .docx