Primary School

College Square, Bristol BS1 5TS

0117 353 2052

Cathedral Primary School Maths 

“Go deep down into anything and you will find mathematics.” Dean Schlicter

Maths is a subject that people can be afraid of but here at cathedral we want to instil a curiosity for and a love of maths in the children. We want them to be resilient in the face of struggling with maths and to enjoy seeking the answers as much as finding them. As Georg Cantor said, “in maths the art of proposing a question must be held in higher value than solving it.”

At Cathedral, we aim to teach maths through the mastery approach. These highlights the core skills of fluency, problems solving and reasoning. We aim to give the children a deep conceptual understanding of maths.

“The study of maths, like the Nile, starts in minuteness but ends in magnificence.” Charles Caleb Colton

How we do this

We teach using as concrete-pictorial-abstract model. This means introducing the children to concrete materials that illuminate mathematical structure, helping them to visualise the structure through images and drawings and recording the maths with abstract mathematical symbols. We aim for the children to be able to move fluently between the three different ways of representing mathematics questions or problems.


Fluency, both procedural and conceptual, is of the utmost importance in maths, particularly when it comes to gaining confidence. For this reason, a big emphasis will be put on learning number facts. The children will then learn how to use those facts to infer other facts. Good knowledge of number facts will allow children to calculate rather than count when they encounter mathematical problems.


The best learning takes place through rich mathematical discussion. The children will be encouraged to explain their answers and make justifications. They will learn to challenge each other's mathematical thinking and to have their thinking challenged. Through discussion, the children will explore misconceptions and work towards mathematical generalisations.

Problem solving

We aim to give the children the skills to tackle increasingly complex problems. This involves applying reasoning skills, trying different methods and resilience in the face of struggle.  We want them to enjoy the process and not give up. After all, it took 300 years for someone to solve Fermat’s Last Theorem.

We encourage the children to work in groups or pairs when solving problems because mathematics is a collaborative affair and we learn best when we are a community of mathematicians.

“Nature is written in mathematical language,” Galileo Galilei