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Mathematics at Denbigh Primary School


The study of mathematics is a much valued component of daily life at Denbigh Primary School. Not only do our pupils follow a bespoke and well-organised programme of study; we take great pride in ensuring that our staff are trained to deliver this programme successfully. At present, five members of the school staff, including one senior leader, hold the title of ‘Mathematics Specialist’ (MaST) following the 2-year post graduate qualification.

Our mathematics programme of study follows the national curriculum guidelines whilst utilising the Inspire mathematics scheme to support teaching and learning. The decision to use this resource was taken after a detailed study on the effectiveness of different mathematics schemes and programmes by our maths team. The mathematics lead ran a two-term teaching sequence following the Inspire model and monitored the impact. From these studies, we decided to fully implement the Inspire model across Years 1 – 6 from September 2016.


Mathematics Lessons at Denbigh

A typical mathematics lesson at Denbigh will begin with a multiplication table chant and question session lasting between 3 and 5 minutes. Children are taking through a multiplication table of study in a specific way and are then challenged to apply their understanding to a series of increasingly complex challenges. The methods behind this starter remain consistent across all classes.

Teachers of pupils in Years 1 – 6 will then follow the Inspire programme of study for the session. They will have prepared this session with reference to previous learning. As a result, classes in the same year group may not necessarily be at the same point in the teaching sequence.

Children will generally be in mixed ability groups of four although this may alter depending on the nature of the task. There will be mathematical resources in boxes (one box per pair of pupils) on tables. The purpose of the equipment is to support the pupils in applying concrete materials to a problem.

The Inspire programme is designed to allow pupils to develop from concrete – pictoral – abstract understanding of a concept:



Pupils physically manipulate resources to support in the solving of a problem.



Pupils draw, or follow drawn images to support in solving a problem. This includes two key pictoral representations: Part-Part-Whole and the Bar Model.






Pupils not longer require visual representation to solve problems. This can be completed through formal paper and pencil methods or mentally.


Throughout a mathematics lesson, pupils are encouraged to discuss, cooperate, ask questions and support using correct mathematical terminology. Whilst one of our main aims is to develop independence when solving mathematical problems, we ensure that pupils have the opportunities to share ideas as well as work independently.


Introduction to new ideas and challenges are run using the following procedures:








We aim to challenge our pupils; to stretch them; to get them thinking about similar mathematical concepts from different viewpoints. We encourage resilience by treating mistakes and misconceptions as positive learning opportunities.


“If you aren’t making mistakes in today’s task, I apologise..”

                                                                                                Dylan Wiliam (2017) Osiris Assessment Conference


Pupils are encouraged to take part in the assessment and marking of their own work, identify where they have made mistakes and seek partner or teacher support to address misconceptions. Through this model, we aim to reduce the ‘fear’ surrounding maths that doesn’t appear to feature in any other subject.


Early Years


In November 2016, all of our early Years staff received training in the Inspire / Numicon model. We selected this training to ensure that the transition for our pupils from Early Years to Year 1 runs smoothly in terms of their experiences of mathematics.


In Early Years classes, pupils will be using a large variety of concrete materials to explore mathematical concepts both in ‘child-initiated’ activities and in teacher-led investigations which have been planned through the ‘Firm Foundations’ resource. Through these methods, pupils develop a deeper understanding of the value of numbers and in using and applying mathematical language to solving problems.