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Ickworth Park Primary School

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What does maths look like at Ickworth Park Primary School?


At Ickworth Park, we follow a mastery style curriculum using White Rose Maths Hub resources and guidance. Mastery teaching provides our children with the time to acquire a deep and transferable understanding of mathematical concepts.


What is mastery teaching? 


Introducing the concept

New concepts are always introduced with links to prior learning and objectives covered previously.  Children are given opportunities to make links between embedded and new learning.  


Sequence of learning

At Ickworth Park we use the 'concrete, pictorial, abstract' (CPA) approach to teaching which supports the development of deep and sustainable understanding of maths. Children (and adults!) can find maths difficult because it is abstract. The CPA approach builds on children’s existing knowledge by introducing abstract concepts in a concrete and tangible way. It involves moving from concrete materials, to pictorial representations, to abstract symbols and problems.


The concrete step of CPA

Concrete is the 'doing' stage. During this stage, children use objects to model problems. Unlike traditional maths teaching methods where teachers demonstrate how to solve a problem, the CPA approach brings concepts to life by allowing children to experience and handle physical (concrete) objects. For example, if a problem involves adding pieces of fruit, children may handle actual fruit/models of fruit. From there, they progress to handling abstract counters or cubes which represent the fruit.  


The pictorial step of CPA

Pictorial is the 'seeing' stage. Here, visual representations of concrete objects are used to model problems. This stage encourages children to make a mental connection between the physical object they just handled and the abstract pictures, diagrams or models that represent the objects from the problem.

Building or drawing a model makes it easier for children to grasp difficult abstract concepts. It helps students visualise abstract problems and make them more accessible.


The abstract step of CPA

Abstract is the 'symbolic' stage in which children use abstract symbols to model problems. Children will not progress to this stage until they have demonstrated that they have a solid understanding of the concrete and pictorial stages of the problem. The abstract stage involves the teacher introducing abstract concepts and symbols. Children are introduced to the concept at a symbolic level, using only numbers, notation, and mathematical symbols (for example, +, –, x, /) to indicate addition, subtraction, multiplication or division.

Although CPA is understood as three distinct stages, a skilled teacher will go back and forth between each stage to reinforce concepts.


Through the use of a mastery style programme of learning we hope to nurture happy, confident, articulate and autonomous learners with a life-long passion for learning.