Subject Leader - Mrs Hodgkins

My name is Mrs Hodgkins and I attended St. John Fisher as a pupil before moving onto St. Joseph's (now Sts. Peter and Paul) where my love of mathematics first began.  After being inspired by my GCSE maths teacher, I moved onto A-level then Degree level Mathematics and it didn't stop there.  I became determined to pass on my love for mathematics and just wanted to teach!  I completed my PGCE at Liverpool Hope University then went on to teach mathematics at Sacred Heart Cathoilic High School where I taught for 10 years.

After a 7 year break from teaching to have my three wonderful children, I began teaching here at St. John Fisher where I have been for the past 10 years.  Throughout my time at St. John Fisher, I have worked hard to raise the profile of mathematics at school hoping that every child leaves here feeling confident in mathematics.

At St. John Fisher we have adopted the Maths No Problem approach which has been assessed by the DfE's expert panel, which judged it to be of high quality for the teaching of mathematics mastery.  We have found this approach to be extermly successful with our children who now feel more confident and capapble of tackling mathmatics.  

Mathematics at St. John Fisher


At St. John Fisher Catholic Primary School we recognise that Mathematics is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment. We aim to provide a high-quality mathematics education with a mastery approach so that all children will:

Become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils have conceptual understanding and are able to recall and apply their knowledge rapidly and accurately.
Reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language.
Can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.

(Based on National Curriculum 2014.)

We aim to develop a numerate environment where mathematical risk-taking, creativity and logical thought are encouraged in order to develop independence.


At St. John Fisher we use Maths No Problem in years 1-6, which have been written to support teachers in all aspects of their planning whilst delivering Singapore Maths Mastery methods effectively. As part of this process, teachers planning emphasises four critical questions that teachers ask themselves:

1. What do I like the students to learn? (As opposed to: What do I want to teach them?) What do I really want them to be able to do?

2. How do I know what they’ve learnt? What do I want to see them do?

3. What is my safety net to make sure they got it? What if they haven’t learnt it? 
Teachers must be prepared to help students who can’t understand a new concept by, for example, making his/her explanation more visual and by careful progression of the language used.

4. What if some students have already got it? What do I do to make sure they get stretched?
Teachers can challenge them further by asking more able students who already understand a given problem to:
- figure out another way of solving the given problem
- write a story about it in their mathematics journal
- write a note to a friend who is absent and explain the problem that was discuss during class

Planning his/her lesson with the four critical questions in mind helps the teacher to make sure that he/she will be able to engage all three different groups of learners: less able ones, average ones and the most advanced ones. It is very important that all students are given the same problem to solve, regardless of their abilities. If a student struggles, the teacher will give him support, if a student is very able the teacher will give him an extension. The teacher doesn’t want to prejudge which students can do the task and which can’t. This forms the basis of equal opportunity learning.

In the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), we relate the mathematical aspects of the children's work to the Development Matters statements and the Early Learning Goals (ELG), as set out in the EYFS profile document. Mathematics development involves providing children with opportunities to practise and improve their skills in counting numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems, and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures. The profile for Mathematics areas of learning are Number (ELG 11) and shape, space and measures (ELG 12). We continually observe and assess children against these areas using their age-related objectives, and plan the next steps in their mathematical development through a topic-based curriculum. There are opportunities for children to encounter Maths throughout the EYFS (both inside and outside) – through both planned activities and the self-selection of easily accessible quality maths resources. Whenever possible children’s interests are used to support delivering the mathematics curriculum. Towards the end of Reception teachers aim to draw the elements of a daily mathematics lesson together so that by the time children move into Year 1 they are familiar with a structured lesson / activity.


Our mathematics curriculum is based upon ‘Maths No Problem’ resources which are fully supported by the Department for Education as they meet the requirements of the new curriculum. The Maths No Problem primary school series has been created specifically for children living in the UK and is fully aligned to the 2014 curriculum. It provides all the elements that teachers need to teach Maths mastery with confidence and encourage children to talk using maths language. We measure our impact of our curriculum through the following methods:

  • Short-term assessments will be an informal part of every lesson to check understanding and give the teacher information, which will help to adjust day-to-day lesson plans.
  • Medium-term assessments will take place in each half term or at the end of a topic, as appropriate. 
  • Long-term assessments will take place towards the end of the school year to assess and review pupils’ progress and attainment.  These will be made through compulsory National Curriculum mathematics tests for pupils in Years 2/6 and supplemented by our assessment without levels process.

These assessments will be used to inform teaching in a continuous cycle of planning, teaching and assessment. Teaching a unit of work will need careful initial and ongoing planning, informed by an assessment of children’s learning.

Teachers will also draw upon their class record of attainment against key objectives and supplementary notes and knowledge about their class to produce a summative record.  Accurate information will then be reported to parents and the child’s next teacher.


Maths No Problem Approach

Whole Class Moves Through Content At The Same Pace

When teaching maths for mastery, the whole class moves through topics at broadly the same pace. Each topic is studied in depth and the teacher does not move to the next stage until all children demonstrate that they have a secure understanding of mathematical concepts.

Time To Think Deeply About The Maths

Students are given time to think deeply about the maths and really understand concepts at a relational level rather than as a set of rules or procedures. This slower pace leads to greater progress because it ensures that students are secure in their understanding and teachers don’t need to revisit topics once they’ve been covered in depth.

Builds Self-Confidence In Learners

In a traditional primary school maths lesson, children are put in different groups and given different content based on their anticipated ability. This means that from an early age children are classed as those who can and can’t “do maths”. Teaching maths for mastery is different because it offers all pupils access to the full maths curriculum. This inclusive approach, and its emphasis on promoting multiple methods of solving a problem, builds self-confidence and resilience in pupils.

Differentiates Through Depth Rather Than Acceleration

Though the whole class goes through the same content at the same pace, there is still plenty of opportunity for differentiation. Unlike the old model, where advanced learners are accelerated through new content, those pupils who grasp concepts quickly are challenged with rich and sophisticated problems within the topic. Those children who are not sufficiently fluent are provided additional support to consolidate their understanding before moving on.

Basis For The National Curriculum For Maths

Teaching maths for mastery is a key plank of the Government’s education reforms and is reflected in the 2014 National Curriculum for Mathematics. The NCETM, Department for Education and OFSTED have all endorsed this evidence-based approach which is a key part of the work within the Maths Hubs Programme.

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St John Fisher Primary School

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We strive for our school to be a happy place where all children learn in a safe and secure environment. We are committed to developing the talents and skills of every child to enable them to achieve the best that they can. We also wish to nurture their spiritual and personal development so that they become caring and responsible citizens. Every member of our school family is respected and valued for the unique individual they are.

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