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Maths Curriculum Overview


Through the teaching of Mathematics at Pathfield School we aim to enable all our learners, to be confident in mathematic thinking, develop their mathematical understanding that is essential in supporting them to understand themselves, their immediate environment, and the world around them. We use a variety of teaching and learning strategies to ensure that all students reach their full potential. Our curriculum is designed to be accessible and engaging for all students, regardless of their individual abilities. We believe that is important for students to see the relevance of Maths in their everyday lives. Therefore, whenever possible, we incorporate real-life examples and applications into our curriculum.

We also ensure that the four pillars or our curriculum are central to the development of mathematical knowledge and skills and are integrated below.

  • Community: Students learn about working together and developing social skills through group work and collaboration. As our students move through the school, they have increased opportunities to apply their mathematical knowledge within the community. For example, by shopping for ingredients, making cakes and selling them in our community café, they learn about measurement, money, and time. This hands-on approach to learning not only enhances their academic progress but also nurtures valuable life skills that extend far beyond the classroom.
  • Communication: We use a variety of communication tools in our maths lessons, including visual aids, manipulatives, and assistive technology. We encourage our students to communicate their mathematical ideas at their own level.
  • Wellbeing: We foster a positive and supportive learning environment that empowers students to embrace challenges and feel confident in taking risks. We encourage our students to celebrate their accomplishments and persevere through the obstacles they encounter. By offering opportunities to pursue appropriate accreditation upon completion of their studies instil a sense of profound achievement in our students.
  • Independence: We support our students to develop the skills for independent problem-solving in Maths. We encourage students to take responsibility for their learning, try new things and take risks in their learning. Ultimately, having the ability to manage finances including the value of money, being able to tell the time, interpret a bus/train timetable, solve simple calculations are all essential skills required to live a full and independent life.


Learning and developing mathematical understanding at Pathfield School stretches far beyond a designated “maths” lesson. Students are provided with opportunities to develop their mathematical understanding across the whole curriculum. This includes both subject specific lessons and cross curricular learning.

Through intensive academic research and the assessment of our students we have moved away from a spaced learning approach to deliver a “little and often” approach to support the needs of our students. As a school we now follow the ‘Maths for Life’ programme that supports the need to provide learners with smaller, incremental steps giving them longer to secure the knowledge, understanding and application of concepts that focuses on the essential skills needed for life.   Maths for Life adopts an age natural approach ensuring all our students are engaged in their learning at an appropriate level.

You can find more information regarding the Maths for Life programme on the following link:

EYFS & Key Stage 1

The focus on teaching and learning Mathematics is giving opportunities for learners to gain an understanding of key mathematical concepts in the first years of school, through play and structured teaching.

Children will investigate and build learning and understanding of early, crucial concepts, essential to the development of later mathematical competence including:

  • Attributes – including size, shape and colour
  • Categories – classifying (sorting or grouping) items based on a single or several attributes.
  • Sequences and patterns
  • Comparisons – understanding comparative concepts, including quantity, size, order and position.
  • Learning numerals- learning to link spoken number words to written numerals.

The ABLLS assessment tool can also be used to support our pupils in the EYFS & KS1 to develop these pre-maths skills and learning to learn skills.

Key Stage 2

Students follow a pre-formal, semi-formal or formal route depending on their cognitive capabilities. Maths is delivered through half termly topics across the curriculum. All students will follow a differentiated approach to the National Curriculum using the Maths for Life scheme of work.

In developing early number and calculation skills, learners will encounter teaching and learning activities designed to establish a secure foundation in basic, essential procedures and concepts, including:

  • Linking quantities to numbers- learning that number words and numerals represent quantities.
  • Learning all the stages to develop secure counting skills.
  • Learning “how many”- Understanding that counting is a fundamental skill that helps us understand the quantity of things around us. As we count each item, we keep track of the total number. The last number word we say represents the total count.
  • Learning the cardinal principle. As the child counts each toy, the cardinal principle guides them to recognise that the last number word spoken, say “five,” indicates the total number of toys present.
  • Learning ordinality. The ability to recognise and arrange objects or events in a specific order. For instance, when we say, “the first in line” or “the third floor”.
  • Recognising the relative sizes of and relationship between numbers
  • Learning quantity words and concepts and applying them to numbers
  • Understanding approaches to calculating and recording addition and subtraction

Specific teaching and learning of additional topics in mathematics will support students to develop skills and understanding in a variety of concepts, including:

  • Daily routines and time.
  • Money exchange and the value of coins.
  • Awareness of similarities and differences in shape, space and measures.

Key Stage 3

Students continue to follow a semi-formal or formal approach to Maths. Our pre-formal learners follow a highly differentiated and individualised Maths curriculum. Maths is delivered through four discrete Maths lessons per week.

Within Key Stage 3 learners continue to develop and embed early number and calculation skills. They will encounter teaching and learning activities designed to establish a secure understanding of the value of number, the four basic operations – addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. These operations form the foundation of mathematical reasoning and are essential for solving a wide range of problems. Students will also continue to develop skills in measurement, geometry and statistics.

The focus in Key Stage 3 is about applying number skills and mathematical knowledge with life skills and the practical elements needed in day-to-day life. Therefore, there is a heavy focus on both money and time as these are areas that have been highlighted by students and their families as a priority area of learning.

Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4, students have the opportunity to work towards an accreditation in Maths either through the Equals (Moving On – Numeracy) or NCFE Functional Skills Maths qualifications depending on their ability and the progress they have made in school. These pathways are flexible and responsive to the progress made during KS4.

Semi-formal learners will work towards the Equals (Moving On – Numeracy) accreditation in two areas ‘Maths for Design’ and ‘Maths in Everyday Life’. The rationale for these courses is the focus on applying essential skills to practical applications. Over the two-year cycle, students will be able to achieve accreditation in both areas with an appropriate level of support.

More information about the Equals (Moving On – Numeracy) curriculum can be found on the following link:

Formal learners will work towards their accreditation in Entry Level 1, Entry Level 2, or Entry Level 3 Functional Skills in Mathematics. Functional skills are taught through half termly themes and covered in a sequential manner. Students who attend our Pathways provision will work towards Level 1 or Level 2 Functional Skills in Mathematics.

More information about NCFE Functional Skills in Mathematics can be found on the following link:

In addition to these qualifications there is an increased focus on preparation for adulthood and the development of mathematical skills and knowledge that will best support students for the future.

6th Form

Students that transition into our 6th Form will develop their maths skills through real-life activities in the community. There are a number of enterprise projects where students can apply these skills, this includes running our community café (Please see the video within our careers section), selling Arts & Crafts at the local Dunelm or Pannier Market or even our very own charity shop.

Students continue to work towards their accreditation in Maths and build on previous qualifications. Semi-formal learners will complete their Equals (Moving On – Numeracy) accreditation in three other areas ‘Maths in the Community’, ‘Maths for Life’ and ‘Maths for the Future’ over the three-year cycle.

Formal Learners will continue to work towards Functional Skills in Mathematics accreditation at an appropriate level.

You can view a copy of our Long-Term Plan for Maths throughout the school on the following link:

Pathfield Maths Long-Term Plan


Student’s individual progress in Maths is measured within the Cognition & Learning sections of their EHCP. In addition to this, teachers will assess the progress students make in Maths twice a year using the Pathfield Maths Framework. The Maths Lead monitors the impact of the Maths curriculum on student progress by referring to the data on Evidence for Learning (EfL), learning walks, Personal Learning Goals, and student work. This ensures all students are following a broad, balanced, and relevant Maths curriculum whilst enjoying Maths and making good progress. Evidence of student achievement is captured in the form of work folder, photographs and videos held on EfL and the qualifications they gain. Our students will have had opportunities to apply these skills in ‘real-life’ situations and applications ensuring they have the best possible outcomes.