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At Courthill, we encourage children to become confident and enthusiastic mathematicians. We understand the importance of not capping the children’s abilities and because of this, the children are inspired to be the best mathematicians they can be. It is our ethos, vision and our drive for ALL children to succeed at Courthill and as a result children enjoy mathematics and become life-long learners in the subject.


Chilli Challenge:

Growth Mindset is a core value at Courthill. We believe all children should be challenged in their learning. We foster an environment through which children take ownership of this and challenge themselves. The lesson structure in maths, namely the ‘Chilli Challenge’, has been developed to promote Growth Mindset and independence.

The ‘Chilli Challenge’ follows a simple structure. A teacher led input is followed by children self-assessing their understanding of the topic and therefore choosing which level of learning will provide them with practice and challenge. They are able to choose either mild, spicy or hot, see below.



Once children have securely completed their first task, they move onto the next level of challenge. If children have begun with the hot task, they will move onto the Extra Hot task. This is an activity based on the Greater Depth (GD) objectives.

The children at Courthill demonstrate a fantastic self-awareness of their understanding in a topic and as a result they typically choose the appropriate level of learning. However, if an adult feels the child has not chosen a suitable task they will support the child in developing an understanding of where they should start.

The ‘Chilli Challenge’ encourages children to take ownership of their own learning and develops their understanding that there is always more to learn and always more ways to challenge themselves.  As a result of this, children are intrinsically motivated to try their best and enjoy their mathematics learning even more.


Small step progression:

At Courthill, our planning is based on small steps.  Each year group develops a long term overview of the progression over the year before breaking this down into shorter term planning.  Through the longer term planning, mathematical concepts are carefully sequenced across the three year groups and will build on mathematical knowledge systematically over time.

Each lesson is designed to work through the topic in small steps (manageable pieces that ensure prior learning is built on methodically and steadily). It is of great importance to us at Courthill that the small steps build upon one another and this leads to a logical path for children to follow and therefore prevents gaps in knowledge. The small steps can vary in length of time spent on them as planning is always adapted to suit the needs of the children based on their prior knowledge.

When teaching a new skill for the first time we follow the ‘Gradual Release of Responsibility’ model.  This model follows the ‘I do, we do, you do and you do it alone’ ethos and it supports the transference of a skill into the children’s long term memory.


Concrete, Pictorial and Abstract (CPA):

All aspects of learning are incorporated into teaching Mathematics at Courthill, from practical exploration to pictorial and abstract strategies. Teachers understand that CPA is a cyclical process rather than linear. Concrete and pictorial methods are often revisited to support but also to extend the children’s learning. Through CPA children develop sustainable understanding of mathematical concepts that can then be applied to further concepts.



We understand the importance of revisiting previously learned knowledge, concepts and procedures. We do this by creating a fluency cycle.  Every year group has a cycle of topics previously taught that are revisited for the first 5-10 minutes of every lesson.   The fluency section in the maths lesson ensures that knowledge is transferred into the long-term memory and becomes deeply embedded. It is this ‘drip-feeding’ approach that ensures children have rapid and accurate recall of knowledge and procedures and therefore allows them to work with increasing independence. Furthermore, by increasing their recall of knowledge, the children can apply their mathematical knowledge to more complex concepts and procedures.


Problem solving and reasoning:

All children are also given the opportunity to problem solve and reason using their mathematical vocabulary. As a result of this adaptive teaching style, children are able to make useful connections between identified mathematical ideas and they are able to anticipate practical problems that may occur.


We ensure that the Maths curriculum is accessible to all pupils through differentiation for individual abilities with suitable challenges.  Key knowledge and skills have been identified in bold on the progression map with the expectation that all pupils will be supported to achieve these outcomes by the end of the year.  We strive to address the key objectives through differentiated questioning, demonstrating and scaffolding, as well as using different approaches to teaching and learning to overcome barriers.


Progression Map

If you would like to find more information about Maths, please see the National Curriculum: 

Maths National Curriculum

Here are some helpful websites to look at at home:

EYFS Numberblocks

EYFS BBC Bitesize Maths

KS1 BBC Bitesize Maths

Topmarks Maths Games

ICT Maths Games