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Key Elements (Primary): Curriculum and Lesson Planning

Created on 18 November 2009 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 07 August 2014 by ncetm_administrator


Features of effective practice

An effective structure for curriculum planning shows how mathematics is planned for at the long-, medium- and short-term level:

Has a Long Term Plan (Planning for progression) which:

  • clearly states an expected pathway of progression across the Key Stage
  • breaks down the Key Stage progression into a yearly plan
  • reflects the school’s vision and national priorities

Has a Medium Term Plan (Structuring the planning of units) which:

  • links clearly to the long term-plan
  • makes clear what is to be taught and when
  • is based on prior attainment, not what year group the pupils are in
  • contains differentiated teaching objectives addressing process as well as content
  • gives clear links to rich and interesting activities and resources
  • indicates teaching approaches which will engage and interest the pupils
  • contains a schedule for various assessment items in line with school policy
  • reflects the school’s vision and national priorities.

Has a Short Term (Lesson planning) which:

  • links clearly to the medium term-plan
  • makes clear what is to be taught
  • encourages the teacher to plan a sequence of lessons rather than ‘standalones’
  • gives guidance for a range of teaching approaches to be used within the sequence of lessons
  • indicates key vocabulary that might be barriers to learning
  • gives guidance to support teachers plan in more detail the approaches and resources which will engage and interest the students
  • gives guidance for assessment activities and strategies e.g. probing questions, self and peer assessment opportunities
  • gives examples of ways in which learning can be taken beyond the classroom, e.g. consolidation, extension, application, historical links
  • offers prompts for reflecting on and evaluating the lesson in order to inform/review the planned next steps for this unit
  • reflects the school’s vision.

Case Study 1: School A – A Flexible Approach to Planning

As a first step towards getting staff to think more creatively about their maths teaching I introduced a template for planning linked to curricular targets. Staff were tending to stick very closely to the Primary Framework unit structure and I was keen to develop more of a coherent link with the class theme when possible.

I took the class theme of ‘The Jungle’ to complete the following template. Teachers then worked in pairs to create possible activities for their own classes and were then challenged to try at least three different ‘bubbles’ when teaching their curricular targets. Completed templates were shared and most teachers found they could adapt ideas from other people’s planning to use in their own. Over time I hope that the template becomes redundant as these ideas become a normal part of mathematics planning at my school.

Planning template

Case Study 2:  School B – Supporting Long, Medium and Short Term Planning

[NB this Case Study was produced during the time of the Primary National Strategy, which has now been discontinued. However, the resource has the potential to complement teaching in line with the new mathematics curriculum]

At my school, the following resources are provided to support teachers with planning for the long, medium and short term:

Long Term Plan
All teachers are issued with the Primary National Strategies Overview of Learning linked to age related expectations. For example:

Year 2 Progression in mathematics

The learner
At the start of Year 2, children have already acquired a basic knowledge and understanding of shapes, numbers and the number system. They are beginning to solve problems and are becoming more independent and competent early mathematicians. This, together with the enthusiasm and motivation developed in Year 1, provides a good basis for developing and widening their mathematical knowledge and skills. During Year 2, they develop more sophisticated counting skills, begin to describe and explain patterns and relationships involving numbers and shapes, and use informal methods of recording. They extend their knowledge and use of number facts and develop their understanding of all four arithmetic operations. Home–school links continue to play a vital role in helping children to secure their mathematics.

Children continue to receive systematic mathematics teaching every day. Paired and group work are opportunities for children to talk to each other about their mathematical ideas and methods. Problem solving and measuring offer a chance to draw on children’s experiences outside the classroom. They also help to forge links between mathematics and other subjects.

Speaking and listening continues to play an important role in mathematical learning as children extend their use of the vocabulary and language of mathematics. Much of their learning continues to be oral, visual and practical. Recording, including the use of images and simple diagrams, starts to take on a more significant role in helping children to practise, describe and report, and to identify patterns in calculations and shapes. The activities that children engage in should support them in developing many of the key aspects of learning identified in Excellence and Enjoyment: learning and teaching in the primary years.

Using and applying mathematics
Children solve problems from real-life and mathematical contexts. They begin to record and carry out the calculations involved, checking that an answer makes sense in the context of the problem. Children use practical resources or ICT to solve shape problems, for example to find how to make known shapes by combining other shapes. They use the ITP ‘Fixpoints’ to create shapes by moving the corners of a shape drawn on a grid, describing the shapes by referring to their properties.

Children solve logic problems using lists or tables and practical resources; for example, they find four odd numbers that sum to 18, or decide on the fewest moves needed to create five equal groups of objects from unequal groups of a total of 30 objects. They decide if an object satisfies a set of conditions. They understand how ‘not’ is used to complement a condition such as ‘is a triangle’ in the condition ‘is not a triangle’.

The mathematics curriculum is planned using the Block and Unit Structure of the Primary Framework for mathematics.


  Block A

Counting, partitioning and calculating
Block B

Securing number facts & understanding shape
Block C

Handling data and measures
Block D

Calculating, measuring and understanding shape
Block E

Securing number facts, relationships and calculating
1 & 2
Block A
Unit 1
Block B
Unit 1
Block C
Unit 1
Block D
Unit 1
Block E
Unit 1
3 & 4
Block A
Unit 2
Block B
Unit 2
Block C
Unit 2
Block D
Unit 2
Block E
Unit 2
Term 5 & 6 Block A
Unit 3
Block B
Unit 3
Block C
Unit 3
Block D
Unit 3
Block E
Unit 3

progression through the year 

Medium Term Plan
All staff have access to the medium term plans produced by the Gloucestershire Mathematics Advisory Team. Here is an example:

Medium term plan
Medium term plan

Short Term Plan
A staff meeting was used to produce the following template to support short term planning. All staff are expected to use this template at our school:


Short term plan


What does Ofsted say?

(Excerpts from the Ofsted report Mathematics: understanding the score).

This report offers a range of external perspectives, examples of good practice and indications of national trends and standards which can be very helpful to a subject leader.

Here we have included elements which are relevant to this section on curriculum and lesson planning.

42. In both phases, planning for and tracking pupils’ progress in the key processes of ‘using and applying mathematics’ remain weak and, consequently, are the most underdeveloped elements in pupils’ learning. This is discussed further in Part B.

Reflection and Next steps

  • reflect on the features of effective practice and think about what key areas within Curriculum and Lesson Planning you want to develop now
  • look through the case studies and the excerpts from the Ofsted report Mathematics: understanding the score and decide whether there are any tasks or actions you might want to take that are prompted by these
  • use the NCETM Personal Learning Space to record any personal reflections, actions or tasks
  • from policy to practice.

Use this pro-forma to support you in planning your next steps

Going further

Working and developing together as a team to the elements Professional Development and Assessment and Having efficient and well-organised systems to the elements AssessmentLearning Environment and Resources and Managing the Budget.

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06 August 2014 15:42
Thank you for your comment, we have now linked these to larger versions which appear when you click on the smaller image. Once you have finished looking at the image click on the back arrow button to get back to the text
06 August 2014 09:44
The images within the case studies are very hard to read....whether you copy or save the image you cannot enlarge them the see the text clearly.

It would be more helpful if the image was a doc. that could be downloaded..many thanks.
By pkgabb
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