Essential Maths

ESSENTIALmaths sequences are designed by Herts for Learning experts. They support the delivery of a spiral curriculum, in which learning is built upon step by step, sequence by sequence and year on year. The materials are aspirational and ensure progression and coverage throughout the primary phase in Years 1-6.

Learning sequences are designed to cover National Curriculum statements and key concepts, through small learning steps with a mastery approach. They aim to develop conceptual understanding and procedural fluency in parallel, including speaking frames, practice examples, games and problem solving opportunities for the children to build upon their prior learning. Teachers deliver careful modelling with concrete resources and pictorial representations to develop the children’s understanding of structures and connections in mathematics. Pupils actively participate through purposeful questioning, whole class discussions, talk partners, and by using their own resources to demonstrate their thinking. Regular recording opportunities encourage pupils to represent and internalise their learning, and the children are encouraged to use models, drawings, symbols and concrete resources including the following:


Bead Strings

Base 10 equipment






Interlocking cubes

Place value



Cuisenaire rods



Speaking frames are used to support pupil development of the language of mathematics. They enable the children to articulate their thinking using accurate technical vocabulary, and support core skills such as conjecturing and generalising to investigate and problem solve. ‘Destination Questions’ are also used throughout each learning sequences. These ensure that pupils have exposure to a variety of different question types and potential misconceptions at each stage of their learning. They allows teachers to check that pupils are secure in their understanding, before moving on to the next step and help to map each pupil’s learning journey against age-related expectations. Opportunities are built-in for children to think deeply and develop explicit reasoning and problem-solving skills, so that they can confidently apply their learning to new contexts.