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What do I do about Maths in September? (Part 2)

Posted on July 8, 2020

Implement a Catch Up Programme?  Design a new Recovery Curriculum? 

#KeepCALM and read on!

Part 1 of this blog ended with ... 'the answer to the question ‘So how can schools address it?’ is clearly #KeepCALM by using a blend of Options 3 and 4.

So how can schools address the missed learning? To model the CanDoMaths #KeepCALM approach this blog will model the process focused on one year group ... What do I do abour Maths in September? Part 3 of this blog will look at all other year groups.

Please note: We do propose that to #Keep CALM, a blend of Options 3 and 4 is the way forward but this will only work if your current curriculum is well designed across a year and key stage. This could be the perfect time to review the current maths curriculum, especially if you are following a scheme/textbook and are frustrated with, for example, the design/length of some units, the size of some ‘small steps’ and/or staff workload. (Schools frustarted wih their current schemes have made a seamless transition to the CanDoMaths curriculum. Resources from other publishers, etc can still be used.)

From Blog Part 1, distilling the missed learning down to the Key Performance Indicators is clearly a pragmatic and manageable way forward for teachers and pupils.  Focusing on securing understanding of the 8 identified KPIs from Terms 5 and 6 makes addressing the missed learning feel achievable. So let’s have a closer look at this for children moving from Year 4 to Year 5 in September and the implications for a Year 5 teacher.

The KPIs in term 5 and 6 of Year 4 are:

Let’s take the KPIs one at a time and see what needs to be done to address the missed learning from Terms 5 and 6 in 2020/21.


Good news ... this is already a key part of the Year 5 MOT Meetings.

So it makes sense to leave this in the CanDoMaths curriculum plus it will also be something that gets 'dripped in' throughout the year.

So what's next .... 


This is obviously from a Meaurement (Time) unit. In Year 5, the Time unit is in Term 6, so it makes sense to address it then rather than trying to do everything in September. 

The blue sessions are time for responding to the curriculum, so that’s ideal - let’s add in some of the manageable steps from Year 4 to secure 24 hour time within this unit.

While we are looking at Term 6, let’s also think about KPI 3  

Again, there is a bit of time to add missed learning from Year 4 to secure the fundamental concept of 'what is area?'. It is perfect that the first step in Year 5 unit is about linking area to arrays – a really practical, important and manageable step for children.

So what about KPI 4 ...

Describing and plotting coordinates in the first quadrant is a ‘big idea’ in Year 4 which children have missed. Coordinates are not explicitly mentioned in Year 5 but we move into 4 quadrants in Year 6. The Year 5 unit involving translation is the perfect place to add this learning. That’s in Term 3 and again there is room to add manageable steps from Year 4.

This is all feeling more achievable now and we really can #KeepCALM in September.

But maybe we dealt with the easy ones first! Let’s carry on and look at the other 4 KPIs:


Deepening children's understadning of fractions is a large part of the Year 5 curriculum so this missed learning seems crucial. However on closer inspection we realise that this Year 4 fraction learning is not new conceptually. Children have started to learn about equivalent fractions in the Year 2 and Year 3 curriculum and the concept is explored further in Term 4 of Year 5.

Revisiting Year 2 and 3 equivalence in the Maths on Track sessions in Term 3 feels like an ideal way to get ready for the Year 5 unit in Term 4. The Year 5 learning includes visual representations, which makes the step very manageable for children. Practising this can then go into future Maths on Track Deliberate Practice sessions as it would have done anyway.

Let's keep the fraction converstaion going with KPI 6

Adding and subtracting fractions with the same denominators is a Big Idea in Year 3. In Year 4, it progresses to think about what happens when we go beyond the whole. The Year 5 unit in Term 5 starts with looking at improper fractions, so in Term 4 we can use some Maths on Track Maths Meeting time to regularly count forward and back in steps of different fractions, (something we should have been doing since Year 2) ready to make the link with addition and subtraction beyond the whole.

This continues to feel achievable and, as a Year 5 teacher, I'm #KeepingCALM about September. And so, we come to the two KPIs focused on decimals. Children have missed the important Year 4 Decimal unit so we do need to think carefully about the next two KPIs:


In Year 5 Term 2 there is a unit involving adding and subtracting numbers with up to 3 decimal places. So, we need to use this time to initially teach addition and subtraction with numbers up to 2 decimal places and make connections with numbers with up to 3 decimal places.  This will involve adding some manageable steps and modifying the use of Maths on Track time to actually teach new learning. Refocussing Monday and Tuesday’s Maths on Track time as well as using the Wednesday and Thursday time already allocated for practising new learning gives us 8 extra sessions to focus on adding and subtracting decimals – that feels like a sensible way forward!

So what about the Decimal KPI 8?

This KPI obviously requires an understanding of numbers to 2 decimal places, so in the Decimal unit in Term 1 we are going to need to make some changes to secure understanding of this missed learning. Some of the Maths on Track sessions are already about decimals, so this time can now be modified to actually teach new learning using the manageable steps from Year 4. Using MOT Maths Meetings gives us 12 extra sessions to focus on understanding decimals. 

There was a KPI missed in Term 4 so we alos have to consider: 


The Year 5 unit of Angles in term 5 includes separate manageable steps for measuring and drawing acute and obtuse angles. In Year 3 children learned about angles less than and greater than a right angle, but in Year 4 the mathematical terms acute and obtuse were missed. These can be addressed by careful emphasis during this unit and insisting on the correct mathematical terminology when estimating an angle before children draw or measure it (but that's nothing new ... and essential when making sure children use those protractors correctly!)


In summary we can see how a Year 5 teacher can address the missed learning for Year 4 chldren by:

Changing your teaching of existing manageable steps

Adding manageable steps into existing units

Leave the content as it is already in MOT Maths Meetings 

Modify the use of Maths on Track time

 ... and 'dripping' some learning in throughout the 2020/21.

In September, the Year 5 teacher needs to focus on: 

The CanDoMaths team has also done this process for other year groups: 

In Blog 3 we will the share the #KeepCALM details and resources to support teachers and leaders with 'what to do when' during the whole of 2020/21 journey to address the other missed learning for all year groups.

You can also watch the CanDoMaths LeadMeet presentation led by Steve Lomax and Liz Hopkins discussing this issue here