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How do we teach maths?

At Swanage Primary School, we aim to offer pupils a rich and enjoyable experience in mathematics by providing the knowledge, skills, concepts and processes that are appropriate to each individual and that relate to the world around them.                  

Mathematics teaching in the Reception Year takes place daily in a fully integrated EYFS curriculum. In Reception we introduce numbers in small steps using practical equipment and 'Number Blocks' to ensure good grounding in basic number skills and to prepare children well for Key Stage One. 

In the rest of the school, there are normally 5 dedicated maths lessons per week. An additional shorter session is dedicated to “Big Maths Beat That” challenges and “Learn-Its” timed grids. Regular short time slots are incorporated into the morning routines to develop children’s recall of multiplication tables and mental maths skills. Mathematical skills are also applied in other areas of the curriculum where possible.


Our maths teaching is based on the National Curriculum and we are developing a 'mastery' curriculum using White Rose planning. Each year offers a balance of the elements of mathematics with an emphasis on the development of number and, in particular, calculation skills. To achieve this we have introduced a concept called CLIC.
This stands for: 

  • Counting
  • Learn Its
  • It's Nothing New
  • Calculations

The counting element involves regular practice in the classroom. This begins with counting on and back in ones during the Reception Year  to counting in 10s, 5s, 2s in Year One. Then in Year Two children begin to make links with counting in 20s,  50s, 100s. In Year 3 they begin to apply this knowledge to reading scales and fractions (counting in tenths - 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, etc and halves 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, etc). By Year 4 they will be able to count using a range of multiples and in a number of ways (e.g. 25s, 250s, 2.5s, 0.25s) and relate these to measuring and divisions. In Years 5 and 6 this relates to equivalent fractions, decimals and percentages.

Learn Its
'Learn Its' are key number facts that children need to learn so that they can do more complicated calculations with ease. Please see the page linked below.

It's Nothing New
It is essential that children do not learn number facts and calculations strategies in isolation. They need to know how to apply these to a range of situations and to develop skills of decision making and reasoning. 'It's Nothing New' is all about putting their learning into meaningful contexts. For example, being able to count in steps of 25 will enable a child to read the cookery scales when there are 4 divisions marked between each 100g.

We begin with teaching children how to calculate using part-part- whole models from Year 1. In EYFS and early KS1 children will explain their strategies and mathematical understanding orally, in jottings and with practical equipment. In early KS2 written work will include extended written calculations, enabling progress towards more efficient methods. By the end of Year 6 children will have learnt how to use more formal column methods of calculating. 


Bar Modelling

We begin our maths teaching with practical resources wherever possible. Concrete apparatus (such as objects, Numicon, number rods and base ten equipment) enables children to understand new concepts. We then move onto pictorial representations prior to abstract representations. Bars are used to represent numbers in worded problems (and in fractions and algebra later on). The bar model helps students visualize the relationships between the numbers given. 

We use practical apparatus, lots of talk and games to aid understanding of mathematical concepts.