At Glenfrome we aim for all our children to see mathematics as a vital part of everyday life. We want children to develop a confident and enthusiastic attitude towards mathematics that will stay with them through their education.

Our mathematics lessons are based on the National Curriculum programmes of study (2014) and these changes require children to have a grasp of number from a younger age. Reception children are taught using the Statuary Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. The underpinning values of the new mathematics curriculum are to develop fluency, reason mathematically and solve problems.
Children are given opportunities for:
• Practical activities
• Mathematical games
• Problem solving
• Group discussions
• Open and closed tasks
• A range of calculation methods
• Using calculators and computers

How we teach calculations to your child

In Key Stage 1 the children are introduced to informal methods of calculating using pictures and number lines to explain and record their work. As the children progress through the school, they are introduced to more formal methods of calculating with expanded written methods to explain and record their work. By the time our children leave Year 6 we expect them to be calculating using compact written methods. Children are given opportunities to use a range of equipment to support and enhance their learning.

Mental methods first

Children are always encouraged to consider if a mental calculation would be appropriate before using written methods. Mental methods are the foundation of mathematics with counting, adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing being taught on a daily basis throughout the school. Children celebrate their own methods whilst listening to others and identifying the most efficient. Our mental mathematics policy identifies the expectations of each individual year group with reference to the changes in the new curriculum. We are constantly building on and trying new ways for children to access mental mathematics in real life experiences to embed these life skills into all cross curricular opportunities. Place value is embedded from an early age with children using equipment to physically manipulate number and see the effects through visualisation.

In foundation stage and year1 children are taught using Numicon.numicon

Numicon is an especially useful resource as it can be used for teaching all four operations as well as fractions, decimals, percentages and a range of other aspects of mathematics. Each piece represents an integer from 1 to 10. The children love using it as it is colourful and tactile. Children in these year groups are quickly able to pick up their number bonds to ten using Numicon.

In year 2 and 3 children are taught using Dienes.Dienes

Dienes, although it has been used in schools for years is a crucial step in understanding place value. They help us to know what a ‘one’ (unit), a ten, a hundred and a thousand look like and how they can be added together and split up to form smaller and larger numbers. They also allow children to exchange when using the four operations.

place valueIn years 4, 5 and 6 children are taught using Place value counters.

These are used in a similar way to Dienes, although only used when children have a firm understanding of the relationship between hundreds, tens and units. They also go further to look at tenths and hundredths as well as their equivalent fractions as part of a whole unit. These are used to support children carry out all 4 operations.

Why children need to do written calculations

• To represent work that has been done practically.
• To support, record and explain mental calculation.
• To keep track of steps in a longer task.
• To work out calculations that are too difficult to do mentally.

Written methods are taught at Glenfrome with clear progression beginning with practical equipment and mental methods, progressing to written algorithms of both expanded and compact methods. Children then move on using and applying these skills in problem solving. Children are taught when it is appropriate, to do an approximate or estimate first of an answer and use the inverse operation at the end to check calculations. By upper Key Stage 2 (years 5 and 6), children should be confident in choosing and using a strategy that they know will get them to the correct answer as efficiently as possible.

Please click here to see our calculation policy. This document explains the mental and written methods that your child will be taught as well as teaching points and images and models that help to support understanding and fluency. 

Multiplication tables

Learning multiplication tables is very important for your child to learn. Learning the tables and being confident using them is an important skill to have a as a mathematician. The national curriculum states that the following times tables must be learned by the end of each school year:

Year 2 - x2    x 3  x5    x10 

Year 3 -   x4    x8  x 6

Year 4 -   x7    x9     x12

Year 5 and 6 - Children should be able to recall their timestables confidently.

Mathematical reasoning

At Glenfrome we are focussing heavily on improving children's ability to use mathematical reasoning. Reasoning skills allow children to approach problems logically, explain answers clearly and consider a range of methods before settling on an answer. Children at Glenfrome are encouraged to expain their answers clearly, think about different methods they can use and search for more one than answer.

Problem solving

A problem solving approach is taught at Glenfrome giving children the opportunity to celebrate the process of finding possible solutions without just finding a solution. Here at Glenfrome, children have time to test out ideas, to make conjectures, to go up 'dead ends' and adjust their thinking in the light of what they have learnt, discuss ideas with others and be comfortable to take risks. When our children are confident to behave in these ways they are then able to step into problems independently. Our teachers support and develop the skills children need to tackle problems by creating a classroom culture where questioning and deep thinking are valued, mistakes are seen as useful, all children contribute and their suggestions are valued, being stuck is seen as honourable and students learn from shared discussion with the teacher, Teaching Assistant (if present) and peers.


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Tel 0117 377 2247

Glenfrome Primary School, Cottisford Road, Eastville
Bristol, BS5 6TY

To read our school policies, please click here.

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