At Queensgate, we want our children to become mathematicians, not just arithmeticians, where children can see and enjoy the challenge of maths, make connections and can go beyond purely procedural maths. We are committed to ensuring that our children are able to recognise the importance of maths in the wider world and that they are also able to use their mathematical skills and knowledge confidently in a range of different contexts. Our goal is that children become confident and resilient learners in maths and that they demonstrate positivity, curiosity and engagement.
Our children are introduced to the processes of calculation by building a sequence following a C-P-A approach. The C-P-A approach stands for Concrete - Pictorial – Abstract. This means that throughout the school, we see children using concrete equipment and pictures to support their understanding of more abstract concepts.
Over time children learn how to use models and images, such as Dienes, place value counters, bar models and tens frames, to support their mental and informal written methods of calculation. As children’s mental methods are strengthened and refined, so too are their informal written methods. These methods become more efficient and succinct and lead to efficient written methods that can be used more generally. By the end of Year 6 children are equipped with mental and written methods that they understand and can use correctly.
When faced with a calculation, children are able to decide which method is most appropriate and have strategies to check its accuracy. They will do this by asking themselves:
- Can I do this in my head?
- Can I do this in my head using drawing or jottings?
- Do I need to use a pencil and paper procedure?
At whatever stage in their learning, and whatever method is being used, it must still be underpinned by a secure and appropriate knowledge of number facts, along with those mental skills that are needed to carry out the process and judge if it was successful.
The overall aim is that when children leave primary school they:
- Have a secure knowledge of number facts and a good understanding of the four operations;
- are able to use this knowledge and understanding to carry out calculations mentally and to apply general strategies when using one-digit and two-digit numbers and particular strategies to special cases involving bigger numbers;
- make use of diagrams and informal notes to help record steps and part answers when using mental methods that generate more information than can be kept in their heads;
- have an efficient and reliable written method of calculation for each operation that children can apply with confidence when undertaking calculations that they cannot carry out mentally; which leads to a formal written method.
Please click on our Calculations Policy below to see the progression of maths skills that we follow from EYFS to the end of Year 6.