In line with our 'Mastery' approach to the teaching of mathematics, we largely follow the NCETM Calculation  Policy.  Please see the NCETM Calculation Policy Guidance document, which outlines the calculation methods taught in each year group.  The emphasis at each stage is teaching to develop a deep and sustainable understanding of maths in pupils through using a CPA (concrete, pictorial, abstract) approach (Jerome Bruner).  This ensures a conceptual mathematical understanding so they can make connections to support their problem solving.   How each concept and calculation is taught is shown at each stage in more detail in the NCETM Calculation policy. 


This Balfour Calculation Policy is organised according to the age related expectations for each Year Group 2014 ( National Curriculum Mathematics programmes of study 2014) and is catagorised by each calculation method:  addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, so that you can see where your child is currently working, how they have been supported at each stage (CPA) and where and how they will move onto next.


At Balfour Primary School, teachers use a very wide range of teaching strategies to stimulate all pupils’ active participation in their learning together with innovative and imaginative resources, including practical activities and, where appropriate, the outdoor environment. The National Curriculum for Primary Mathematics 2014, has three aims:


1. Conceptual understanding

Pupils become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly

complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.


Alongside fluency being the quick and efficient recall of facts and procedures, it also describes the flexibility to move between different contexts and representations of mathematics.   Consistent CPA resources are used and shown throughout this policy, to support mathematical explanations and encourage exploration, so that children can see the bigger picture, deeper understand the mathematics and make powerful mental connections between concepts.


2. Mathematical reasoning

Pupils reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language.  


Focused mathematics talk remains central to our mathematics lessons.  The children will have opportunities to work with different pairs, groups and adults within the classroom to support and extend their mathematical thinking.  This involves predicting, reasoning, justifying and explain the how and the why of maths.  This calculation policy uses the mathematical vocabulary that our children become familiar with during their maths lessons.  Some of this language may be new to you so please follow this link which explains it all!  Interactive Maths dictionary


3. Problem solving

Pupils can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.


This is at the heart of our teaching at Balfour Primary School. All pupils need to learn how to solve problems from the earliest age – the EYFS early learning goals also include problem solving.  All Maths lessons start with or include problem solving activities, developing and securing new mathematical concepts, whilst developing reasoning and problem-solving skills.


There are many interesting reads about Mastery in Maths.  You may find these links useful as they explain more about what it means and support our approach at Balfour Primary School:

Maths Mastery:

Key mathematical vocabulary:

More about the CPA approach:

Number bonds:

Bar modelling:

More depth about calculation guidance:

Teaching maths in a mixed ability setting:

How we teach maths

Recently we ran workshops to help parents understand the way we teach Maths.  Below are the presentations used in those sessions for you to download and use at home.


Mathletics is a fantastic resource and a great way to support your child at home and one which is also used for home learning.  Each child (from Year 2 - 6) has their own log-in.  Please follow this link to find out more: