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At Cheddington Combined School, we feel strongly that mathematics is a subject that people should not be afraid of. It is a core subject that lies at the heart of so much of everyday life and it is our intent to make it accessible for all so that each child can thrive in the 21st century. We feel strongly that children should feel unafraid to take on a mathematical challenge and be comfortable in reviewing working strategies so that a successful outcome is achieved, and it is this that underpins all mathematical teaching at this school.

To assist us in these outcomes, the children are taught using a nationally recognised guidelines set out from White Rose Maths and key features of these are:

  •          High expectations for each child
  •          Learning follows ‘Concrete – Pictorial – Abstract’ procedures
  •          Strong concept of number and place value are priorities and underpin the majority of other mathematical learning
  •          Fluency precedes reasoning and problem solving and these principles are practised by everyone for at least ten minutes each day
  •          Ability to apply mathematical problem solving to everyday life
  •          Confidence with calculation – understanding why formal written methods work
  •          Discussion of methodology using key vocabulary to enhance reasoning skills.

In the Early Years and Foundation Stage (EYFS), the children are introduced to mathematics via a creative, play and discussion-based curriculum. The children work through The Five Counting Principles as set out by Gelman and Gallistel (1978; see below) to ensure a deep understanding of number with which to proceed into Key Stage 1. The children work with shapes, becoming more familiar with key terminology to understand positional cues and to create repeated patterns. The concept of measures is introduced by discussing aspects of ‘My Day’ and relating this to the concept of time as well as looking at how to measure things using length, weight and capacity.


In Key Stage 1 (Years 1 & 2), the children build upon their learning in EYFS expanding their knowledge of number up to 100. Times tables are introduced alongside four operation work whereby the concepts of ‘add’, ‘subtract’, ‘groups of’ and ‘sharing’ are reinforced using manipulatives before progressing on to more abstract questioning. Statistics are used to group collected data and different methods of representation (pictogram and block diagrams) are also introduced. Geometric knowledge is built upon using 2D knowledge and how this translates to 3D shapes as well as reflecting images along a line of symmetry.

Through Key Stage 2 (Years 3, 4, 5 & 6), the children develop their place value knowledge to include larger numbers as well as decimal numbers. The rationale for formal written methods is reinforced for ease and speed of calculation, and this is referred back to on a regular basis to ensure learning of basic principles are embedded. Approximation and estimation is also introduced as a tool for checking accuracy of calculation. Statistical knowledge is enhanced by introducing a wider range of data representation/analysis and the reasoning behind the most appropriate methods. Geometric knowledge progresses from 2D and 3D representations to using mathematical implements (for example compasses and protractors) to construct shapes based on known facts.

Across all years, mathematics is taught to a high standard, referencing real life problems enabling accessibility for all. We firmly believe that children should be unafraid to take on new challenges

Five Key Principles (Gelman and Gallistel, 1978)

  1.       The one-one principle: The assignment of one (and only one) counting word to each item counted.
  2.       The stable-order principle: Knowing that the list of words used to count are in a stable and repeatable order.
  3.       The cardinal principle: On the condition that the previous two principles have been followed, the number name allocated to the final object in a collection represents the number of items in that collection.
  4.       The abstraction principle: The preceding principles can be applied to any collection of objects, whether tangible or not.
  5.       The order-irrelevance principle: Knowledge that the order in which objects are counted is irrelevant.