Maths at St James

Maths Vision

At St James Primary we strive to build bright futures, enabling all children and adults to reach their full potential.  By using concrete manipulatives, pictorial diagrams and abstract representations, children become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, learn to reason mathematically and to solve problems.  We believe that being able to talk about the mathematics the children are experiencing is vital for them to be able to reason and solve problems, so we use rich questioning and discussion, active and involving teaching approaches and actively encourage reflection on learning.


Our Maths teaching is underpinned by the belief that all children need a deep understanding of the mathematics they are learning. We believe mastery will be achieved when more time is spent on key concepts that are then revisited and reviewed. This allows for the development of depth and sufficient practice to embed learning. We ensure all pupils have access to the concepts and the rich connections between them. Mastery is, therefore, the aim for all children, hence we have an ambitious Maths curriculum for all.  

Long Term Overview

EYFS follow the maths overview created by the Early Years Leader to ensure skills progression and curriculum coverage, including exceeding in the summer term. 

Key stage 1 and 2 cover the National Curriculum by following the progression of units taken from the White Rose Yearly Overviews.  This sets out each curriculum area into small steps so we can ensure skills progression and curriculum coverage.  These are used to inform and support planning and are adapted in response to the needs of the children.   

Calculation Policy

A sound understanding of place value and the number system is essential for children to carry out calculations efficiently and accurately.  The purpose of this document is to outline the stages of progress for written calculation methods in the four operations. Each operation uses the concrete, pictorial and abstract (CPA) sequence to support the children in gaining a secure understanding of each concept.

Mental methods policy

Throughout a child’s journey through primary school, there are a number of strategies they will employ to be able to calculate mentally.  These strategies form the core understanding of mental calculation and it is the purpose of this policy to outline the progression in the questions they will be expected to apply these strategies to; the possible approaches that could be used; potential jottings to aid calculation; and the narrated model teachers will adopt to support understanding. 

Progression Documents

This guide shows how the National Curriculum progresses through topics and how the topics are developed over time.  Teachers can see what they need to cover in their year group, what students will have covered in previous years and where the learning continues next year.  As the curriculum is cumulative, these topics are revisited often within and across year groups. 

In addition to these documents, we have developed a series of learning journeys which break down the small steps for each unit of work into the skills which need to be taught.  This helps with pitch and expectations of work in maths lessons, as well as being an invaluable tool for assessment for learning and assessment of learning.  

Quick Maths 

Quick maths gives students repeated practice of basic skills and concepts (fluency, consolidation, mastery of what has been taught) It is a whole-class session which builds in length and expectation from Nursery to year 6.  The session is practical, fast-paced and covers a wide range of concepts in a short period of time.  The concepts covered include place value, 4 operations, doubling and halving, shape, time, money, number bonds and fractions.  The pitch and expectation of these sessions has been mapped out in a progression document that teachers use to plan their quick maths sessions. 

Key Instant Recall Facts

KIRFs (Key Instant Recall Facts) are designed to support the development of the mental skills that underpin much of the maths work in school.  Instant recall facts help enormously with mental agility within maths lessons. When children move onto written calculations, knowing these facts can be very beneficial.  Each year group is allocated six facts to focus on throughout the year, in line with age-related expectations.  These are practiced in quick maths sessions and sent home to parents to support at home.  Each half term, children will be assessed on their year group’s KIRF. Teachers track when pupils achieve their KIRF and pupils who do not achieve will continue to work on it in an intervention group.

World Book Day

Times Tables

At St James we recognise that learning times tables is crucial.  

  • Learning one table makes it easier to learn others:

By starting with basic tables and building up, children can learn number rules which will make learning other tables easier. For example, once you know your 2 times table, you can learn your 4 times table simply by doubling the answers!

  • Tables help with mental arithmetic:

Memorising tables makes it far quicker and easier for children to work out maths problems in their heads. It can also help to develop the ability to internally add, subtract and divide!

  • Tables can help you understand other mathematical concepts:

Knowing their times tables can also help your child more readily grasp other important aspects of maths, such as fractions, division and percentages.

  • Knowing your times tables increases confidence!

Perhaps most importantly, memorising their tables will give your child confidence in their own skills – there’s nothing more ‘grown up’ than not having to use your fingers to work out an answer! This confidence will help them in SATs or other assessments, and ultimately, ease their move into secondary education.


We have some top tips for helping your child learn their times tables:

  • Little and often
  • Make it fun
  • Healthy competition
  • Learn the question and the answer (3 x 6 = 18), not just counting sequence (3, 6, 9, 12, 15)
  • Learn the relationships in one times table at a time

E.g. For the 3 times table, “If I say 4, you say…”  “12”

  • Mix between multiplication and division

E.g. For the 5 times table, “If I say 25, you say…” “5”