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St James's Catholic Primary School

St James's Catholic Primary School

‘Put out into the deep’


“ I don’t like maths, I love it”

Year 4 pupil from St. James’s Catholic Primary School.

Our approach to maths

Mathematics helps children to make sense of the world around them through developing their ability to calculate, to reason and to solve problems. It enables children to understand and appreciate relationships and pattern in both number and space in their everyday lives. The mathematics teaching at St James’s School is geared towards enabling each pupil to develop within their capabilities; not only the mathematics skills and understanding required for later life, but also an enthusiasm and fascination about Maths itself.


At St. James’s, Maths follows the mastery approach from the National Curriculum and is taught using ‘Singapore style’ Maths. The school uses the White Rose Scheme of Learning but adapts the lessons to suit the needs of the children, drawing on other high quality resources the teaching of Maths.


Maths at St. James’s is taught through the use of the concrete-pictorial-abstract (C-P-A) approach, from Bruner’s enactive-iconic-symbolic modes of representations, giving our students a deep understanding of mathematical concepts.

Every lesson provides opportunities for children to reason and solve problems. Children solve the problems using the C-P-A approach and after exploring their own methods they are guided towards the most efficient approach.

Children spend time in lessons working independently or with partners to support articulation of their ideas before showing deep understanding with independent work.   


Core Curriculum Elements

Our Maths curriculum follows the National Curriculum objectives for each year group.

Using the Singapore approach to teaching Maths encourages children to explore their thinking using manipulatives and pictorial representations before moving onto the abstract. For quick learners, this gives them opportunity to examine concepts in different ways and make judgements as to the efficiency of different methods as well as articulating their learning with high expectations of the use of mathematical reasoning. For those who may struggle with Maths, their understanding is supported through the use of manipulatives and targeted support. 



Every lesson includes elements of reasoning and problem solving. Usually the questions can be investigated and answered using multiple strategies with the teacher converging ideas to teach the most efficient method.  The concrete-pictorial-abstract approach is used throughout to support the deep understanding of concepts.

Children are encouraged to discuss their reasoning using key mathematical vocabulary. Teachers question the children, giving them the opportunity to explore and articulate their understanding before moving onto teaching a preferred method.

How is Maths assessed?

Concept Cards

Each child has a ‘Concept Card’ in the front of their Maths Book. The concepts covered relate exactly to the National Curriculum Objectives for each year group. When a Concept is not achieved, the teacher will highlight the concept. When concepts not achieved, review tasks and teacher support are put in place to address any misconceptions.




In Year 1 to Year 6, children complete Maths assessments, which provide standardised scores. Each term, teachers use the evidence from Maths lessons, standardised scores from assessments and teacher observations of pupils to formulate a Teacher Judgement based on the year group expectations.


Progression of Skills and Knowledge

Our Progression of Skills and Knowledge documents inform our planning. The National Curriculum objectives are listed in each term and broken down into progressive steps. The objectives are mapped out for progression across the year. In Maths lessons, these objectives are broken down into microscopic steps, reflecting our mastery approach. We ensure that all of our children are secure on a step before moving onto another step.

Maths Journaling

Children from Year 2 to Year 6 keep a Maths journal. Within the journal they can reflect on their learning, be creative in the strategies they use to respond to problems and develop their mathematical reasoning.






Further Opportunities in Maths  

At St. James’s we want to develop the children’s enthusiasm and passion for Maths. Every child has a Times tables Rockstar login. They practice their times tables through competing against peers and challenging teachers to become “Rock Legends”.

Furthermore, all year groups will be taking part in ‘Maths Week England’ from the 14th to the 18th November. Year 5 and Year 6 will be entering the Primary Maths Challenge. This is created by the Mathematical Association and is a fun and exciting challenge for all our Year 5 and 6 children to engage in. Teams from Year 2, 5 and 6 have competed against local schools in ‘Maths Wizard’ competitions in which they have had to work together to solve fun problems.


Calculations At St. James’s

With the constant changes to the curriculum, it has meant that many parents have found it difficult to keep up with the strategies used for calculation in their children’s year groups.

At St. James’s, we have developed a calculations overview, which you can find in our Maths policy on the website. To further assist parents with their understanding of calculation strategies, we have put together some short video clips (thanks to our volunteers!) to support the understanding of the formal methods used for the four operations - addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. They are available to watch and will be added to over the course of the year. The children working with a teacher show us how to proceed through the strategies for the four operations using the appropriate mathematical language. We hope you find them useful in supporting your children’s Maths learning.  

Year 2 Addition

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Year 2 Addition with an exchange

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Year 2 Subtraction

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Year 2 Subtraction with an exchange

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Year 2 Multiplication

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Year 4 Addition

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Year 4 Subtraction

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Year 4 Division

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Year 4 Division with an exchange

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