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St James’s Catholic Primary School ‘Put out into the deep’


Our approach to maths

At St. James’s, maths follows the mastery approach from the National Curriculum and is taught using ‘Singapore style’ maths. Singapore has consistently ranked amongst the highest countries in the international PISA tests due to their world renowned methods in 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.

Fluency of facts such as multiplication tables, estimation and comparing amounts is in incorporated into each lesson.


We are proud that:

We are fluent with the four operations and are able to carry out written calculations effectively. We use manipulatives and pictorial representations to give us a deeper understanding of calculations, meaning we become more accurate with our mental strategies.


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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