Core skills of numeracy, reasoning and problem solving

Whether solving problems, investigating patterns or exploring mathematical possibilities, mathematics is a relevant, fun and exciting subject that every child can engage in. Mathematics equips children with a uniquely powerful set of tools to understand and change the world. These tools include logical reasoning, problem-solving skills, and the ability to think in abstract ways. As such, mathematics is a creative discipline. It can stimulate moments of happiness and wonder when a child solves a problem for the first time, discovers a more efficient solution to a problem or suddenly sees hidden connections.

How we cover the Maths curriculum year by year

The importance of maths

Throughout history, mathematics has shaped the way we view the world. The early study of astronomy demanded the expansion of our understanding of mathematics and made possible such realizations as the size and weight of the earth, our distance from the sun, the fact that we revolve around it, and other discoveries that allowed us to move forward in our body of knowledge without which we would not have any of our modern marvels of technology.

Mathematics remains as important today. Many life stages and skills require a solid grasp of mathematics, from entering university to balancing a household budget, applying for a home loan, or assessing a possible business opportunity. When children eventually leave education and seek out a career, they will inevitably need to call upon the mathematical skills and strategies they have learnt at school. They will soon realise that many careers require a solid understanding of maths. Doctors, lawyers, accountants and other professionals use maths on a daily basis, as do builders, plumbers, engineers and managers. Maths is a critical skill for many professions and opens a world of opportunity for children.


At Henleaze Junior School we aim to develop confidence and inspire children to explore a variety of mathematical skills and strategies.  This will empower them to achieve accuracy, fluency and mastery when approaching mathematical problems.  We provide opportunities for children to investigate, develop their curiosity of mathematical concepts and explain their reasoning.  This is delivered within a safe environment, where children feel confident to make mistakes, identify misconceptions and learn from them.


At Henleaze Junior School we endeavour to   

  • Develop confidence and fluency in mathematical methods and concepts 
  • Give children the skills to apply knowledge accurately and rapidly  
  • Apply mathematical knowledge and techniques to solve increasing complex problems 
  • Develop confidence with understanding and applying mathematical vocabulary 
  • Provide the skills to reason mathematically, make links between concepts and make inferences based on prior knowledge. 
  • Provide information in a variety of appropriate forms.   

Planning and delivery

At Henleaze Junior School, we have embraced the White Rose maths resources and scheme; this allows us to implement a varied, supportive and effective delivery of the National Curriculum where children develop fluency in mathematics, and acquire a secure, conceptual understanding and efficiency in procedural and formal written approaches through the key stages.

White Rose have published some helpful video guides for parents, presented by Michael Underwood. If you are not sure what your child is up to, and you fancy a quick Maths lesson, check these out!

In support, alongside the White Rose scheme, we supplement with additional resources. Our varied materials highlight the importance of making connections between concrete materials, models and images, mathematical language, symbolic representations and prior learning.  

There is a key focus on the teaching sequence to ensure that children have opportunities to practise the key skills whilst building the understanding and knowledge to apply these skills into more complex application activities. Each objective breaks down prior learning and builds on it also, whilst working towards critical mathematical thinking and understanding; alongside a series of reasoning questions which are pitched at an appropriate level of challenge for each year group.

Expectations and assessment in Maths

Assessment in mathematics and numeracy is continuous throughout each year group and term, helping us form accurate judgements about all learners' abilities. This covers smaller units of work to an assessment of key learning completed over a longer period. Our times table programme (Times Tables Rock Stars or TTRS) works as a homework tool and in-class tool supporting and encouraging a love of math through times tables, building confidence and enjoyment. 

Pupils’ progress is also assessed and documented through the Insight online assessment programme. When pupils achieve targets  their attainment is input onto Insight.  

The objectives in Y3, 4 and 5 are called non-negotiable targets, which describe what we hope the average child will achieve by the end of the year. A child is labelled meeting (M), if they have met these non-negotiables, exceeding (X), if they have exceeded the targets, below (B), if they are not meeting targets and M- if they are just below meeting the targets.  

Target sheets are used by pupils throughout the juniors and these provide the teacher, and the pupil, a clear description of which targets are being met and which still need to be tackled. 

In addition, to assessing pupils’ timetables, arithmetic and reasoning, they are routinely assessed on their understanding and expertise in separate assessments.

At the end of the year, we use the HJS Assessment Framework to judge whether each child is Meeting or Exceeding our expectations for their year group. The Assessment Framework does not include everything that we will have taught during the course of the year: we have identified the most important concepts that children need to master in order to be ready for the next year. If children can do these things, then it is very likley that they will be secure across the maths curriculum.

In Year 4, children are required to take a standard Multiplication Tables Check. According to the National Curriculum, children should be familiar with all of their times tables by the end of Year 4. This national test is being introduced for all school in the summer of 2022. For more information about the MTC, read this Parents' Guide.

At the end of Year 6, children are required to take the Maths SATS test. There are three papers: one for mental arithmetic and two for mathematical reasoning. These are sent away to be marked externally and the results are reported back to children and parents in the end of year report. ALthough we are not required to submit a teacher assessment to the DfE, our teachers will make a final assessment of whether children are meeting or exceeding our expectations, and this assessment is passed on to secondary schools, along with the SATS results.

Visit our Assessment and Reporting page for details of the HJS Assessment Framework.

Written calculation methods

One of the most common barriers that parents face when helping children with their mathematics is that the written methods taught in school today may not be familiar. Maths itself is as old as time, but there have been many changes over the years in the way that children have been taught to show their workings.

Our focus is very much on helping children to understand the mathematics, to visualise what is happening to the numbers they are working with and to comprehend how the manipulation of numbers helps them to solve real world problems. Whilst there can be a value in learning a method by rote, misunderstandings occur when children do not have a secure grasp of number concepts. Therefore, from an early stage, we use lots of visual diagrams and objects (known in the teaching business as manipulatives...). Even when children are really confident with mathematics, it still helps for them to explain what they are doing by using visual representations, and it is always good to check answers by using a different method.

In order to ensure that the progression is logical and helpful right from the start, we have written our Calculation Policy in partnership with Henleaze Infant School. When children start in the Junior School in Year 3, they build on the methods they have already learnt in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2.

Our Written Calculation Policy shows examples of the methods we teach. Parents may find it useful to refer to these when helping children at home.

Cross-curricular links

At Henleaze Junior School, we know that maths is not just a one-hour lesson that we teach each day. Maths impacts on every subject and on our everyday life. Maths helps us in a variety of ways, and we have used these skills to support our learning, which threads through other subjects in school. Our, Elli lifelong learning ethos, encourages and supports the ability to learn effectively, which is fundamentally important being able to thrive in a fast-paced, constantly changing, modern environment. This is embedded into our curriculum in many ways (e.g., planning and questioning) which allows learners to be respectful, cooperative, actively curious, creative, strategic and make links to mathematics in other areas of learning through each school day (graphs in science, geography map work, coordinates, Roman Numerals and Mayan base 20 in topic work, MFL learning numbers and seasons and much more). 

In addition, our delivery of Times Tables Rock Stars club supports all children throughout Henleaze Junior School allowing them to enjoy learning their times tables and linking their understanding of division and its inverse relationship. 

These skills are fundamental in becoming a proficient mathematician and having a strong sense of number; as a foundation in which to keep building upon with a mastery approach.  

Equal opportunities and inclusion

At Henleaze Junior school we strive to promote and ensure an inclusive maths curriculum and participation for all. What this looks like at Henleaze Junior School is that we: 

  • Clarify and explain language factors 
  • Provide an appropriate speed and pace; to all children 
  • Provide an in-lesson supported learning group 
  • Consistency of approach across our school 
  • Safe learning and risk 
  • Different thinking styles 
  • Marking, feedback, pre-teaching, where appropriate, and praise 
  • Expectations of pupil involvement and interactions 
  • How the content needs to be structured for revisions, reviews, and recaps 
  • Empathetic teaching 
  • A variety of strategies, approaches, resources and manipulatives introduced, so learners have the confidence and independence to choose. 

Test your maths skills

It would be interesting to see how many Henleaze children and parents can answer the 4 sample questions on the Radio 4 website.

Resources and web based links

The internet is a rich resource of games, puzzles and activities to support and consolidate learning at home. This is especially true with Mathematics!

At school, we strive to incorporate within the teaching and learning of maths a variety of ICT based interactive resources that help to bring maths alive! Many of these applications also serve to place the learning in a meaningful context that the children can relate to. As such, they are an invaluable resource that can be dipped into at home for free!

With this in mind, we have listed below a handful of the more effective educational sites on offer. To try out these resources, simply click on the hyperlinked titles below.


A great site from the university of Combridge which we use to stretch and challenge children's problem solving skills.

Maths Zone

A fantastic site! A wealth of games and activities organised by curriculum area, i.e. shape and space.

BBC Numeracy site

Brilliant site! Lots of games and an excellent revision unit – KS2 Bitesize Maths.

Math Playground

A U.S educational site with some great games. Try out ‘Pumpkin Multiples'!!