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Maths Calculation Policy

Our Calculation Policy is vital to our teaching of Mathematics. We regularly update this to provide more effective guidance for our staff, pupils and wider community. Should you notice any errors, or feel that the document can be edited to make it more effective, please don't hesitate to contact us.

September 2017- Update

This policy is a key update following the phased introduction of the 'bar model' method to help pupils visualise problems. It contains the key pencil and paper procedures that will be taught within our school. It has been written to ensure consistency and progression throughout the school and reflects a whole school agreement.

Although the focus of the policy is on pencil and paper procedures it is important to recognise that the ability to calculate mentally lies at the heart of mathematics. The mental methods for teaching mathematics will be taught systematically from Reception onwards and pupils will be given regular opportunities to develop the necessary skills. However, mental calculation is not at the exclusion of written recording and should be seen as complementary to and not as separate from it.

In every written method there is an element of mental processing. Sharing written methods with the teacher encourages children to think about the mental strategies that underpin them and to develop new ideas. Written recording both helps children to clarify their thinking and supports and extends the development of more fluent and sophisticated mental strategies.

During their time at Forest children will be encouraged to see mathematics as both a written and spoken language. Teachers will support and guide children through the following important stages:

  • Using concrete apparatus to model and represent;
  • Using pictures, models, images, and a mixture of words and symbols to represent numerical activities;
  • Using standard symbols and conventions;
  • Using jottings to aid a mental strategy;
  • Using pencil and paper procedures;
  • Using a calculator.

It is important that children do not abandon concrete apparatus, the using of images to represent, and then jottings and mental methods once pencil and paper procedures are introduced.  Children will always be encouraged to look at a calculation/problem and then decide the best method to choose - pictures, mental calculation with or without jottings, structured recording or a calculator. The long-term aim is for all children to be able to select an efficient method of their choice (whether this be mental, written or using a calculator) that is appropriate for a given task. They will do this by always asking themselves:

  • 'Can I do this in my head?
  • 'Can I do this in my head using drawings or jottings?'
  • 'Do I need to use a pencil and paper procedure?
  • 'Do I need a calculator?