St John's Church of England Academy

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At St John’s we recognise that Maths is essential to daily life and aim to provide a high-quality Maths education that ensures children’s prior knowledge is fully embedded and built upon. We also believe all children should be empowered to develop enjoyment and a sense of curiosity for the subject.

In line with the National Curriculum, we aim to develop fluency in the fundamentals of Maths, through varied and frequent practice, to solve problems and to be able to reason mathematically.

Key Skills

Daily Maths lessons at St John’s, begin with our ‘Key Skills’ sessions. These sessions focus on children’s fluency in key number skills (such as number bonds, times tables and arithmetic skills). Each year group has been allocated 12 key skills to practise throughout the year.  Each half term, one of our ‘key skills’ will be focused on as part of our ‘learning log’ homework tasks. Please continue to practise these skills as much as possible at home!

Within our ‘Key Skills’ sessions, we encourage a wide range of ‘varied fluency’ opportunities so children can see Maths presented in a variety of ways in order to ‘master’ each objective. Have a look at this document which provides many ways to present one question and examples of varied fluency opportunities in the classroom:


Fluency, reasoning and problem-solving skills will lead to children becoming great mathematicians! Reasoning is all about mathematical thinking! Can children justify their ideas and explain their thinking?

Teaching children reasoning skills needs lots and lots of modelling. This includes lots of talking out loud and explaining to children how you would approach a problem. We also teach children how to respond to a reasoning question in a written format (following the APE approach: Answer, Prove it, Explain).

Have a look at this document below for examples of reasoning progression and questions we use in the classroom:


At St John’s, we support a CPA (Concrete, Pictorial and Abstract) approach. Research shows, that this approach is highly effective and develops deep and sustainable understanding of maths.

The CPA approach begins with the concrete ‘doing’ stage. During this stage, children use concrete objects to model problems. This helps bring the abstract concept of maths to life allowing children to experience and handle physical (‘concrete’) objects. 

The pictorial stage is the ‘seeing’ stage. Here, visual representations of concrete objects/drawings are used to model problems. This stage helps children make mental connections between the physical object and abstract pictures/symbols.

The final stage is the abstract ‘symbolic’ stage. This is where children use symbols to model problems once they have a solid understanding of the concrete/pictorial stages.

Please see the progression in calculations (following the CPA approach) for each year group below: