In the Early Years Foundation Stage (Reception) we recognise that the first few years of a child’s life are especially important for mathematics development and we ensure that all children develop firm mathematical foundations in a way that is engaging and appropriate for their age.
There are six key areas of early mathematics learning, which collectively provide a platform for everything children will encounter as they progress through their maths learning at primary school, and beyond.
These areas are:
Cardinality and Counting - understanding that the cardinal value of a number refers to the quantity, or ‘howmanyness’ of things it represents.
Comparison - understanding that comparing numbers involves knowing which numbers are worth more or less than each other.
Composition - understanding that one number can be made up from two or more smaller numbers.
Pattern - looking for and finding patterns helps children notice and understand mathematical relationships.
Shape and Space - understanding what happens when shapes move, or combine with other shapes, helps develop wider mathematical thinking.
Measures - comparing different aspects such as length, weight and volume, as a preliminary to using units to compare later.
In Key Stage 1 we aim to ensure pupils develop confidence and mental fluency with whole numbers, counting and place value. Pupils are introduced to the four operations, often using practical resources. They are taught to recognise, name, sort, compare and draw shapes, and to use units of measurement.
In Years 3 and 4 we continue to develop children's fluency with whole numbers and the four operations. Pupils are taught efficient mental and written methods of calculation, involving increasingly larger whole numbers. Simple fractions and decimals are introduced and pupils develop their range of problem solving skills and mathematical reasoning. This is applied to number, shape and measurements. Children begin to draw shapes with increasing accuracy and can recognise and describe their properties in more detail. By the end of Year 4 pupils should know all multiplication tables up to the 12 times table.
In Years 5 and 6 pupils extend their knowledge of the number system and place value to include larger integers. They develop their ability to solve problems and reason about increasingly complex mathematical problems, requiring efficient written and mental calculation skills. Algebra is introduced as a means of solving a variety of problems. Shapes are classified with increasingly complex geometric properties, and the necessary vocabulary to do this is developed. Pupils become fluent in written methods of calculation and in working with fractions, decimals and percentages.