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Mathematical Fluency

St Barnabas and St Paul’s recognises the importance of mathematical fluency as it allows learners to understand the relationship between numbers. It means that children understand how to answer questions but also understand why they have reached that answer.


We aim to provide lots of learning challenges throughout the year which will require our children to develop strategies, reason and become fluent mathematicians who can confidently apply their understanding to a variety of problems and contexts.


Fluency involves;

  • Quick recall of facts and procedures
  • The flexibility and fluidity to move between different contexts and representations of mathematics.
  • The ability to recognise relationships and make connections in mathematics


Fluency in Action at our school


CPA Approach

A CPA (concrete – pictorial – abstract) approach is followed which supports the development of fluency with key concepts. A number of concrete, pictorial and other resources are used to develop the understanding of basic facts and help children to become fluent in basic maths facts. Children may use the following resources to help secure fluency with number facts: stem sentences, Numicon, ten frames, bar models, part-whole models, counters and rekenreks.


Mastering Number

Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are developing their fluency skills through our involvement in the NCETM Mastering Number programme. This project aims to secure the firm foundations in the development of good number sense and the aim over time is that children will leave KS1 with fluency in calculation and a confidence and flexibility with number.


Speaking frames / Stem sentences

Children are encouraged to use mathematical language and processes to explain their reasoning. This is achieved by using ‘speaking frames’ within whole class maths lessons to demonstrate an in depth understanding of a concept. Stem sentences are particularly useful to chorally ‘rehearse’ a step or fact. This aids the transition from working memory to long-term memory.



Mental Mondays

Each Monday, every class takes part in Mental Mondays to develop number fluency further. The format for this is:


1 week - Mental Arithmetic focus

Teachers teach an aspect of mental arithmetic from our progression grid. This may be something the children have not been taught yet. After this, the children complete a mental arithmetic test which includes an aspect of what has been taught. Teachers then go through the answers with the children, addressing misconceptions. Teachers then identify a key area to focus on the following week.


1 week - Mental Maths focus

Teachers teach a concept of maths that the children may have struggled with during their mental arithmetic session the previous week. After practise, the class then play mental maths games/mental oral games such as Fizz Buzz, around the world, etc. 


Home Learning Opportunities and Parental Involvement

Children are provided with a variety of home learning opportunities and are encouraged to still practice number facts whilst at home. This is mainly through Times Tables Rock Stars which the children are expected to participate in at least three times a week.

St Barnabas & St Paul’s Church of England Primary School

Oakenhurst Road, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB2 1SN

01254 698413