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“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

Albert Einstein

Purpose of study - National Curriculum 2014

Mathematics is a creative and highly interconnected discipline that has been developed over centuries, providing the solution to some of history’s most intriguing problems. It is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment. A high-quality mathematics education therefore provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.

At St Michael’s we truly believe in the National Curriculum’s ‘Purpose of Study’ and value the importance of maths for our ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’.  We aim to ensure that all of our pupils are:

  1. Fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics
  2. Able to reason mathematically using the most appropriate mathematical language
  3. Can solve routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication
  4. Are resilient and understand the importance of, ‘I can’t do it… Yet!’

To support our amazing children in truly understanding and discovering mathematical patterns, we use a combination of resources, for example: White Rose, Power Maths, Teaching for Mastery and Nrich, to build a mastery maths scheme which supports the needs of all our children. To further support children, we use the concrete, pictorial and abstract approach (CPA) to teaching to ensure the maths is embedded.

What is the 'Concrete Pictorial Abstract' Approach in Maths?

The Concrete Pictorial Abstract (CPA) approach is a system of learning that uses physical and visual aids to build a child’s understanding of abstract topics.

Pupils are introduced to a new mathematical concept through the use of concrete resources (e.g. fruit, Dienes blocks etc). When they are comfortable solving problems with physical aids, they are given problems with pictures – usually pictorial representations of the concrete objects they were using.

Then they are asked to solve problems where they only have the abstract i.e. numbers or other symbols. Building these steps across a lesson can help pupils better understand the relationship between numbers and the real world, and therefore helps secure their understanding of the mathematical concept they are learning.