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Northmead Junior School

Northmead Junior School

Written Calculation


The national curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • Become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
  • Reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
  • Can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.


Written methods of calculations are based on mental strategies. Each of the four operations builds on mental skills which provide the foundation for jottings and informal written methods of recording. Skills need to be taught, practised and reviewed constantly. These skills lead on to more formal written methods of calculation.

Strategies for calculation need to be represented by models and images to support, develop and secure understanding. This, in turn, builds fluency. When teaching a new strategy it is important to start with numbers that the child can easily manipulate so that they can understand the methodology.

The transition between stages should not be hurried as not all children will be ready to move on to the next stage at the same time, therefore the progression in this document is outlined in stages. Previous stages may need to be revisited to consolidate understanding when introducing a new strategy.

A sound understanding of the number system is essential for children to carry out calculations efficiently and accurately.

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