Our approach

Maths is for life. We use our maths knowledge many times every day – often without realising it. A good mathematical education is crucial and it is essential, therefore, that when children leave primary school, they have a solid foundation of mathematical knowledge upon which to build on but also a growth mindset where they feel they can achieve. At Skelton, our approach to teaching and learning in maths is based on the 6 principles detailed below: 

Success for all

Every child can enjoy and succeed in mathematics as long as they are given the appropriate learning opportunities. We can all develop through practice, support, dedication and hard work. Adopting and encouraging a growth mindset enables pupils to develop resilience and confidence, and see the value in learning from mistakes.

Depth before breadth

To truly grasp a mathematical concept, pupils must be given time to fully explore their learning. The challenge comes from investigating ideas in new and more complex ways – rather than accelerating through new topics.

Multiple representations

Objects, pictures, numbers and symbols enable pupils to represent mathematical ideas and make connections in different ways. This strengthens conceptual understanding and develops pupils’ problem solving skills. They also help remove much of the mystery and intangibility often associated with math.

Mathematical thinking (reasoning)

Successful mathematicians are known to develop mathematical ‘habits of mind’. To encourage this, we must support pupils to be systematic, generalise and seek out patterns. Questioning is a key element of this. Such as: ‘think of another example’, ‘give a general rule’ and ‘what is the same and what is different?’

Problem solving

Enabling learners to solve new problems in unfamiliar contexts is the ultimate aim of mathematics education. Pupils must be given opportunities to identify, apply and connect mathematical ideas. This builds the skills needed to tackle new and more complex problems, rather than repeating routines without grasping the conceptual meaning behind them.

Mathematical Language

Research shows the more a pupil can communicate mathematically, the more they feel themselves to be a mathematician. Mathematical language strengthens conceptual understanding by enabling pupils to explain and reason. Mathematical language must be carefully introduced and reinforced through frequent discussion to ensure it is meaningfully understood.

Key ideas

Repeated addition  4 x 5 is the same as 5 + 5 + 5 + 5

Multiplication is commutative  4×5 is the same as 5×4

Multiplication is the inverse of division 20÷ 5 = 4 can be worked out because 5 x 4 = 20.

Number families 4×5 = 20, 5 x 4 = 20, 20 ÷ 5 = 4, 20 ÷ 4 = 5

How to support at your child at home 

Practise counting

Ensure counting begins with concrete manipulatives such as shoes, socks etc. before moving on to using counters and other manipulatives. Whenever starting children counting in a new amount, such as counting in 8s, children should be given the opportunity to see visually what that looks like to reinforce 4 x 8 looks quite big compared to 4 x 6. They can then look for patterns such as 4 x 8 is the same as 4 x 4 doubles. Use a counting stick to count up and down in multiples.


Chanting “3 times 7 is 21 etc.” with manipulatives, then pictorially, then fingers.

Quick fire recall

The structure for teaching recall. The example is for the 6 times table but the principle can be applied to any.

a. Start with 1×6, 2 x6, 5×6, 10×6 at them first.

b. Add 3×6 and 4×6 when step 1 is frequently recalled correctly and instantly.

c. Build up to 6×6, 7×6, 8×6

d. When looking at 9×6, 11×6 and 12×6 children should look at finding 10×6 and adjust.

e. Add in related division facts. 

Use games like TTRockstars and Hit the button.

Times Table Rock Stars is a programme designed to help children master the times tables! All children in KS1 and KS2 have a login.

World famous rock musicians are the best at what they do because they’ve spent hours practising guitar chords, writing music or playing on the drums. It’s just the same with times tables – all Times Table Rock Stars need to practise and practise and practise.

It’s essential that your child does a little bit of times table practice regularly. Short bursts of daily practise are more effective than spending hours once a week.

Guide for parents TTRS

Hit the Button

KS1 Maths games

Prodigy Game

Times Tables Rockstars