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Calculation policy

Our Calculations procedure


The policy below explains how we teach calulation strategies in school, if you have any concerns about this please speak to your child's teacher.


The ability to perform both written and mental calculations is a skill that underpins the use of mathematics throughout life, even at the earliest stages and is essential for daily living. Mental calculation, the ability to calculate ‘in your head’ is an important part of mathematics; it is a skill that underpins the use of mathematics throughout life, even at the earliest stages and is essential for daily living. 


However, as calculations become more complex, written methods become more important.  Recording in mathematics, and in calculation in particular, is an important tool both for furthering the understanding of ideas and for communicating them to others.


As children develop understanding at different rates, it is expected that, at any time, there will be children working with expanded forms of the same method, at a range of levels of efficiency and understanding.  For this reason this policy has been created, to ensure there is consistency and continuity throughout the school in the way we approach and encourage the children to approach calculation.


Written Recording:

Recording in mathematics helps to support and guide children through their mathematical development.  Within this document recording has been described as jottings and efficient written methods.


Jottings are used to aid mental strategy and should be discarded when a child has a secure understanding of a mental method.  They come in a great many forms and children will develop their own informal methods and jottings that, at first, may not be easy for someone else to interpret. 


The methods identified in this document for jottings are not exhaustive and whilst we should not prevent children from using other forms, we do need to encourage and model efficient jottings, which will later aid the learning of more developed written strategies.


The understanding of the formal written methods the school uses are far easier to use if children are able to move forward and backwards through the number system in both small and large steps.  As such whilst the number line should not be used exclusively, it is a key method that staff should be promoting within the school.  

Written Methods identified in this policy are the chosen methods for this school, as such, other methods should not be used until they reach upper key stage 2.  The progression has been split into year groups but it should be noted that some children will move on faster than others.  If at any point a child needs to look again at a previous method they should be encouraged to do so but a child should not be moved forward unless they are fully competent with the previous stage.

White Rose Calculation Strategies


At Thornhill Primary we are adopting a 'mastery' approach to maths. Pupils will start by learning using 'concrete' resources such as Numicon, base 10 cubes and number lines and move to working in visual and abstract ways. We use ideas and strategies from the White Rose Maths hub to help us plan for this progression and for reasoning tasks to help pupils use their knowledge in a maths mastery way. 

A copy of this strategy is attached below.


*NB - In Key Stage Two the phrase 'bar' is used rather than 'thinking blocks' and in comparison bar models, the largest bar is put on the top of the sum, replicating the sum for subtraction.