St. Gwladys Bargoed Primary School

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Mathematics and Numeracy

We firmly believe that Mathematics and Numeracy is an enjoyable and creative activity involving imagination, resilience and discovery. It equips our learners with the unique and powerful set of tools to understand and change the World; after all, The Child’s Imagination is Tomorrow’s Reality. These tools include logical reasoning, problem-solving skills and the ability to think in abstract ways. 


The Curriculum for Wales is designed so that children become experts in five mathematical proficiencies that can be applied and connected by using a range of real-life contexts to introduce, explore and consolidate their learning. At St. Gwladys, we aim to encourage children to:

  •  Develop a wide range of engaging and appropriate mathematical experiences.
  • Be challenged intellectually by mathematical ideas and be able to express their ideas in a meaningful way.
  • Enable them to use a variety of strategies to explain their thinking.
  • Understand how maths is relevant and useful in everyday life.
  • Work independently and collaboratively to solve problems.
  • Think about maths in abstract ways through different reasoning activities.


Early Years use TAPAS maths based on the Concrete, Pictorial and Abstract (CPA) approach to learning Mathematics and Numeracy. This approach is used throughout the school. Based on the work of Jerome Bruner, it is a highly-effective method of teaching and learning that develops a deep and sustainable understanding of maths. Simply put, the Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract  approach is about learning by doing. The children participate in activities to investigate and learn mathematical concepts and skills alongside their peers. They are provided with a range of concrete manipulatives to generate discussion, challenge thinking and to build meaning and understanding. Moving from concrete resources, the children reach the pictorial stage where they are given many opportunities to communicate with a partner and share their understanding using a pictorial representation to further consolidate the newly acquired concept or skill. The
teacher, whose main role is to facilitate learning by providing appropriate scaffolding and feedback, will support the children to discover abstract mathematical concepts as a result of the children’s investigations.  


In Foundation Phase, children use the outdoor and indoor classrooms to explore mathematical ideas with their peers. Through well-chosen and bespoke activities that meet the needs of learners, teachers and teaching assistants ensure that children gain a solid understanding of number, shape, space and measure by the time they enter Key Stage 2. Children have the opportunity to work with an adult in smaller groups and independently through a range of activities. 


Building the children’s reasoning skills, alongside providing mastery and greater depth work within our Mathematics and Numeracy AoLE is also key. Problem- solving is integral to our practice in maths lessons; each session beginning with a problem the children need to explore together in order to uncover the concept behind it. Children are challenged to apply their learning. Chilli challenges are used to encourage the children to challenge themselves in their work, thereby
providing effective differentiation. Those pupils who are More Able and Talented in this area are provided with Rocket Work, along with three levels of chilli challenges. Each of these encourages children to apply their learning, explain their reasoning and deepen their understanding of the concepts being learned. As a result, children begin to think mathematically, becoming proficient in spotting patterns and relationships between numbers.

Research undertaken by the school on effective Assessment for Learning (NPEP) has resulted in teachers and teaching assistants holding ‘conferencing sessions’ with children during maths lessons, giving each child the opportunity to sit on a one- to-one basis and discuss their learning journey with an adult. Teachers and teaching assistants have very high expectations of all their pupils and our maths lessons allow the children to overcome realistic obstacles by building confidence and resilience. Our children understand that learning is not attained solely through
repeating successes but by developing their growth mindset, struggling with and overcoming difficulties in order to be successful and acquire new knowledge. Consistently high outcomes in Mathematics and Numeracy are achieved as a result.

Opportunities to exploit numeracy across the curriculum, as well as financial literacy are considered important. Pupils are encouraged to experience the world of banking by providing support for those adults who run Credit Union in the school. Parental involvement in this area of learning is encouraged through a series of workshops throughout the school. Parent/Carer Working with Number and Numeracy Cafés provide an opportunity for parents/carers to work alongside their child, in the process becoming more acquainted with the methods used in