Barnsbury Primary School and Nursery Barnsbury Primary School and Nursery
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Teaching Maths


At Barnsbury we aim to provide children with mathematical experiences which stimulate the children’s enthusiasm and develop their fluency, ability to reason mathematically and their ability to solve problems.

 Our aims in teaching mathematics are that all children will:

  • find mathematics an enjoyable and exciting challenge.
  • develop self-confidence, through practical activity, exploration and discussion.
  • use and apply a range of mathematical skills and knowledge to solve problems, through decision making and reasoning.
  • use accurate mathematical vocabulary to explain their thinking.
  • reach / exceed age related expectation whilst making good progress.
  • use IT confidently when solving mathematical problems.
  • develop a clear, logical and systematic way of working.
  • understand and appreciate the importance of mathematics in everyday life. 


Throughout Barnsbury all the children use the teaching resource Numicon. The Numicon approach is multi-sensory, using apparatus and focusing on Action, Imagery and Conversation. The program of activities with Numicon shapes and rods helps students understand number relationships, spot patterns and make generalisations. When Numicon patterns are arranged in order, pupils begin to notice important connections between numbers, for instance that each number is one more than the last and one fewer than the next, odd and even numbers and place value. Numicon illustrates number bonds, addition and subtraction, place value, doubling and halving, estimation, division and multiplication. The Numicon Shapes and rods help teachers and students to communicate their ideas. Students are encouraged to work together on activities which emphasise applying understanding to solve problems. The Numicon teaching approach helps pupils ccommunicate their mathematical thinking to teachers. This in turn helps teachers ‘see’ a students’ understanding. By watching and listening to what students do and say, the Numicon approach provides learners with the opportunity to play to their strengths, thereby releasing their potential to enjoy, understand and achieve in mathematics.

Although predominantly used for whole-class teaching at Barnsbury, Numicon can also be used in small groups and for individual support.

Click here to see a short video about Numicon

SNAP Maths
We use the SNAP Mathematics Intervention Programme, where needed throughout the school, for those pupils who would benefit from extra support with numeracy. SNAP is designed to identify and address gaps in knowledge and dispel misconceptions that some children have. The programme consists of daily structured, practical activities that focus on and reinforce key objectives, and is implemented through small group activities. 

Progress in Understanding Mathematics Assessment (PUMA)

All children in years 1 to 6 undertake three PUMA maths tests per year. This provides teachers with a child’s mathematical age against their chronological age. Children that are six months above or below their chronological age are considered to be working at the expected age. As well as termly testing, the children are weekly tested on their number bonds/times tables. Teachers keep record of children’s number bonds/times tables to ensure progression and as a form of assessment. 

Parental / community involvement

We value the contribution to maths learning made by parents and provide information, guidance and workshops on the best ways they can support their children’s learning. Parents and DBS checked community volunteers are welcomed into the school to support children in maths. Children are expected to practice their number bonds/times tables at home a minimum of three times a week. In addition to number bonds/times tables practice children will also receive homework, based on the learning happening in the classroom that week. 




 Click here to see the Barnsbury Maths Calculation Booklet