Become a mathematical thinker, not a calculator


At Beacon Academy, we engage our children with mathematics in real-life contexts. This nurtures enthusiasm and an understanding of relevance outside of the classroom. The children are encouraged to experiment and take risks as well as ask questions in order to develop their confidence. Seeking the answers through investigations is a principle aim here at Beacon: this promotes independence as well as applying their mathematical knowledge and language in context. We believe that children should be able to work collaboratively as well as independently in maths; the pursuit of answers often takes patience and by working collaboratively, the children learn how to pool their ideas as well as listening to alternative perspectives. Independence is a key skill, not just in maths, but across school. By encouraging this on a daily basis, children learn emotional resilience as well as developing their own critical thinking. A ‘growth mind-set’ is also critical for all children: the idea of not being able to do something straight away is all too often seen as failure and we aim to develop a ‘can do’ attitude, where they recognise themselves as Mathematicians, instead of merely students of maths.


At Beacon Academy we aim to develop the children in a number of ways:

High Aspirations – Children should be motivated and have enthusiasm for all things mathematical so that they can see the wider application and use for maths in the real world.

Independence – Children should become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics and know that, should they need to, they can find the answers to their questions by using classroom resources.

Collaboration – Children need to understand that they themselves are great resources and that it is possible to utilise their own expertise in order to help each other. This is a skill that can be used throughout school in all areas for the rest of their lives.

Resilience – Children should develop the ability to fail and move forward. Life is not one series of linear events and nor is the road to mathematical success - maths needs to be understood in this way so that children can keep trying and know that they will eventually find the answer, instead of seeing slow/limited success as failure.

Innovative – Children should have the confidence to reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, and develop and present a justification, argument or proof using mathematical language.

Learning at Beacon Academy in maths

The children complete their work across our Five-Step-Flow model.


The children’s learning journey starts with representation – this is where the children get to grips with the key ideas and concepts within a topic, often by using manipulatives to assist their understanding. At this stage it is common for the children to use drawings to support their understanding before moving forward to grapple with more abstract ideas.


This is the second stage in the learning journey. The children are looking to build on their base of knowledge, developed with maths tools, and move onto using a skill or idea in order to build fluency (a type of mathematical competence that allows the children to answer simple questions involving the skills they have learnt). This process encompasses a wide range of questions and seeks to challenge the children within the given mathematical concept.


This aspect of the flow requires a developed understanding – working towards mastery – whereby the children apply their base of knowledge in different ways. This often involves them taking on a teacher role, whereby the challenge ideas and assertions and justify their assertions with mathematical reasoning. The ‘Think’ stage builds on their fundamental knowledge and stretches the children by challenging them with probing question which are designed to uncover misconceptions.


As the title suggests, the idea at this stage is for the children to articulate why a particular skill or concept works or doesn’t work. At this point, children have to use mathematical reasoning, often by referring back to the representational stage, to describe/justify why an idea works or not.


This is the stage where the children should have achieved mastery of a concept. Reasoning is clear and underpinned with clear mathematical understanding, both of the methods used and of the reasons for using these skills in the first place. The children grapple with open-ended problems and use their learning to develop answers in response to some challenging scenarios.

Here are some resources to support your child learning their multiplication tables

Year 2 - Times tables challenge.pdf
Year 3 - Times tables challenge.pdf
Beacon academy 144 CHALLENGE PLATINUM.pdf
Year 1 - Number bonds Autumn.pdf

Click here to find out more about the different ways we teach calculations at Beacon