Alexander McLeod Primary School


At Alexander McLeod Primary School, we thrive to give all of our children access to a rich and varied mathematics curriculum.

The national curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:

Become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.

Here at Alex McLeod, we understand the importance of children knowing more than isolated facts, methods, and the ability to recall facts and times tables. We ensure that children have a full understanding of mathematical concepts, methods, and relationships between the different areas of maths, such as addition, subtraction, division and multiplication.



It is important that children can recall key facts in maths, as this will allow them to more efficiently solve problems. To help pupils with this we ensure that sufficient time is spent at the beginning of each year focusing on an understanding of number.  We focus on place value and the four operations within the calculation policy first, which will support other learning through the year.

In Alexander McLeod we follow the CPA approach to mathematical learning. As part of the CPA approach, new concepts are introduced through the use of physical objects or practical equipment. These can be physically handled, enabling children to explore different mathematical concepts. These are sometimes referred to as maths manipulatives and can include ordinary household items such as straws or dice, or specific mathematical resources such as dienes or numicon. The abstract nature of maths can be confusing for children, but through the use of concrete materials we are enabling the children of Alexander McLeod to ‘see’ and make sense of what is actually happening. 

Once our children are confident with a concept using concrete resources, they progress to drawing pictorial representations or quick sketches of the objects. By doing this, they are no longer manipulating the physical resources, but still benefit  from the visual support the resources provide. At Alexander McLeod we do this in a range of ways, such as bar models and the Part-whole model.   

Once children have a secure understanding of the concept through the use of concrete resources and visual images, they are then able to move on to the abstract stage. Here, children are using abstract symbols to model problems – usually numerals. We allow children time to build up their fluency by practicing the method.


Finally the children will show their understanding by completing on of our challenge sheets.   These sheets include fluency questions to warm up before children answer a range of words problems and finish with mastery reasoning problems.  

We believe the system we have in place at Alexander McLeod supports children to explain the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of maths. Through reasoning and higher order questioning, children are able to generalise and justify their thinking.  At Alexander McLeod ‘tricks’ such as adding a 0 on the end when multiplying by 10 are not taught.  We endeavour to give children the skills to understand the ‘why’ of each action.

Teachers promote reasoning during maths lessons, through using carefully chosen questions


_____ thinks that, ______. Do you agree? Explain your answer.

Is it always true, sometimes true or never true that________?

Can you spot the mistake? Explain why they are wrong.

Children are provided with opportunities to express their mathematical reasoning through the use of speech bubbles, through the recap at the beginning of a session, and by addressing misconceptions and in plenaries.

We understand that mathematical language is crucial to children’s mathematical thinking and understanding. As a result, we use our working walls to show the correct vocabulary and a modelled example of the method the children are currently working on.

Maths calculation policy


Meet the Lead

I am Mr Shelley and I have been the maths lead at our school since 2019.  I love to see the range of maths activities that we offer the children of Alexander McLeod and I have been fortunate to have been part of these throughout the school having taught in EYFS, KS1 and KS2.

Maths has always been my passion and from a young age I loved seeing how mathematics was brought to life in the world around us. From sporting venues and activities to supermarkets and high street shops, maths plays a major role in our day to day living.  As maths lead I feel it is vital that we are equipping the children of Alexander McLeod with an understanding of the world.  To support this in school we link maths to real life opportunities when possible.

Please get in touch if you have any queries or questions linked to maths in our school.  Contact the office for an appointment or you will find me in the KS1 playground after school when dismissing my class.