Whitehall Park School
Contact Us 020 7561 0113
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Whitehall Park School
Ashmount Road
N19 3BH

How we teach Maths

At Whitehall Park School, Maths is taught through a concrete-pictorial-abstract approach. Through the use of these key stages in their learning, each child forms the understanding of maths concepts and skills which they are learning and can apply them to a range of contexts. We believe that children must be supported in developing their understanding of Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy in a broad range of contexts in which they can explore, enjoy, learn, practise and talk about their developing understanding. They must be provided with opportunities to practise and extend their skills in these areas and to gain confidence and competence in their use.

Mathematics is an integral part of the world in which we live. It provides a means of communication which is powerful, concise and unambiguous. Mathematics is as much about the processes as it is about the answers, we believe that the answer is only the beginning!

Maths teaching and learning includes learning how to solve problems involving the four operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Importance is put onto the learning of number facts including number bonds and times tables facts in order to access such problems efficiently. Other number work includes understanding and using the place value system, understanding and manipulating fractions.  Maths teaching and learning also includes learning about and exploring shape, space and measure as well as interpreting data including reading and constructing charts and graphs.  A big emphasis is given to mathematical reasoning across the different areas of learning in maths. Planned opportunities for regular problem solving are a key element of maths teaching and learning at Whitehall Park.


At the point in which children have secured their expectations in certain areas of the curriculum -their thinking is challenged and extended through open ended, higher order questioning and problem solving activities.  Here children experience elements of failure and frustrations, developing the resilience to find new ways and experience joy and success – an essential life skill which we value and encourage here at Whitehall Park.

Mental Maths

Mental methods will be emphasised from an early age. Children will be directly taught and provided with regular opportunities to develop the different skills involved through the use of the maths meeting wall. These skills include:

  • Recalling number facts
  • Using known facts to solve additional facts
  • Developing a repertoire of mental strategies
  • Solving problems


  • Each skill or concept is first modelled with concrete materials (e.g. chips, unifix cubes, base ten blocks, beans and bean sticks, pattern blocks).
  • Children are provided many opportunities to practice and demonstrate mastery using concrete materials


  • The maths concept or skill is next modelled at the representational (semi-concrete) level which involves drawing pictures that represent the concrete objects previously used (e.g. tallies, dots, circles, stamps that imprint pictures for counting)
  • Children are provided many opportunities to practice and demonstrate mastery by drawing solutions


  • The math concept/skill is finally modelled at the abstract level (using only numbers and mathematical symbols)
  • Children are provided many opportunities to practice and demonstrate mastery at the abstract level before moving to a new math concept/skill.
  • As a teacher moves through a concrete-pictorial-abstract sequence of instruction, the abstract numbers and/or symbols should be used in conjunction with the concrete materials and representational drawings (promotes association of abstract symbols with concrete & representational understanding)

mathsHow does this strategy positively impact children with special educational needs?

  • Helps passive learner to make meaningful connections
  • Teaches conceptual understanding by connecting concrete understanding to abstract math process
  • By linking learning experiences from concrete-pictorial-abstract levels of understanding, the teacher provides a graduated framework for children to make meaningful connections.

Children at Whitehall Park will learn these concepts through a mixture of child initiated and adult led activities. It is important to get a balance between child initiated and adult led activities.

downloadAdult Led Activity

  • Our children are given the opportunity to take part in small groups and one-to-one activities to develop their speaking and listening, social, and physical skills and knowledge.
  • They explore these aspects through ‘hands on’ creative and explorative resources and themed role-play zones.
  • Once the children are ready, we begin to focus more on early reading, writing, number and shape activities.

Child Initiated Activities

  • Children learn from their interactions both with other children and adults in their environment
  • The classroom inside and outside areas are carefully prepared by the team to support this type of learning
  • Both inside and outside learning areas provide a wide range of challenging activities and resources, for children to develop and extend their own learning
  • Activities also  build on from what the children have learnt during the adult led focus activities
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