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.

1. Concrete

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

2. Pictorial

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

3. Abstract

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)

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


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.

WPS Calculation Policy

As a school, we value very highly any support you, as parents, are able to offer your child at home. This document has therefore been written to provide you with the guidance you will need in order to assist your child with the appropriate mental and written calculation strategies they are using in class.

Whilst this document has been organised into the expected outcomes for each year group, it is important to recognise that children develop their mathematical skills at different rates and that you should work with your child, using a combination of practical, mental and written activities, at a level that is suitable to them.

The WPS Calculation Policy will be added shortly.

How 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


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