Children are introduced to written methods of calculations through practical, oral and mental activities. Each of the calculation strategies for the four operations builds on mental skills which provide the foundation for jottings and informal written methods. These will be developed to provide children with an understanding of formal written methods of calculations.
Strategies for calculations should be supported by models, images and practical activities to help reinforce understanding. A sound understanding of the number system is essential for children to carry out calculations efficiently and accurately.
By the end of Year 6 children are equipped with mental, written and calculator methods that they understand and can use correctly. When faced with a calculation, children are able to decide which method is most appropriate and have strategies to check its accuracy.
Pupils should not be moved onto the next stage of calculations until they are secure with their current method. Calculation methods should be revisited to consolidate understanding.
At whatever stage in their learning, and whatever method is being used, children’s strategies must still be underpinned by a secure and appropriate knowledge of number facts, along with those mental skills that are needed to carry out the process and judge if it was successful.