At James Oglethorpe, in Year 1 – 6 we follow the Abacus scheme of work which follows the National Curriculum. The Three key principles underpinning Abacus are:

  • Understanding – that children need a robust understanding and secure foundation in maths to develop: – conceptual understanding – numerical fluency – problem-solving skills and mathematical confidence. 
  • Progression – to ensure every child can move on, Abacus is built on a series of detailed progression ladders. These form the backbone to Abacus.
  • Control – Abacus has been designed to give teachers flexibility – offering structure when you want it, and freedom when you choose it.

 We use the White Rose scheme of work for EYFS which is a mastery-based scheme of learning for Reception pupils which includes detailed guidance which aligns with the new statutory framework for EYFS 2021.


In Reception, children have a daily Maths carpet session following the White Rose scheme of work. They are taught to have a deep understanding of number to 10 which includes  counting, recognising, subitising, knowing number bonds and ordering.  They use objects to add and subtract to 10 and solve problems and to identify patterns including halving, doubling and sharing. They learn the names of some 2D and 3D shapes and talk about their properties and they begin to learn about time.  Our environment is set up to provide opportunities for children to weigh, measure and compare in practical contexts to solve real life problems. The adults use their knowledge of each child to extend their mathematical thinking as they explore the environment.


Children in Years 1 and 2 will be given a solid foundation in the basic building blocks of mental and written arithmetic. Building on their existing knowledge they will explore numbers further so they are confident with two digit numbers and beyond. They will learn more about place value, number patterns, number facts and this will link this into everyday life such as money. Pupils will use learning resources known as ‘Maths manipulatives’ to support their understanding of new concepts and to consolidate what they already know. The children will be encouraged to use their math skills to solve mathematical problems and explain the reasoning behind their findings. The children will continue to learn more about different 2d and 3d shapes, weight, measure and time. 


In Lower Key Stage 2, children build on the concrete and conceptual understandings they have gained in Key Stage 1 to develop a real mathematical understanding of the four operations, in particular developing arithmetical competence in relation to larger numbers.In Upper Key Stage 2, children move on from dealing mainly with whole numbers to performing arithmetic operations with both decimals and fractions. Pupils gradually move away from using concrete resources to calculate and onto more abstract calculation methods, although the use of maths manipulatives is encouraged  when teachers are  introducing new concepts. 

To ensure all pupils are competent in their use of multiplication and division, the children use TTRockstars (which is an online incentive driven scheme) that challenges children to compete with themselves in timed conditions as well as their peers.  Children enjoy the competitive side of this when they compete with different classes and borough schools as well as the opportunity to win certificates and gain extra playtime/non-uniform days.Find out more about TTrockstars here in the parents’ guide

A typical lesson at JOPS

Starter (where children either use an Abacus assessment question as a revision of prior learning) or an activity to ‘hook’ children into their new learning for the week. (Often more able children will be given a more challenging task to complete during this time if they do not need to sit through this activity and then the teacher will come back to them later in the lesson)

Main teacher input is where there is a mix of teacher modeling and children ‘having a go’. Before children set off to do their ‘challenge of choice’ the teacher will use AFL strategies, e.g. whiteboards and traffic lights where children state their confidence to gauge competencies of children quickly so that support can be put in place where necessary.

Independent Work – Activity types range through 4 levels-from the simplest ‘Mild’ to  Medium to Hot then to the most challenging MI (Mission Impossible) These activities step children through tasks that are based on the methods taught that day in varying degrees of difficulty. The Mission Impossible is often an open-ended reasoning activity. During the independent activity after 5 questions, children mark and review their progress. From Year 2 upwards and where appropriate – the children self-mark using the ‘marking station’ and a blue pen to mark their progress.  Any questions incorrect have to be unpicked and re-done either talking to a peer / adult or independently. At JOPS we discourage just the writing of answers as it does not help a child to understand ‘where they went wrong’ with their maths. 

Plenary-A lesson is finished with this where a question/s will expect the children to use skills from the lesson to solve it/them.

Reception White Rose overviewAbacus Calculation Policy KS1Abacus Calculation Policy KS2
Abacus Weekly Plan EYFS Abacus Weekly Plans KS1 Abacus Weekly Plans KS2