Savile Park Primary School

Headteacher: Mrs J Boylan

Addition and Subtraction

The National Curriculum aims to make sure that children are fluent in maths necessary for everyday life. A good understanding of addition and subtraction, and how they relate to each other, is essential for solving all sorts of calculations and problems.

At the end of primary school, children will need to apply their addition and subtraction skills in arithmetic and reasoning tests. This may seem a bit daunting, but don’t worry – your child will build up their skills gradually, from simple number bonds to written and mental methods that involve increasingly large numbers.

There are lots of things you can do at home to support your child’s developing addition and subtraction skills.

How to help at home

You don’t need to be an expert to support your child with maths! Here are three simple but effective ways to help your child develop their addition and subtraction skills.

1. Use the language of addition and subtraction

Encourage your child to use mathematical language when talking about calculations, such as add, altogether, more, plus, total, sum for addition and take awaysubtractminuslessfewer, difference for subtraction. For example, 7 – 3 = 4 can be read as ‘the difference between 7 and 3 is 4’.

2. Go shopping

Shopping provides great opportunities to practise skills. When buying items, ask your child to round prices to the nearest pound before adding mentally.

Challenge your child to check shopping totals using subtraction. Encourage them to estimate, for example:

I have £15. We need chicken for £4.50, vegetables costing £4.75, and the bus is £3.50. Will I have enough?

3. Explore different methods

When adding or subtracting, ask your child to explain each stage of their sum and why they chose that method.

They might partition numbers into hundreds, tens, and ones, draw pictures to represent how they added or subtracted, use number lines, use objects, or try written column methods. Encourage them to check with a different strategy.