Singapore Maths at Stillness

Singapore maths is an amalgamation of global ideas delivered as a highly effective programme of teaching methods and resources. The approach is based on recommendations from notable experts such as Jerome Bruner, Richard Skemp, Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky and Zoltan Dienes. The reason behind teaching Singapore maths at Stillness is that:

  • Singapore consistently top the international benchmarking studies for maths teaching
  • There is a highly effective approach to teaching maths based on research and evidence
  • It builds pupils’ mathematical fluency without the need for rote learning
  • It introduces new concepts using Bruner’s Concrete Pictorial Abstract (CPA) approach
  • Pupils learn to think mathematically as opposed to reciting formulas they don’t understand
  • It teaches mental strategies to solve problems such as drawing a bar model
  • All pupils are taught that full NC requirements in a mixed ability setting with access for all and challenge from the start.

All children receive a daily maths lesson of an hour. Lessons are planned and delivered in accordance with the national curriculum (2014) through the use of the Maths No Problem! ® Framework and lesson plans. Teachers are expected to teach times tables for 10 minutes at the beginning of every lesson. All children are taught in mixed ability classes.

One of the key learning principles behind the Singapore maths textbooks is the concrete pictorial abstract approach, often referred to as the CPA approach:

Concrete Representation

The enactive stage – a student is first introduced to an idea or a skill by acting it out with real objects. In division, for example, this might be done by separating apples into groups of red ones and green ones or by sharing 12 biscuits amongst 6 children. This is a 'hands on' component using real objects and it is the foundation for conceptual understanding.

Pictorial Representation

The iconic stage – a student has sufficiently understood the hands-on experiences performed and can now relate them to representations, such as a diagram or picture of the problem. In the case of a division exercise this could be the action of circling objects.

Abstract Representation

The symbolic stage – a student is now capable of representing problems by using mathematical notation, for example: 12 ÷ 2 = 6.