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St Matthew's CofE Primary School

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Maths Fluency - KIRFs

Maths Fluency


What is Fluency in Maths?

Fluency in maths is about developing number sense and being able to the most appropriate method for the task at hand; to be able to apply a skill to multiple contexts. The National Curriculum states that pupils should become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics through varied and frequent practice. While a part of this is about knowing key mathematical facts and recalling them efficiently, fluency means so much more than this at it allows pupils to delve much deeper.


How Does Mathematical Fluency Fit with Reasoning and Problem Solving?

The mastery curriculum for primary schools places problem solving at the heart of mathematics with the main aim that every child can learn to solve multi-step word problems in an unfamiliar context. To enable them to achieve this, pupils must develop their conceptual understanding, mathematical thinking and use of mathematical language. This is where fluency and reasoning come in.


How Fluency And Reasoning Work In Primary Maths

Fluency in maths works through intelligent practice (rather than just mechanical repetition). Once a child has grasped a mathematical concept, the idea is that they are exposed to varied fluency activities which develop their understanding. These activities also require them to use verbal reasoning to justify and explain their thinking in order to solve word problems in an unfamiliar context.


Key Instant Recall Facts (KIRF)


KIRF's - What are they? 

KIRFs is a whole-school program for raising standards in Maths. KIRFs (Key Instant Recall Facts) are designed to support the development of the mental skills that underpin much of the maths work in schools. They are particularly useful when calculating, be it adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing.


An important part of maths development has always been rote learning of certain numeracy facts. For many years this has included practising times tables. However, alongside times tables there are many other key number facts that knowledge of makes undertaking complex reasoning and problem solving much more accessible.


Each half term children will be given Key Instant Recall Facts (KIRFs) to practise and learn at home as well as the work in school. These are sent home on A4 sheets and include practical ideas to assist children in grasping the key facts. It is important that they know these thoroughly and can recall specific facts instantly. Whilst children have a wide range of abilities in mathematics, the KIRFs are designed to be a set of facts that need to be learnt thoroughly as they build on each other year on year. The overall aim is for the children to know their KIRF inside out, back to front and with instant recall.


By internalising these key facts which have been carefully structured to build upon each other term by term, year by year, children will leave Stretton St Matthew’s with a much stronger foundation of mathematical understanding to build upon.