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Inspire Maths

What is Inspire Maths?

We began a full implementation of Inspire Maths across our school in September 2020.  It was chosen as it is a whole-school primary maths programme that provides everything we need to support an approach to teaching and learning mathematics which is greater in depth and meets the higher expectations of the new Curriculum for Wales 2022.

Inspire Maths provides a highly scaffolded learning framework with problem solving at its heart. It is built on a focused, coherent and cumulative spiral curriculum that continuously builds and consolidates knowledge to reach deep understanding. The programme encourages extensive practice to develop fluency and mastery, so that every child - across all abilities -can succeed at mathematics.

Inspire Maths is a transformational, whole-school approach, to raising pupils’ achievement in maths. The programme of resources is built upon the internationally acclaimed approach to teaching mathematics in Singapore. Published by Oxford University Press it is based on the leading Singapore Maths series My Pals are Here, used in 100% of Singapore’s state primary schools.

The concrete-pictorial-abstract approach

Inspire Maths emphasises the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills, which help children make connections to develop deeper understanding. The powerful concrete-pictorial-abstract (CPA) approach, including the bar model method, is central to this.

The CPA approach helps children at Ysgol Cefn Meiriadog achieve secure number sense-that is, a sense of what numbers really represent and how to use them mathematically. This is done through a series of carefully structured  representations-first using physical objects (concrete), then diagrams or pictures (pictorial), and ultimately using representations such as numerals (abstract).

The bar model

The bar model is a step-by-step method that helps children to understand and extract the information within a calculator or word problem. By drawing a bar model, children translate a calculation or word problem into a picture. The approach helps children process the information given in the problem, visualise the structure, make connections and solve the problem.

The bar model is first introduced to the children at Ysgol Cefn Meiriadog in Inspire Maths 2.

In Inspire Maths 5 and 6 (The Innovators), bar models are applied to increasingly complex situations. Children are encouraged to draw and interpret bar models to solve a wider variety of problems.

So how does it work in your child’s classroom?

Inspire Maths uses accessible individual pupil textbooks which introduce concepts in a highly scaffolded way, enabling all our children to develop critical thinking skills, make mathematical connections and become confident mathematicians. Inspire Maths builds firm foundations and a deep understanding of mathematical concepts through a concrete-pictorial-abstract approach.


Children in Ysgol Cefn Meiriadog have four Inspire Maths lessons a week with children working in groups appropriate for their ability. Regular assessments ensure children are making appropriate progress with further support or challenge provided where needed.