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The Theory

It is not possible to teach children the answers to all mathematical questions, we can however teach them the skills set which will make this possible. Children need to be given the opportunity to further develop mathematical ideas and concepts in open ended tasks. By doing so a child will deepen their understanding of maths and begin to make the very important links between concepts and apply these links in a range of situations.


Guided Group Numerical Reasoning is means by which you can make this happen.


Some Basics

The context of each classroom is unique therefore the structure and setup should be tailored to suit accordingly.


The actual guided sessions should be no more than 20 mins of grouped/shared work lead by the class teacher. A regular slot should be allocated in the class timetable. During this time the whole class will be focused on numerical reasoning activities, either working with the class teacher or involved in an independent activity based around a previous activity.


Children should be issued with a book to record their independent activities. It will be necessary to help children to understand that merely recording answers is not enough. Showing the process by which an answer was achieved will be very important, furthermore, it will be important that children (certainly from YR5 onwards) are able to record what strategies they used too (the non-statutory skills framework identifies Thinking Skills which may be useful in this process).

Two Options

  • Five groups

  • 6 pupils per group

  • 20 minutes per day

  • Carousel over a week

Option 1

Option 2

  • Four Groups

  • 7-8 Pupils per group

  • Hour long sessions once a week

  • Carousel over 2 weeks

  • Each slot lasts 20 minutes


Should you choose to take the carousel approach you will need to create groups of children of a similar ability. These groups should remain flexible.


Selecting the children for each group should be done using up to date information about their mathematical ability. This information should come from teacher assessments, test data and any other relevant information.


Head over to the 'practice' page to access the cluster-created guided reasoning resources as well some recommended websites which you might find useful.

Take me to the resources!

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