Number Sense Maths Programme Overview

Number Sense Maths is a scheme of work focused entirely on number fact teaching, providing the structure and depth to number fact teaching that children need to achieve fluency. The programme is compatible with all full curriculum textbooks and schemes of work, and it works well as an intervention with older children. Schools access the resources by subscribing to the NSM Teacher Portal from £99 per year. An ideal use of catch-up premium funding.

*** To help schools in current times, we have developed free, downloadable Covid support teaching packs to help close gaps in number fact knowledge. We are also running free training on structured number fact teaching.***

Highlights of the programme

Supplements main maths curriculum

NSM provides the structure and materials for daily number fact teaching in KS1, and works alongside your main scheme of work or textbook. The programme gives addition and subtraction facts the focus they need for children to become fluent in them, just as phonics gets the focus it needs to teach children to decode.

Addition and subtraction facts

At the core of NSM are the Addition and Subtraction Fact Grids. These essential facts are the equivalent of times tables for addition and subtraction. Just as all multiplication and division calculations use root times table facts, all future addition and subtraction calculations use these root addition and subtraction facts.

Click here for the Subtraction Fact Grid.

Calculation strategies

NSM teaches 12 calculation strategies. Learning and applying these strategies gives children a deep understanding of number and number relationships. Using these strategies children can then "use what they know to work out what they don't know". Explicit teaching of derived fact strategies is an effective route to fluency in addition and subtraction facts for all children, including lower attainers.

Click here for more detail of the calculation strategies.

Six-stage programme

The facts and strategies are brought together in the six stage teaching programme which can be taught in daily factual fluency sessions, or integrated into the main maths lessons. Stages 1- 4 are taught in Year 1, and Stages 5 and 6 are taught in Year 2.

Click here for more detail of the 6 stages.

Modelled on phonics

NSM is modelled on the structured phonics programmes used to teach early reading. Just as schools can tell you where they teach each grapheme-phoneme correspondence in phonics, NSM systematically teaches every addition and subtraction fact, leaving nothing to chance. As children progress through the strategy groups, they develop visual pathways and learn important number relationships. This results in factual fluency and confidence with number by the end of KS1.

Click on the thumbnail for a video showing how fluency in addition facts builds up.

Click here for the equivalent subtraction facts video.

Comprehensive resources

Each stage of the programme is broken down into smaller teaching steps, with resources provided for every step. The resources for each step include

  • Teaching Points which explain what children need to learn in each step, and the models used
  • Activities, for both the classroom and at home, which consolidate concepts 
  • Animations that expose mathematical structure and develop number sense 
  • Exercises that build progressively with scaffolding for children and talking tips to support teachers and parents 

Go to Free resources to see examples of all of these resources.

Demonstrates impact

Easy to use assessment materials enable you to track pupils’ developing number fact fluency and to demonstrate the impact of the programme. An ideal use of catch-up premium funding.

Teacher Portal

The NSM resources are accessed via the Teacher Portal where they can be read, snipped into lesson slides, and printed. As well as teaching resources the portal hosts assessment materials for the programme, along with teacher guidance and professional development support. Sign up for FREE membership of the Teacher Portal to see a substantial selection of the programme resources that you can try in school.