St Nicholas Church of EnglandPrimary Academy


Welcome toSt Nicholas Church of England Primary Academy


Place Value

A good understanding of place value (the value of each digit in a number) is vital in primary-school maths. Here is how your child will be taught about units, tens, hundreds and thousands with number lines, arrow cards and more, as well as outlining how place value is used to help children visualise calculations.


What is place value?

Place value is the value of each digit in a number. It means understanding that 582 is made up of 500, 80 and 2, rather than 5, 8 and 2.

How are children taught to understand place value in KS1?

In school two maths aids are used to help make place value clear to children.

Deines blocks are blocks in which cubes represent units / ones, rods of ten cubes represent tens, flats  of 100 cubes represent hundreds and blocks of 1000 cubes represent thousands: 


In Key Stage 1, a child might be given some ten and units (ones) Deines blocks and asked to make a number such as 43. They would need to select 4 tens rods and 3 ones blocks. This makes it very clear to them that a two-digit number it made up of tens and ones. It also helps them to practise counting in tens.

Arrow cards look like this








A child might be asked to make the number 34 using arrow cards. They would need to take the 30 and the 4 and put them together so that the arrows were lined up. This again helps to make clear that a two-digit number is made up of tens and ones.

It is absolutely vital that children understand place value before they can go onto adding and subtracting two-digit numbers.

What is place value? | Oxford Owl

Addition and Subtraction

By the end of year 2 the children should be able to:

  • solve problems with addition and subtraction:
    • using concrete objects and pictorial representations, including those involving numbers, quantities and measures
    • applying their increasing knowledge of mental and written methods
  • recall and use addition and subtraction facts to 20 fluently, and derive and use related facts up to 100
  • add and subtract numbers using concrete objects, pictorial representations, and mentally, including:
    • a two-digit number and 1s
    • a two-digit number and 10s
    • 2 two-digit numbers
    • adding 3 one-digit numbers
  • show that addition of 2 numbers can be done in any order (commutative) and subtraction of 1 number from another cannot
  • recognise and use the inverse relationship between addition and subtraction and use this to check calculations and solve missing number problems

This year the children will extend their understanding of the language of addition and subtraction to include sum and difference.

Children practise addition and subtraction to 20 to become increasingly fluent in deriving facts such as using 3 + 7 = 10; 10 − 7 = 3 and 7 = 10 − 3 to calculate 30 + 70 = 100; 100 − 70 = 30 and 70 = 100 − 30. They will check their calculations, including by adding to check subtraction and adding numbers in a different order to check addition (for example, 5 + 2 + 1 = 1 + 5 + 2 = 1 + 2 + 5). This establishes commutativity and associativity of addition.

Our addition and subtraction learning...