Big Maths

What is Big Maths?

Big Maths is a teaching method we are going to introduce here at Bowsland Green. It is a mental maths programme created by Ben Harding that embraces the logical nature of maths.

How does Big Maths work?

Big Maths is a maths programme which is incorporated into daily Maths lessons where your children have the opportunity to develop their mental maths skills following a programme called CLIC. It breaks down the different stages of mental maths into smaller chunks and allows children to practise, repeat and revise and link the mental strategies they learn to other situations. Problem solving and word problems cannot be solved until children can manipulate and understand how numbers work so this programme is a perfect tool to enable children to learn the skills they can then try to apply.

What is a CLIC session?

This stands for ‘Counting’, ‘Learn Its’, ‘It’s Nothing New’ and ‘Calculation’. Each Maths lesson contains each of these elements.


Children will learn to count forwards, backwards and in different steps.  This will be suited to your child’s ability and will rely on them being as quick as possible and not relying on their fingers to support them. When practising at home, please ensure you count forwards and backwards and that you don’t start from 0 each time. Choose a new number to start with.


Learn Its include a range of number facts children should know and be able to recall quickly. Your child will progress through addition facts and times tables facts when completing their Learn Its. There are 72 Learns Its in total, 36 addition Learn Its and 36 multiplication Learn Its.  As soon as children learn 3×4=12 they also know 4×3=12. This is introduced to children as a ‘Switcher’. At the end of each week, your child will take part in the BIG MATHS BEAT THAT timed test. They will be tested on their focus Learn Its. The aim of this for each child to improve their score each time and become quicker and more confident with the recall of the specific facts.


This is an extremely important part of CLIC. It enables children to become successful and properly numerate. Your child will be expected to relate learnt facts to other ideas such as  6 things and  3 things are always 9 things. We can then change the ‘thing’ to tens for example: 6 tens + 3 tens = 9 tens. This can be related to many aspects of the Maths curriculum and allows children to develop links between mathematical concepts.


As part of this area of the CLIC framework, your child will then work on developing their understanding of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Big Maths clearly maps out which steps children should do in a clear order and helps teachers to identify where to go back to if a child is struggling.

Using this approach will ensure that each child is taught maths consistently from Reception to Year 6. Using this programme alongside our mastery approach to the curriculum, will ensure all children develop a love for maths and make progress through the expected ARE (Age Related Expectations).

Making Maths fun!

Big Maths includes a selection of characters which your children will meet at various points in the Big Maths programme. These characters help make the maths children are learning more engaging and fun and they all work together to make maths make sense.

Download: Big Maths Learn Its Challenges – Questions

Download: CLIC Challenge Questions

This is Count Fourways. He helps children learn to count in four crucial ways. The four ways are counting in 1s, 2s, 5s and 25s. Each of these four ways is built upon progressively.

This is Mully. He likes to explore and to hide. He likes to hide behind the biggest multiple of number he can find. ‘Where’s Mully’ is a game played as part of a CLIC session. Children are asked to find Mully by identifying the largest multiple of a given number.

This is Pom. He is an alien. Pom has several features that help children learn 4 key mathematical words: multiple, factor, square and prime. Pom has space on his tummy for a multiple to be displayed then factors of that number can be recorded on the end of his body parts. The number 1 and the number itself (the one in his tummy) should be recorded in each eye.

This is Pim. He is also an alien. Pim has 3 arms on one side and 4 arms on the other side. He therefore has 7 arms altogether. Anyone that has learnt that ‘3 add 4 equals 7’ can soon realise that this applies to all ‘things’

This is Squiggleworth, he is Pim’s pet dog! He can be used to help children partition numbers. How much is that squiggle worth?

This is Speedy Col and she is known for having lots of energy! She likes to do everything quickly but she is very careful too.


How can you help at home?

  • Help your child practice their Learn Its at home whether this is addition facts or multiplication facts.
  • Play maths games with your children
  • Congratulate your child if their Big Maths score goes up.
  • Make maths a positive experience and link it to your everyday life. For example: adding up the shopping.