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Lady Elizabeth Hastings'

CE VA Primary School

Friendship * Reverence * Courage


SMIRFs stands for Space Mission Instant Recall Facts.  These are number facts such as number bonds and times tables facts which need constant practice and rehearsal – at home as well as school - in order for children to be able to recall them quickly, confidently and accurately. Regular practice of mental maths helps children to learn these number facts which are the essential building blocks of calculating.  When children move onto written calculations it is vital that addition and subtraction of small numbers is automatic and that times tables facts are embedded. 

Mental maths practice is an important part of homework expectations at LEH.  

We have recently changed the structure to this throughout school, as well as adding other elements of instant recall maths.

Every child from reception upwards has a SMIRF target sheet.  This contains key mental maths skills for your child to practise at home. To help you support your child, we have devised a SMIRF practice sheet for each 'planet' in the scheme.  Hopefully, your child should have brought this home  They can also be downloaded from the links below.  The activities on the sheet should improve your child's mathematical fluency and hopefully be fun as well as challenging.  We try to ensure that your child has a secure grasp of each of the skills before we move them onto the next planet.  It is anticipated that most children will 'visit' two planets each year.  Please feel free to discuss any issues regarding SMIRFs with your child's teacher if you are unsure about any aspect of the scheme.


Mental maths practice can be done anywhere – in the car, walking to school, etc.  Regular practice - little and often – helps children to retain these facts and keep their skills sharp.   In supporting your child with learning their SMIRFs, please remember:

  •  It is important that children learn both addition and related subtraction facts.  Knowing number bonds to 5 means that children know all the ways of adding numbers to make 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 (eg 3 + 1 = 4, 5 + 0 = 5) and can also carry out subtraction calculations using these numbers as well as 0  (eg 4 – 1 = 3, 5 – 0 = 5).  Children need to be able to calculate 4 – 3 = 1 but also need to be able to put in the missing number in ? – 3 = 1 or 4 - ? = 1.
  • Likewise, when learning times tables facts children also need to be able to recall division facts so that they can calculate 6 x 8 = 48 but also know that 48 ÷ 8 = 6 and 48 ÷ 6 = 8.
  • Children who are agile with their tables can use this knowledge to work out bigger calculations for example 17 x 8 can be calculated mentally as 10 x 8 plus 7 x 8 which is 80 + 56 = 136.
  • The national Curriculum expectation is that all children are fluent in their times tables by the end of Year 4.

In addition to the practical ideas suggested on the SMIRFs sheets, you may be able to find apps or websites which support your child's practice.   Mathletics and Hit the Button are both excellent resources.  


SMIRF information sheets and homework helpsheets

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