KIRFs stands for Key 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. Each half term your child receives a KIRFs sheet which gives your child's KIRFs target plus practical ideas to assit your child in learning these key number facts. The KIRFs are colour coded for each year group:
Reception Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6
The objective relates for expectations for your child's year group although this may be personalised according to children's needs, as appropriate.
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 KIRFs, 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 KIRFs sheets you may be able to find apps or websites which support your child's practice. This year, KIRFS at LEH have been revised to address the expectations of the new national Curriculum. The KIRF website www.conkermaths.org will now not directly align with the revised KIRFs but you may still be able to find some relevant opportunities to practice on the site.
Thank you for supporting your child in developing their mental maths skills. If you have any questions regarding KIRFs, please contact your child's teacher.