St Peters Catholic Primary School

St Peters Catholic Primary School

 The CPA Way!


CPA – stands for concrete, pictorial, abstract.


CPA is a highly effective approach to teaching that develops a deep and sustainable understanding of Maths in pupils. When teaching Maths, the CPA approach helps learners to be more secure in their understanding, as they have to prove that they have fully grasped an idea. Ultimately, it gives pupils a firm foundation for future learning.  


CPA relies on 3 fundamental principles:

  • Firstly, CPA is not about getting the answer quickly. Concrete manipulatives are used by students to work through questions, Maths lessons aren't about teaching tricks; they are about giving pupils the tools to understand the problem in front of them.
  • Secondly, CPA is for everyone; all abilities and ages. At St. Peter’s teaching encourages the use of concrete manipulatives in any lesson and suggests that there is value in KS2 students having a variety of equipment to aid their thinking. For these pupils, concrete objects can often kick-start learning about a new concept and are gradually abandoned as pupils as they progress through the lesson.


  • Finally, CPA is a way to deepen and clarify mathematical thinking. Students are given the opportunity to discover new ideas and spot the patterns, which will help them reach the answer.