The Catholic School of St Gregory The Great Believe and Achieve

Number Bonds

Number Bonds and Number Bond Club


What are number bonds?
Number bonds are pairs of numbers which add up to a certain number. Fluency in number bonds helps your children access many areas of maths and is a key foundation to mathematical mastery.
It can:

  • Increase experience of success and therefore confidence, motivation and enjoyment of maths.
  • Free up working memory to allow attention to focus on more complex, less routine problems.
  • Improve engagement and assist understanding in many other areas of maths.
  • Increase ability to spot patterns and relationships in both number and shape.


Quick and efficient recall of facts and procedures is essential in order for students to keep track of sub-problems, think strategically and solve problems.


Number bonds in the curriculum
The Early Years Foundation Stage Learning Goals in Number include: 

  • Have a deep understanding of number to 10, including the composition of each number.
  • Subitise (recognise quantities without counting) up to 5.
  • Automatically recall (without reference to rhymes, counting or other aids) number bonds up to 5 (including subtraction facts) and some number bonds to 10, including double facts.


The Key Stage One National Curriculum objectives include:

  • Represent and use numbers bonds and related subtraction facts within 20 (Year 1)
  • Recall and use addition and subtraction facts to 20 fluently (Year 2)


When are Number Bonds taught at St Gregorys?
Number Bonds are taught explicitly within our maths lessons.

In EYFS, children are taught to explore the parts and wholes of numbers and explore and compose numbers to 5 in the Autumn term. In the Spring term, children are taught to compose numbers within 10 using part-whole knowledge. In the Summer term, children are taught to show the composition of 10. Alongside this key learning in the area of composition, learning in other key areas of mathematics such as subitising, cardinality, ordinality, counting and comparison also supports and reinforces the learning of number bonds.

In Year 1, the learning of the number bond facts are broken down into small, manageable steps following the Can Do Maths planning resources. Facts from 5 through to 20 are covered throughout the Y1 maths curriculum:

  • Facts of 5 through to 8 (Autumn term)
  • Facts of 7 through to 11 (Autumn term)
  • Facts of 11 through to 16 (Spring term)
  • Facts of 17 through to 20 (Summer term)


In Year 2, the number bonds learnt in Y1 are revisited and applied to learning in the Autumn term in the Addition and Subtraction units. 


Number Bonds are applied in other domains of the mathematics curriculum and therefore developed and applied throughout the year when these areas of maths are taught (for example, in the Measurement, Multiplication and Division units). 

How we teach Number Bonds at St Gregorys
The key ways in which Number Bonds are learnt are:

  • Using loose parts
  • Using multi-link
  • Using counters
  • Using tens frames
  • Using dice frames
  • Using the Rekenreks
  • Using Numicon
  • Using other visual and pictorial representations show in the NCTEM Mastering Number scheme and in the classroom environment
  • Using Numberblocks videos (included in the NCTEM Mastering Number planning)
  • In the explicit teaching of them in Maths lessons
  • Through teaching of key strategies which are designed to make calculation easier, such as doubles, near-doubles, bridging through 10 and compensation.


Number Bonds Club
We have launched a pre-99 Club called Number Bond Club. Similar to 99 Club, written questions are solved independently in a 10-minute time constraint. When all questions have been answered correctly, a child may move up to the next club. 

Number Bond Club contains Number bonds to 5, 7, 9, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20 (totalling 8 clubs). In line with National Curriculum expectations, we would aim for all Year 1 children to have achieved Number Bond Club (Number bonds to 20) by the end of Year 1. Once the Number Bond Club has been completed, each child is awarded with a certificate and able to progress onto the 99 Club.

Number Bond Club begins within Term 2 of Year 1 at a time agreed to be most suitable for the cohort of children within their EYFS to Year 1 transition. 

Pictorial versions of the test have also been produced to support children further. For children who may be finding it difficult to answer the numeral + numeral, the pictorial representations are able to provide further scaffolding for our learners. 



Useful Links

Games to support the learning of Number Bonds