Children begin to learn about fractions in Year One when they understand that a fraction is an equal part of a whole. Initially, children learn about halves and quarters. They use shapes to see that the whole has been split into equal amounts. When this understanding is secure, children move on to finding halves and quarters of groups.
In Year Two, children revisit halves and quarters, and thirds are introduced. The language of fractions is introduced: numerator (the top number/how many parts) and denominator (the bottom number/how many parts the whole has been split into). Different fractions are introduced as children become more familiar with the fact that a fraction is an equal part of a whole and that the names of these fractions relate to how many equal parts the whole has been split into. Children are able to recognise pairs of fractions that make a whole, compare them and place them on a number line. They also begin to find unit and non-unit fractions of sets.
When in Year Three, children add and subtract fractions with the same denominator, knowing that only the numerator changes and the denominator stays the same. They begin to find equivalent fractions and to simplify them, understanding that to do so, you must perform the same operation to the numerator and denominator.
In Year Four, children's knowledge of fractions is extended to mixed numbers, which they are able to place on a number line. They continue simplifying fractions, this time using improper fractions. Children also learn how to add fractions that total more than one (mixed numbers) and to subtract fractions from whole numbers. Children are also introduced to decimal numbers, learning about tenths and hundredths as well as equivalent fractions.
Children in Year Five add and subtract fractions with different denominators, using their previous knowledge of finding equivalents to be able to complete the calculation. They also use bar models to help them multiply fractions by whole numbers and learn two methods for multiplying mixed numbers by whole numbers. Children's knowledge of decimals is extended to thousandths and percentages are introduced.
In Year Six, children consolidate and apply their knowledge of fractions to be able to add, subtract, multiply and divide them as well as compare them. They are able to use a formal method to find fractions of amounts. Children know equivalent fractions, decimals and percentages and are able to find percentages of amounts.