Problem Solving

‘Teaching children to think and problem solve as independently as they possibly can be is not an option, it is a necessity’ (Hinchclife & Imray, 2014; p.200) 


The Problem Solving curriculum area at Oakwood is about children exploring the world around them and being able to recognise and solve problems in their day to day lives, such as I don’t have my coat.  It also includes using the outdoor school, use of technology, mathematics and understanding the world around us. 

Problem Solving  

Problem Solving is not an isolated subject that should be taught discretely in a timetabled daily or weekly time slot. There are opportunities for thinking and problem solving in everything we do and therefore everything we do should be regarded as an opportunity for thinking and problem solving.  

Thinking and Problem Solving is a little different according to the ability of the learner to comprehend and work through the different elements of the difficulty they are faced with. 

There are so many opportunities for thinking and problem solving in everything we do therefore everything we do is thought as an opportunity for thinking and problem solving.  

Through our ‘Problem Solving’ learning we aim to develop our pupils' skills to think for themselves and problem solve by giving them a range of situations and activities to support them in learning the skills and strategies needed. Our pupils need help and guidance to learn strategies as they may face problems throughout their everyday life, and we want to help our pupils live successfully in the wider environment be as independent as possible. 

We pride ourselves on encouraging our children how to solve problems in order to become confident, independent and successful individuals and to build resilience.   

There are different stages of children being able to solve a problem: Memory building, Sabotage!! - Recognition of a problem, independent solutions, Generalisation, Self-belief and confidence. The concept of a problem can be difficult for our pupils to grasp; therefore, we expose them to problems and model how to overcome these.  We provide support with trial and error and repetition to solve the problem and gradually increase their own independence. 


The use of technology to support and enhance learning is part of Problem Solving & Play area of the curriculum at Oakwood. We use a wide range of technology to meet children’s individual needs. We have many specialist and cutting-edge access technologies, including Eye-Gaze, iPads, and switches.  

At Oakwood, one our core aims is to support our children’s ability to access and control technology. We develop these skills using one or more methods, aiming for the children to access technology with the minimum of effort, so that their concentration can be focused on the intended learning. Children may be working on developing more than one skill in different contexts. Touch screen skills may be practised with the iPads, as well as utilising the large touch screens in each classroom.   

We have a number of iPads in school and have selected a set of apps for use with the children. The selection includes problem solving, creative apps, and apps based around topics. We have many sensory apps which support children’s understanding of basic cause and effect, as well as providing relaxing and soothing content. There are also lots of great apps which support creativity in music, sound and art. 

We are currently introducing eye-gaze technology to support children’s learning and communication, particularly for children with physical disabilities, who are working at early development levels. Through using eye gaze to access a computer, children work through a progression of awareness, control and skills, which starts with sensory awareness, then progresses onto early eye-tracking, exploration and choosing, then on to more advanced skills of turn-taking and communication.  


Functional maths skills are important for our children to enable them to live with increased independence in the community, care for themselves and make choices about their lives. 

Why Mathematics is important to our children? 

Maths is everywhere and its processes are for learning about life.  


Mathematics occurs in all of our everyday contexts:  

A Mastery Approach

The essential idea behind mastery is that all children develop a deep understanding of mathematics built on solid foundations.

The World Around Us  

The World Around Us is about the children learning and understanding more about the world they live in.  This is delivered through a range of experiences and activities following our Curriculum Hooks.  We have a range of topics that are used to theme the learning for groups or individual children.  In the Adventurers (Bridging) and Voyagers (National Curriculum) stages of our curriculum 'The World Around Us' starts to incorporate subject specific teaching in areas such as Science, Computing, Design Technology, History, and Geography.