This essay will consider the role of 'place value'; a concept underpinning the decimal number system which is fundamental for successful problem solving. It will specifically consider the steps leading to the teaching of addition, which begin in Key Stage 1, and will examine how unfamiliarity of positional value may affect mathematical skills such as column addition during key stage 2. Professional and Government guidance on teaching these skills will be examined and compared to experiences found in the classroom, alongside practical solutions which may be used to help avoid such misunderstandings.The Hindu-Arabic system comprises of the digits 0-9 to create any number and Thompson reminds us that " it took humankind such a long time to invent this important idea", emphasising that some children are likely to have difficulties with this concept. This statement suggests that a wide pedagogical approach to this topic is needed to support contextual learning and understanding of a decimal numeral system; the idea that each digit within a number represents either increasing or decreasing powers of ten.There are contrasting views concerning the most appropriate age to introduce positional value to children. Shuard advised that it should be taught early in primary school, whilst Thompson believed that if place value concepts were taught too early, it may cause confusion (Despite these contrasting views and in line with the National Curriculum, children are introduced to the notion of place value from Key Stage 1 to include: the value of digits, the use of zero as a place holder, order and rounding of number.