At our school, we believe that every child is entitled to a high-quality mathematics education, which will provide a foundation for them in understanding the world. As a result, they will have an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, plus a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject. It is our belief that our children should have a positive learning attitude modelled and:
- be provided with a broad range of counting experiences at an early stage of them developing a sense of number
- learn about key early mathematics concepts and skills, which need to be understood before they begin to calculate
- develop a depth in understanding linked with calculation, including mental maths strategies that can be associated with various structured models and images
We have adopted a mastery approach in the learning and teaching of mathematics. The main aim of such an approach, is that it values ‘going deeper’ to ensure that our children develop a secure knowledge of mathematical concepts. This enables those pupils beginning their education at school to be able to access age-appropriate ideas, as a result we do not see gaps open in their learning over time. Integral to this is the school’s vision for mathematics which, ‘…rejects the idea that a large proportion of people ‘just can’t do maths,’’ [and aligns with the] ‘belief that by working hard at maths they can succeed.’ NCETM – ‘The Essence of Maths Teaching for Mastery’ (2016)
Our curriculum design and learning/teaching are inextricably linked to necessary Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for teaching staff. School leaders ensure a range of CPD is made available for staff, which means that increasing consistency is gained across Years 1-6, whilst colleagues in Early Years are aware about the mastery agenda and adopt relevant teaching strategies to support the development of practice.
In terms of assessment, and in order for the mastery approach to work, we understand the particular need for children to achieve key objectives for their current stage of learning. Such assessment links with day-to-day Assessment for Learning, which informs teachers about the elements of learning pupils need to develop further. In lessons, teachers use precise questioning to check conceptual and procedural knowledge. They formatively assess how misconceptions can be used as growth points in learning, whilst also diagnosing who requires intervention, meaning that all children are expected to ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch-up.’ Assessment gathering is kept meaningful and is viewed as a diagnostic tool whereby collated information is used purposefully when planning pupils’ next-steps.
Through their lessons, teachers aim to promote connections within and across National Curriculum domains, so that children are taken deeper with their learning over time and recognise the interconnectedness of concepts. It is also intended that pupils revisit concepts, for example, multiplication within area when presented as an array model, which means that pupils absorb learning within their long-term memory.
It should be noted that varied use of practical resources, structures and representations, plus questioning that requires deeper reasoning is used to ensure all children are supported/challenged appropriately. A progression in key representations and structures, leading to understanding of sometimes complex and abstract concepts, has been defined and is exemplified in the school’s calculation policy. This in turn supports the delivery of consistent approaches and equity of access for learners.
The attainment and progress of pupils’ learning is tracked by class teachers and senior leaders, so that swift interventions can be put into place, including for children who have not always experienced a mastery approach in mathematics over time, and may include the use of pre-teaching.
In cases where children’s learning is most effectively being deepened, the following descriptors can be seen in their learning:
A pupil really understands a mathematical concept, idea or technique if he or she can:
• describe it in his or her own words;
• represent it in a variety of ways (e.g. using concrete materials, pictures and symbols – the CPA approach);
• explain it to someone else;
• make up his or her own examples (and non-examples) of it;
• see connections between it and other facts or ideas;
• recognise it in new situations and contexts;
• make use of it in various ways, including in new situations.
Developing mastery with greater depth is characterised by pupils’ ability to:
• solve problems of greater complexity (i.e. where the approach is not immediately obvious), demonstrating creativity and imagination;
• independently explore and investigate mathematical contexts and structures, communicate results clearly and systematically explain and generalise the mathematics.
Useful Maths websites for Home Learning
For KIRF (Key Instant Recall Facts) practice:
A large number of resources, organised by topic:
Daily mental maths practice:
Please let us know of any difficulties accessing these links, or if you have any further suggestions.