National Curriculum Purpose of study
Mathematics is a creative and highly inter-connected discipline that has been developed over centuries, providing the solution to some of history’s most intriguing problems. It is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment. A high-quality mathematics education therefore provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.
In our school, we have adopted a Teaching for Mastery approach to teaching maths. Mastery is an approach where children must achieve a secure level of understanding in prerequisite knowledge before moving forward to learn new skills, valuing depth over breadth. Our approach is underpinned by the ‘5 big ideas’. These are:
- Coherence – ensuring small step progression through each concept.
- Representation – using a concrete, pictorial abstract approach with consistent models and images across each year group.
- Variation – ensuring that children are presented with mathematical concepts in a suitable order to develop their ability to spot patterns and generalise. Each question should build on prior learning. This also covers the use of conceptual variation where children will be shown things in multiple ways.
- Fluency – we aim for our children to be able to recall key number facts such as number bonds and times table and use these to solve more complex problems.
- Mathematical Thinking – we aim for all children to challenge their thinking and ask questions to deepen their understanding. We want them to spot patterns, make predictions and reason about their work.
Together these 5 areas enable children to be successful in mathematical problem solving, which is central to the Mathematics curriculum. We use Maths No Problem as our main scheme of work from EYFS up to Y6 but supplement this with other materials to ensure a broad curriculum that challenges our children. More information can be found on the NCETM website which we use to help us structure our curriculum: Five Big Ideas in Teaching For Mastery
Within lessons, children will have opportunities to solve problems and represent different concepts by using concrete, pictorial and abstract approaches. They will have lots of opportunities to talk, explain and justify their mathematical thinking, as they are taught to organise, compare, look for patterns and generalise.
In addition to Maths No Problem, we use Numbersense, Mastering Number and Times Tables Rockstars to supplement our Arithmetic Curriculum. Children from Y1-Y6 will take part in designated fluency sessions in addition to their main maths lessons. The aim of these sessions is to develop fluency in addition and subtraction facts as well times tables and ensure that children have developed a range of efficient strategies to tackle their maths work. We encourage all children to have a deep understanding of their maths work and not just through learning tricks.
Our school works closely with East Midlands South Maths Hub and are part of a sustaining teaching for mastery workgroup. This ensures that we stay up to date with current changes and base our school development priorities around current research.