Maths in our school
Our aim is to ensure that all pupils are equipped with the skills and confidence to solve a range of problems through fluency with numbers and mathematical reasoning. Children are encouraged to develop a positive attitude to mathematics and enjoy developing vital life skills in this subject.
Within our school, we've worked with other local primary schools as well as the Maths Hub in order to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics.
Where appropriate for KS1 and KS2, we have introduced split lessons.
- Whole class together – we teach mathematics to whole classes and do not label children (this includes within the classroom). Lessons are planned based on formative assessment of what students already know and we include all children in learning mathematical concepts.
- Longer and but deeper – in order to address the aims of the NC, our long/medium term plans have been adjusted to allow for more time to be spent on topics. Each lesson focus is on one key conceptual idea and connections are made across mathematical topics. Although the pace of the lesson is slower, progress and understanding is enhanced.
Questions will probe pupil understanding throughout and responses are expected using precise mathematical vocabulary.
- ‘Tricky bits’ are identified during the planning process and children will be supported through these
- Fluency – Fluency with basic facts - there is a whole school focus on developing an instant recall of facts, such as number bonds, times tables and unit + unit addition facts. Regular homework, Times table rock stars, purple mash and numeracy ninja activities support this.
- At the beginning of each lesson, the children are presented with a task or a problem to explore using their existing knowledge.
- Develop reasoning and deep understanding – where possible, problems are set in real life contexts - carefully chosen representations (manipulatives and images) are used by all to explore concepts. These representations might appear in books as children show their understanding. The use of practical resources, pictorial representations and recording takes place.
- Step by step approach – the lesson steps may appear small, especially at the beginning of a lesson, there are points when suddenly a jump appears to have been made, or an extra challenge appears.
Questions to challenge thinking
Teachers use questioning throughout every lesson to check understanding – a variety of questions are used, but you will hear the same ones being repeated; How do you know? Can you prove it? Are you sure? Is that right? ‘What’s the value? What’s the same/different about? Can you explain that? What does your partner think? Can you imagine? Listen out for more common questions you hear. Questions are also used to challenge children who have grasped the concept. Children are expected to listen to each other’s responses and may be asked to explain someone else’s ideas in their own words, or if they agree/disagree etc.
Recording and Work books
We encourage children to take pride in their books for maths, just as they would for any other lesson. We do not want children to attempt independent recording until we believe they are secure with the concept. We do not want them to practise errors, therefore teachers may decide to have a guided group working with them in a lesson (the TA may circulate).
- Discussion and feedback – pupils have opportunities to talk to their partners and explain/clarify their thinking throughout the lesson, but are expected to complete written work independently (unless working in a guided group with the teacher)
- Practising - not drill and practice but practice with variation
- Rapid intervention – in mathematics new learning is built upon previous understanding, so in order for learning to progress and to keep the class together pupils need to be supported to keep up and areas of difficulty must be dealt with as and when they occur. We do this through same day (whilst others are completing independent work) or early morning interventions. In addition, we still run intervention sessions outside of the maths lesson for some targeted children.
- Marking – the marking policy for mathematics acknowledges the different style of teaching in maths. The policy requires that learning is ticked and a comment is only made if/when a teacher feels this is necessary to move learning forward.
- SEN pupils – may be supported by additional adults, different resources, differentiated activities. They will also complete additional activities outside of the mathematics lesson