Our school vision
"This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118
Our curriculum vision for Mathematics - Our Intent
We believe that every child can achieve in maths by developing growth mind sets and encouraging, hard work, practice and resilience, using mistakes as learning opportunities. We follow the mastery approach and the school works closely with the NCETM (National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Maths) with involvement in Teacher Research Groups and local Maths Hubs to develop an interactive maths curriculum which allows children to deepen their understanding as far as they can.
Our mastery approach means that children are enabled to acquire a deeper understanding of maths concepts, one step at a time in lessons that embrace the Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract (C-P-A) approach, building on prior learning and helping them to see patterns and connections. Same-day ‘Keep Up’ interventions, if needed, support children’s progress. Precise use of mathematical language allows children to deepen their understanding as far as they can.
We try to bring maths to life with a range of cross curricular investigations and whole school themed days such as ‘Where’s the Maths?’ where children look for different aspects of maths in the world around them or through art; combining maths with World Book Day gave us the opportunity to explore maths through stories.
Read this useful blog which explains the rationale of the mastery approach: https://thirdspacelearning.com/blog/concrete-pictorial-abstract-cpa-maths/
We adopted the mastery approach for the following reasons:
Mastery is characterised by a belief that, by working hard, all children are capable of succeeding at mathematics. On this basis, whenever possible, we organise our lessons so that children are taught in mixed ability, single year groups of up to 17 children for maths. This is because our approach requires carefully structured teaching which is planned in small steps. This provides both the necessary scaffold for all to achieve, and the necessary detail and rigour of all aspects of the maths to facilitate deep thinking. The small steps are connected and concepts are built. This leads to generalisation of the maths, and the ability to apply it to multiple contexts and solve problems.
It is expected that those children who will achieve well on a particular topic may not necessarily be the same children who achieved well on other topics. An additional daily short session of 10 to 15 minutes is provided for any pupils who do not fully grasp the lesson content, in order that they 'keep up' with the class. Our experience shows that it is not always the same pupils who require this form of intervention and this boosts the self-belief of previously low-attaining pupils.
A focus on exposing the structure of mathematics and developing an understanding of how and why maths works is crucial to mastery. A key skill of the teacher is to be able to represent the maths in ways that provide access and insight for pupils.
Concrete materials, contexts, drawings, diagrams and equations all play a role. These are discussed through opportunities for pupil-pupil and pupil-teacher talk, to develop reasoning, flexibility and adaptability in mathematical thinking.
Memorisation and repetition of key facts (times tables and number bonds etc.) are important aspects of learning. Evidence from cognitive science research suggests that learning key facts so they can be recalled automatically ‘frees up’ working memory. It can then focus on more complex problem solving, rather than reaching cognitive overload trying to calculate simple operations. In terms of procedural fluency and conceptual understanding, one should not be prioritised over the other. Learning is most effective when the two are fully integrated. Finchampstead School children have regular opportunities for retrieval practice so they have the skills to apply their known facts to reasoning and problem solving within lessons.
Teaching children precise mathematical language and insisting upon its use supports children's ability to think mathematically. Having the language and using it empowers children’s ability to think about the concept.