Intent- What are we trying to achieve through our curriculum?
The national curriculum (2014) for mathematics aims to ensure that the pupils:
- Become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
- Reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language.
- Can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.
At St George’s C of E School, we want students to have a love of learning mathematics through a NURTURING approach where all children develop a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts, building upon solid foundations in EYFS, as they move through St. George’s. We aim to create an ambitious, connected curriculum accessible to all pupils where the children access high quality maths that is both enjoyable yet challenging that inspires and excites the children to LEARN and SUCCEED. We place great emphasis on mathematical language and questioning so pupils can discuss the mathematics they are undertaking, and so support them to take ideas further in order for them to reason and take their ideas further. It is vital to us that the children are confident, resilient learners who are not afraid to take positive risks: in turn, creating determination and rigour as they make sustained progress over a period of time. We feel that it is pivotal that the children need opportunities to make connections across mathematical ideas and build upon prior knowledge to develop fluency, mathematical reasoning and competence in solving increasingly more difficult problems. It is important that our children leave St George’s with maths skills ready to use in their wider world. We want to ensure that maths is taught with a ‘lifelong’ approach so that they recognise it is not just something you need at school but for life after school and employment.
Implementation- How is our curriculum delivered?
Ensuring a coherent scheme of work that challenges all students
The long-term overview ensures that, throughout the school, skills are built upon each year, and, with the support of the calculation policy, formal methods are age-appropriate. There is an emphasis on number skills first, carefully ordered, throughout the curriculum. Our actions have resulted in using a small step approach to planning which is again sequenced in order of difficulty and dependency. Each step builds carefully from the previous step, building on pupils’ prior knowledge to develop new skills, with nothing left out. Pupils are ready for this having covered the appropriate skills in the previous year and will repeat in the following academic year. The Maths curriculum is designed to use skills that have already been learnt in different contexts (sometimes called ‘interleaving’) whenever we can. This helps pupils to remember and to make connections between different parts of the curriculum. We try to include examples where skills and knowledge are revisited during the lessons; one benefit of this is the ability to reduce cognitive overload. This occurs through the lesson input, modelling and scaffolding, and in the children’s independent tasks. Recall and retention activities are used in all lessons through a ‘reactivate’ task can be seen to use the principles of yesterday, last week, two-three weeks ago, last term or last year.
As a school, we have tried to combine the best approaches of matched, mastery and spiral curriculums. We like to follow the mastery principles – spending longer on topics to help gain deeper understanding, making connections, and a fundamental belief that, through effort, all pupils are capable of understanding, doing and improving at mathematics. We also recognise that just spending a good chunk of time on a topic doesn’t mean that all pupils will ‘master’ it the first time they see it, and that they need to see it again and again in different contexts and in different years to help them truly develop their understanding on their journey to mastery, so revisiting and reinforcing features form part of a spiral curricula too. The curriculum spirals back to each topic throughout the primary phase. The key components of fluency, reasoning and problem solving are all Key components of learning mathematics that are included in all of the stages of learning. We believe these should be integrated into classroom practice as much as possible in the order that is appropriate for the step, e.g. the process of division may be introduced by a problem about sharing or grouping for which we need to become fluent at the procedure.
Common misconceptions and key teaching/learning points are included in all schemes of work to aid planning and inform student questioning.
Formal methods and written calculations are part of every lesson, and reasoning is threaded through each topic to ensure mastery depth. We have a bespoke concrete, pictorial, abstract approach built into our calculation policy that uses physical and visual aids to build a child’s understanding of abstract topics. Pupils are introduced to a new mathematical concept through the use of concrete resources (e.g. fruit, Base Ten, Place Value Counters etc). When they are comfortable solving problems with physical aids, they are given problems with pictures – usually pictorial representations of the concrete objects they were using. Then they are asked to solve problems where they only have the abstract i.e. numbers or other symbols; some children will still use the concrete and pictorial to scaffold the abstract. Building these steps across a lesson can help pupils better understand the relationship between numbers and the real world, and therefore helps secure their understanding of the mathematical concept they are learning. Consistency of practise results in the children building a robust understanding of abstract topics, building confidence and resilience and being positive risk-takers in their learning.
We use staff CPD time/PPA time to discuss the planning and pedagogy of forthcoming topics as well as coaching conversations with the Mathematics Lead. In addition, we share different strategies, resources, and assessments for learning techniques to ensure all teachers know how to differentiate down for all students.
Reviewing the schemes of work
We use management time, phase meetings and senior leadership meetings to discuss the pitch of lessons for different ability groups and strategies in Mathematics that we can adopt. As a result of summative and formative assessment, adaptations can be made when appropriate to inform future subject content as well as targeted groups of children for intervention- both in and out of lesson time. We adjust the SoW for our classes as a whole accordingly in line with the needs of the class. We recognise that it is important that our children leave St George’s with maths skills ready to use in their wider world. We want to ensure that maths is taught with a ‘lifelong’ approach so that they recognise it is not just something you need at school but for life after school and employment. One example of effectiveness in this area is the close links with HSBC.
Following school data analysis and pupil progress meetings, various interventions are put in place for the bottom 20%. As a school, we have academic tutors who support Year 4 and Year 6, due to the statutory assessment points. Teaching Assistants also support across the school delivering afternoon interventions where needed based on the needs of the children in each class targeting the bottom 20%. Within class, the teacher and TA deliver interventions where they target children that have been identified by pupil progress meetings. Throughout the intervention process, the children are tracked and monitored from data collection points to ensure positive progress is occurring.
Applying the skills students learn
Children take part in termly NFER tests in Years 3, 4, 5 and statutory testing in year 2 and 6. Using the termly NFER and mock SATS testing, data captures are planned across the year to aid data analysis and more targeted interventions or make adaptions to the long term/medium term planning to close any gaps.
Mastery and Matched
Through elements of the mastery approach supporting the children to attain a greater understanding, we allow the children to take part in their year group content with scaffolded support. Where children are working significantly lower than their year group expectations, matched learning opportunities are also used to support the children using both scaffolding and adult support. A codified approach to Maths using a modelling, guided practice and independent learning can be seen that builds up the children’s confidence and independence throughout the learning sequences. Lessons will enable the children to reactivate past knowledge to draw from prior learning; I do (a modelled taught section using the CPA approach in small steps); we do (guided practice) and a you do (differentiated independent practice) section. Through this process, the children are given the opportunity to work through a lesson with scaffolding and not having a ceiling on their learning at their appropriate level.
As a result of prolonged thinking time, top-down differentiation and using a range of manipulatives, students develop a growth mindset and are more likely to take risks in their learning.
Embedding Quality Teaching and Learning
Our Maths curriculum offer is successfully adapted to meet the needs of all pupils including those with SEND. Matched learning is a key element of our teaching to ensure that all children can progress at their appropriate level with increased fluency and independence. This approach can take different forms, from the use of concrete manipulatives as well as pictorial; scaffolding; adult support; or even a personalised curriculum for some children. In addition, we follow the great teaching framework alongside the main principles of Rosenshine to ensure that the assessment, delivery and feedback follow the principles of quality first teaching to aid pupil attainment and progress.
To make learning exciting, our interactions with the students help to personalise feedback and promote independence. In addition, we encourage risk-taking by rewarding processes rather than the outcome. We use learning walks and development observations as a way to monitor this.
Feedback is especially important within Maths at St George’s. We use immediate, live feedback within lessons to gain a good understanding of children’s attainment with lessons. Feedback can be seen in various forms from verbal feedback to teacher and TA marking to self and peer marking- all of which have a place within our Mathematical feedback strategies. Feedback in lessons allows teachers to plan and adapt for future lessons. Pupils are given sufficient time to respond to feedback and edit and improve their work based on feedback given on misconceptions.
Supporting teachers to deliver excellence
We develop teachers through a process of the plan – do – review cycle where coaching conversations are key to this process. We use learning walks and student conversations as a barometer of student engagement in the lesson. In addition, termly assessment results check performance. Teacher Support includes 1-2-1 teacher coaching by the Mathematics Coordinator, CPD via staff meetings and feedback after Developmental Review cycles. Learning walks, teacher discussions, and assessment data are used to measure the impact of these support strategies. Evidence from monitoring indicates are developing a good knowledge if this subject and this is result of leaders being able to provide effective support.
Vocabulary is a driver to support the children’s outcomes in Maths. Through robust subject documentation, clear vocabulary per year group and topic has been chosen to support the children through their journey and beyond. This vocabulary will be discussed, used and encouraged to be used in the learning environment.
We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to develop in a safe learning environment. We instil the values of ‘Max, the Motivational Monkey’ into our children. His values are: it is okay to make mistakes as long as they learn from them; we want quality work; it’s okay to ask questions; we all learn together; and the answer is only the beginning. These values represent our desired learning behaviours at St George’s; we want the children to be resilient, positive risk takers, collaborative learners, inquisitive and deep thinkers. This is represented in Maths through the deeper thinking questioning, varied fluency, reasoning and problem-solving activities- we aim for high expectations.
As a school, we have purchased subscriptions to help your child improve their Maths at home. Please see the links below: