At St Thomas of Canterbury Primary School, our intention is for all pupils, regardless of background, to have a rich and meaningful mathematics education. We want our pupils to foster a love for the subject, allowing pupils of all abilities to grow in both mathematical confidence and mathematical competence. We teach a wide and progressive curriculum using mathematics to reason, problem solve and develop fluent conceptual understanding in each area. Through mathematical talk, pupils are encouraged to explore mathematics in depth and a wide variety of strategies are introduced to the children allowing them to choose the most efficient for the task. Resilience and perseverance are actively encouraged when faced with a challenge.
Our school aims:
- To promote enjoyment and enthusiasm for learning through practical activity, exploration and discussion
- To develop logical thinking and reasoning skills through a natural curiosity and investigative approach
- To promote confidence and competence so that children are ‘proud to shine’ about their achievements
- To develop a thorough knowledge and understanding of place value and numbers in daily lessons
- To develop the ability to solve problems through decision-making and reasoning in a range of contexts with increasing independence
- To develop a practical understanding of the ways in which information is gathered and presented
- To explore features of shape and space, and develop measuring skills in a range of contexts
- To understand the importance of mathematical skills in everyday life.
At St. Thomas’, we use the national curriculum objectives as the basis for all our planning and delivery of mathematics. Class teachers also use elements of Broadbent Maths and the White Rose mastery approach for their planning to provide the children with a rich and balanced mathematics curriculum. This ensures that the appropriate written methods and mathematical skills are taught to show progression across the key stages.
Our long-term plans outline the mathematical focuses for the year and are divided into eighteen, two week units. This ensures pupils have sufficient time to use and apply the methods and concepts they have been taught. Teachers use their professional judgment to decide if more coverage of a particular area of mathematics is needed during or at the end of each unit.
We also use short-term plans. These provide more detail than the long term plans as they include the key objectives, types of question, teaching input and differentiated group activities for each mathematics lesson.
Our one hour daily lessons have a high proportion of whole-class and group teaching, some of which will be in mixed ability groups. During these lessons we encourage children to ask as well as answer mathematical questions. Children are shown a variety of models, images and resources to enhance their learning. There are a wide range of manipulatives available in each classroom such as number lines, number squares, digit cards and small apparatus to support their work, and children are encouraged to choose their own resources where possible. Time is also dedicated to discussing the objectives and success criteria for each lesson, and children are encouraged to complete self and peer evaluations.
In all classes there are children of differing mathematical ability. We recognise this fact and provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. Problem solving is an important part of the maths curriculum and teachers enable children to take risks, make mistakes and learn from their experiences. Teachers explore misconceptions with children in order to deepen their knowledge. It is important that children are not moved on through the curriculum until they have mastered a subject and activities should promote depth before breadth. Problem solving activities are integral to every lesson, however, whole lessons may be dedicated to tackling larger problems or investigations as a class or in groups.
Mental strategies are introduced to children and taught throughout the year, when appropriate. It is vital that children know, and understand, their times tables as these are valuable in all aspects of mathematics. Time each week is dedicated to the teaching of these, as appropriate for the year group, and they are tested weekly.
Children across the school are given a Mathletics login to encourage home learning. This consolidates the learning in the classroom and the children’s achievements are celebrated in weekly assemblies.
Teachers measure the impact of their teaching on the pupils’ learning by noticing:
- A flexibility and fluidity to move between different contexts and representations of mathematics
- The ability to recognise relationships and make connections in mathematics
- Quick recall of facts and procedures
- They are able to demonstrate their mathematical reasoning both verbally and in writing to explain how they know
A pupil who has excelled within a mathematical concept or skill has acquired ‘greater depth’. This is when a pupil can show it in multiple ways, using the mathematical language to explain their ideas, and can independently apply the concept to new problems in unfamiliar situations.
When pupils struggle or fail to meet learning objectives teachers:
- Provide opportunities for pupils to consolidate their learning
- Target their teaching and questioning during lessons
- Adapt and change short term and long term plans
- Provide targeted questions in books which help teachers gauge individual pupil understanding
- Engage in verbal dialogue and provide feedback to the pupil
The progress of children is also monitored through more formal testing at the end of each term, with data tracked using 3BM spreadsheets. These assessments are used to compare to the national average and provide a form of moderation. In addition, key teachers and year groups attend moderation sessions with other schools throughout the year.
The impact of our mathematics curriculum is that children understand the relevance of what they are learning in relation to real world concepts. We have fostered an environment where mathematics is fun and pupils show a growth mindset to reaching their individual targets, knowing that the journey to finding an answer is the most important thing.