Maths Subject Leader: Mrs Kathryn Cameron
At Abbeyfields, we believe that the teaching of mathematics should equip children with the strategies, knowledge and mathematical language to help them to understand and make sense of the world around them. We help the children to see that Maths is an integral part of everyday life.
We aim to ensure that our children develop a healthy and enthusiastic attitude towards mathematics, and help them become confident, lifelong learners. When walking around school, the ‘working buzz’ is evident throughout all stages, from Nursery to Year 4. When asked, the children say they ‘love Maths’, ‘their teachers help them to understand’ and they are keen to demonstrate their knowledge and skills.
Mathematics consists of a whole network of concepts and relationships, which children learn to use to communicate and to tackle a range of practical tasks and real life problems. Our aim is that all of our children become independent learners, who can apply logical reasoning, problem solving skills and the ability to think in abstract ways. Mathematics teaching and learning spans various points of the child’s day including within other curricular areas.
Our approach to the curriculum in mathematics is based upon a language rich, active learning experience. We believe that children learn best if they are exposed to new concepts with hands-on practice and clear modelling and repetition of key mathematical vocabulary. Our children are taught mathematical knowledge through the support of concrete resources (manipulatives) and pictorial representations, before moving on to a more abstract approach. We ensure that they have a firm grasp of the four key calculations, (addition, subtraction, division and multiplication), so that by the time our children leave in Year 4, they are confident with number facts, abstract learning and problem solving. Our learners can explain their thinking and reason effectively, drawing on knowledge from a range of concepts.
Children use practical equipment e.g. Numicon, counters and tens frames, to gain a solid understanding of mathematical concepts.
Pictorial representations linked directly to the concrete objects are introduced, which is a drawing or picture. This is sometimes used directly alongside the concrete resources to aid understanding.
Once children really understand the concept, they can then move into the abstract. This includes using numbers and symbols and formal written methods, as well as developing their mental recall of number facts.
Children move between the 3 stages regularly which helps them to see links between concepts and develop fluency and confidence in a range of areas.
The children’s mathematical thinking is challenged appropriately and extended through open-ended, high order questioning and problem solving activities, as well as variation in how problems and questions are presented. Sometimes lessons begin with a problem or problem solving and reasoning questions may feature throughout a lesson with the aim of building clear understanding and diminishing misconceptions.
Our Maths curriculum ensures coverage of the knowledge, skills and expectations, as set out in the National Curriculum programmes of study, as well as the EYFS framework. Content may be linked to teaching and learning in other subject areas, such as Science. The content may be adapted or changed, based upon the needs of specific cohorts.
Alongside this, we use the recently produced Department for Education materials, (Teaching Mathematics in Primary Schools Guidance, July 2020) and the White Rose Schemes of Learning for mathematics, to ensure that key learning and understanding has taken place by the end of a specific year group, ensuring children are then ready to extend and deepen their knowledge in subsequent years. In light of disruptions due to Covid, we have adapted the curriculum to meet the needs of the children. This has been done with reference to the DFE Ready to Progress Criteria to ensure that children’s learning in key areas has been prioritised and has helped children to build a secure understanding without ‘gaps’.
Teacher’s also plan real-life problems for the children and ensure mathematical experiences through stories are also used to further enhance the children’s learning and experience of meaningful maths.
Maths is taught through the mastery approach. This helps children to take small steps of progress, at a suitable pace, in order to build secure and long term knowledge and understanding. Our Long Term planning is guided by White Rose Maths, to ensure a broad and balanced Curriculum. It is also enhanced by supporting materials from NCETM and other online resources such as NRich.
Within each daily lesson or weekly overview, class teachers carefully plan the specific outcomes for their year group, based upon age appropriate knowledge and skills, as well as the needs of the cohort of individuals within it.
Each lesson begins with a recap of prior learning. This may include use of Flashback 4 or similar quizzes (WRM). Key mathematical vocabulary is then reinforced or introduced as a further opportunity to ensure that children have learnt and remembered what has previously been taught. This often includes key sentences or Stem sentences.
Questioning is used to check their understanding, prior knowledge and address key misconceptions, before new concepts or skills are introduced.
Modelling is used by class teachers to clarify expectations, children are then given plentiful opportunities to consolidate, build upon and apply basic skills in through fluency practise (including variation in questions and activities). The children strive for independent practise and application of skills. Our children are taught how to reason and this becomes an expectation throughout their mathematics learning. Problem solving opportunities are interwoven throughout mathematics lessons, as well as other daily opportunities, so that children can apply the knowledge and skills that they have learnt.
The use of working walls develops children’s ability to work independently and problem solve for themselves.
Fluency practise and ‘Fast Maths’
In Reception and Key Stage 1, the children take part in additional maths sessions, outside of their daily maths lesson. These follow the NCETM Mastering Number Programme and help the children to develop a clear understanding of number representations and structures as well as number facts. The Rekenreks are used as a key manipulative and visual prompt. Year 3 and 4 also teach a daily mental maths session, often focussing on Times Tables, to build knowledge and speedy recall of multiplication and division facts. Sessions may include the use of interactive online games e.g. Times Table RockStars. This helps to give children the skills they require to further their wider mathematical skills and also to ensure they are appropriately equipped to tackle the end of Year 4 Multiplication Assessment.
Clear strategies are used for the teaching of the four calculations, children are then ready to engage in mastery elements of the mathematics curriculum. Progression and consistency is ensured with the main feeder schools through joint planning and curriculum development.
Throughout school, we have introduced Purple Zone. This is a time during a lesson when the children work completely independently on a carefully planned task. Children work in silence and remain focused for a short time of approximately 3-10 minutes, depending on their stage. We have seen that the children feel a sense of accomplishment at the end and are increasing in resilience. This approach helps us to fulfil our aim to develop independent learners who have a positive attitude towards mathematical challenges.
Our intent for mathematics in the early years is that children have a deep understanding of the number system, first to 5 and then to 10 in order to prepare them for Key Stage 1 and further. Maths features highly in daily routines, particularly during the EYFS and opportunities are maximised for cross-curricular learning. Subitising is a skill prioritised in EYFS and this helps the children to see numbers and manipulate them further.
Maths is taught daily as part of a focussed, discrete teaching activity in EYFS. Children are then provided with learning activities based upon this teaching, so that they can refine and develop their knowledge and start to apply their skills. Mathematics challenges, as well as opportunities to apply skills and embed knowledge, are carefully planned for through the areas of provision in both the indoor and outdoor learning environments, including our Forest School.
Ongoing assessments of the children’s knowledge and skills are observed daily by the class teacher. Misconceptions are addressed and next steps carefully planned. Children’s outcomes are compared to the subject specific skills and knowledge documents, as well as the year group expectations from the National Curriculum or EYFS Framework. Regular assessments are collated for children in EYFS and Key Stage 1 which are used to inform end of phase assessments.
Our mathematics curriculum has a clear impact on pupils’ independence, resilience and problem solving skills. Pupils are confident to try new learning and to persevere. Children frequently work in learning partners to aid discussion and a shared approach to problem solving. Partners or groupings are varied regularly to maintain a good balance of different learning styles. Relationships are promoted as children work collaboratively, listen to and question the ideas of others. Children are expected to develop their independence and resilience when carrying out challenges, sometimes with guidance and other times independently.
Mathematical vocabulary is of high importance across school. From Nursery upwards children are exposed to a wide range of vocabulary through lessons, day to day interactions and through carefully chosen books and stories. Our teaching and learning opportunities ensure all children are introduced to and reminded of key vocabulary. Our teaching and learning opportunities ensure all children are introduced to and reminded of key vocabulary. Development of mathematical language is seen as a prerequisite to introducing a new concept in mathematics and there is a consistency in the approach of mathematical vocabulary used throughout school. Children are encouraged and rewarded for using this language in their learning, play and explanations. This allows them to practise asking questions and encourages them to articulate answers by reasoning and using evidence from their learning. Vocabulary and stem sentences feature on our classroom working walls.