Our Approach to the Teaching of Mathematics
We adopt a mastery approach to the teaching and learning of mathematics across the school. Mastery means being able to use knowledge appropriately, fluently and creatively to apply it to new and unfamiliar situations.
- Future mathematical learning is built on solid foundations, which do not need to be re-taught meaning that a longer amount of time may be spent on one topic.
- Teachers reinforce an expectation that all pupils are capable of achieving high standards in maths.
- The large majority of pupils progress through the curriculum at broadly the same pace. Differentiation is achieved by emphasising deep knowledge for quick graspers and through individual support and timely intervention before the next lesson.
- All children are provided with models and images to support their understanding, moving to abstract representations when they are ready.
- Pupils who progress through learning rapidly are challenged to deepen their understanding through reasoning and problem solving.
We believe that a mastery approach will:
- Enable all children to succeed with no limits put on their learning.
- Provide children with deep, secure learning that is kept and can be applied and built on as the children move through the school.
- Develop children’s fluency, problem solving and reasoning.
- Help children to become independent, resilient learners with a positive mindset.
- Help children to become confident, clear explainers of mathematics.
Teaching and Learning:
- Whole class direct teaching provides clear and progressive modelling of concepts and procedures with sequences of varied examples. A few areas of learning are covered deeply across a half term.
- Core manipulatives and representations are used consistently to support ability to access learning and to deepen children’s understanding.
- Core facts and strategies are rehearsed through the development of frequent ‘intelligent rehearsal’ (Fluency Feeders). The fluency of number facts and mental calculations is practiced weekly through the cracking times tables scheme.
- Concrete and pictorial representations are used to explain concepts before children move to the abstract (CPA). Children have access to resources in every lesson as well as visual representations (seeing things in different ways to support variation theory). Some children will spend longer using concrete resources than others.
- Emphasis placed on ‘learning’ through reasoning, developing multiple strategies and concepts towards understanding. Opportunities for children to practise reasoning skills occur every day.
- All maths lessons begin with a reasoning starter which is linked to the main learning objective for the lesson. Language such as ‘the answer is….what is the question?, sometimes/always/never, true or false, prove that’ etc is used to prompt thinking. Opportunities for reasoning are exploited throughout the lesson as well as feeding into the developmental marking process to move children’s learning forwards. Strategies such as ‘thinking caps’ are used to promote reasoning skills as well as Inspire (KS1) and Nrich activities.
- Pupils ‘grappling’ with learning mathematical concepts
- Rich mathematical talk is given high status and supported by the learning environment and teachers’ questioning. Precise mathematical language is used by adults and children and developed and enhanced through paired talk.
- Differentiation is achieved through:
- adjustments to allow access to whole class learning or - increase in challenge through adjustment for depth and breadth to whole class learning.
- self-selected challenges to provide children with appropriate stretch.
- swift intervention to help those having difficulty to make sure they keep up, and to stretch and deepen the learning of the ‘rapid-graspers’
- manipulatives are available to support and/or challenge conceptual understanding depending on the needs of the pupis.
- Teachers work with a focus group each day to provide additional support for children who need to catch up or deepening the understanding for those pupils who have grasped the concept quickly. During focus group support, adults constantly assess next steps and diagnose misconceptions ready for future planning and teaching. Groups are flexible and based upon pupils’ understanding of the current learning in recognition that children grasp areas of maths at different rates. So, for example, a pupil might find learning an aspect of number difficult but may require challenge in geometric learning.
- Stretch and challenge are achieved through increasing opportunities for pupils to work deeply and broadly within each area of mathematics
- Teaching Assistants are well trained and as a result of their increased subject knowledge are able to support groups effectively
- The school invests in early intervention for mathematics. Intervention sessions will be short-term and sharply focussed upon specific needs. Leaders regularly assess the impact of these as part of the school monitoring cycle.
- Formative assessment identifies misconceptions and provides children with clear guidance on their next steps. Developmental comments are written to provide opportunities for children to practice skills or extend their thinking.
- Assessment criteria is used to judge how well individuals and groups of individuals are securing learning and to identify gaps and barriers. This allows the swift identification of groups of pupils in danger of not meeting age-related expectations or for whom progress has slowed.