We believe that all children can succeed in Maths.
We strive to develop children that are independent learners, fluent Mathematicians and have a strong motivation for challenge.
At the heart of our Maths ethos, we are determined that our children are fully engaged and enthusiastic about the Maths that they are learning; alongside understanding the relevance and purpose of it in their everyday lives. We want our children to have an understanding of how useful Maths is to them so that we can help them to achieve their ambitions and not be held back by social disadvantage. We believe that connectivity is essential for children in order for them to extend their knowledge and to grow a deeper understanding. Across our school, we ensure that teaching is consistent so that children can grow as they progress from year group to year group. We have a mastery approach to the teaching of Maths so that pupils acquire a ‘deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject’ (NCETM). We aim to create ambitious learners who are always striving to explore Maths further and build upon prior knowledge. At East-the-Water Primary School we aim for all children to:
- become fluent in the fundamentals of Mathematics
- reason Mathematically
- be able to solve problems by applying their Mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication.
The teaching of the Maths national curriculum at East-the-Water Primary School begins in the early years setting, where children are encouraged to explore Maths everyday through play. We begin by introducing children to number; surrounding them with opportunities to explore different Mathematical concepts. The classrooms provide continuous stimuli – from displays to interactive free-play activities – children are encouraged to investigate through counting, recognising numbers and role play.
As children progress through the school, our teaching is implemented using all aspects of the connective model.
We believe that for children to effectively learn Maths, they must be able to make connections between Mathematical representations: symbols, Mathematically structured images, context and language. Every classroom displays each part of the connective model as children work through different units in Maths, in order to encourage and develop children’s connections between the four aspects of it. To put it simply: ‘The greater the number of connections created, the more secure their learning will be’ (Knight, 2019).
Daily counting and arithmetic warm ups ensure that all children develop fluency with number and practise key skills that they need to be able to apply quickly to all problems that they solve in Maths. Alongside this, we ensure that teachers are pre teaching areas of the curriculum daily so that children are familiar with the language and images for when they face them in future. Through the use of pre-teaching, we minimise children’s experiences of ‘failure’ in Mathematics (Lalley and Miller, 2006). As a result of pre-teaching, children also feel more positive and it boosts their confidence during whole class learning (Trundley et al, 2017).
For sustained learning, we know that children need to keep revisiting areas of Maths in order to embed knowledge. Through pre-teaching and recapping, we revisit areas of the curriculum daily to ensure what we teach is embedded rather than forgotten. This constant exposure results in the concepts being transferred to long-term memory: they can concentrate less on the subjects they have learnt (due to automaticity), and focus on the new concept they are being introduced to. (McCourt, 2019).
Varied fluency underpins all the planning that teachers carry out enabling children to apply their understanding to a variety of different situations, preparing children for real life Maths situations. To further develop this, we ensure Mathematical connections are made in the wider curriculum, including in Science, History and Geography. This exposure to Mathematical content allows the children to note where they will use their learnt skills each day, inspiring them to consider future paths and helping them to realise the opportunities available to them.
It is essential to us that no child is held back by a lack of vocabulary and we therefore ensure that we teach vocabulary in Maths in alignment with how vocabulary is taught across the school. Pupils are exposed to rich and varied Mathematical language. Daily number talks provide a low stake environment where children can develop their approaches to problems by working with their peers. Children are encouraged to independently select manipulatives to support their own progression and understanding. Through the ‘consistent use of the same representations across year groups [we can] help to connect prior learning to new learning’ (DfE Maths Guidance). At our school, manipulatives are used from early years to year six consistently to aid progression and support understanding, allowing children to explore concepts through both familiar and new methods.
Children’s higher level thinking skills are developed through the use of challenge in every Maths lesson. These challenges push children to apply their understanding and play with the knowledge they have acquired in a range of different ways.
We consistently refer to the ‘Ready-to-Progress’ criteria (DfE), ensuring that teachers are always aware of what learning has preceded their current teaching, and that they understand which parts of the Maths curriculum have not been fully understood.
At East-the-Water Primary School, we assess pupil understanding with a low stake, high frequency approach. We believe that this allows all children to both ample opportunities to contribute as well as the opportunity to challenge the children’s understanding, all without the child questioning their abilities: they are showcasing them. The teachers ask varied questions, targeting different areas of knowledge, allowing the teacher to adapt their teaching to accommodate to the ever-changing needs of the child (Jones, 2018).
It is our goal that children will leave East-the-Water Primary School with:
- fluent arithmetic skills
- the confidence and independence to approach any Maths problem
- the ability to talk about Maths and explain their understanding
- a passion for solving problems independently
- an understanding of why Maths is important
- a desire to be lifelong learners in Maths
- an awareness of Mathematical concepts in daily life