Mathematics at Settle Primary School
Our aim is to equip all pupils with the skills and confidence to solve a range of problems through fluency with numbers and mathematical reasoning. Children are encouraged to see the mathematics that surrounds them every day and enjoy developing vital life skills in this subject.
At Settle C.E. Primary School we have just started a journey over the last year in order to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics. If you are taking a look around the school however, it may be useful for you to have a little advance notice of things you will start to see in lessons – things that may look different to other schools, or the way lessons/books looked a few years ago.
The three aims of the NC should be addressed every day – Fluency, Reasoning and Problem Solving.
We use the White Rose planning documents from Reception to Year 6.
We have also recently adapted our calculation policy to include CPA (concrete, pictoral, abstract) strategies and also an overview to guide new and existing teachers on a typical ‘mastery’ lesson structure. This will evolve and adapt as we develop more mastery strategies across school. This is our key document to accompany the White Rose planning.
Also see our Calculation Policy documents.
Whole class together – we teach mathematics to whole classes and do not label children (this includes within the classroom). Lessons are planned based on formative assessment of what students already know and we include all children in learning mathematical concepts. At the planning stage, teachers consider what scaffolding may be required for children who may struggle to grasp concepts in the lesson and suitable challenge questions/activities/open-ended investigations for those who may grasp the concepts rapidly. Decisions are not made about who these children may be prior to the lesson.
Longer and but deeper – in order to address the aims of the NC, our long/medium term plans have been adjusted to allow longer on topics. Each lesson focus is on one key conceptual idea and connections are made across mathematical topics. To outsiders it may appear that the pace of the lesson is slower, but progress and understanding is enhanced. Our assessment procedures recognise that the aims of the curriculum cannot be assessed through coverage (ticking many objectives off a list) but through depth within a topic. We follow the White Rose Scheme of Work and use the complementary White Rose Assessments.
Learning points are identified during and a clear journey through the maths is shown (also reflected on working walls). Concrete resources and pictorial images are used to scaffold and challenge learning. Questions will probe pupil understanding throughout.‘Tricky bits’ are identified during the planning process and children will be supported through these.
Fluency – We recognise that ‘fluency’ is not just about remembering facts and develop all aspects of fluency through lessons; this is clear to see when looking at whiteboards.
Instead of ‘Let me teach you…’ as a starting point, children are encouraged to explore a problem themselves to see what they already know. At the beginning of each lesson this exploration is referred to as the ‘anchor task’. Lesson objectives are not shared with the children at the beginning of the lesson, because we want the children to reason for themselves. At some point from the middle or even at the end of the lesson, the children will be asked what they’ve been learning that day. These are recorded on the teachers flipcharts and children can add them to their books.
Develop reasoning and deep understanding (contexts and representations of mathematics) – problems are usually set in real life contexts - carefully chosen representations (manipulatives and images) are used by all to explore concepts. These representations will appear in books where appropriate as children show their understanding. The use of practical resources, pictorial representations and recording takes place in most lessons (the CPA approach). This may be seen on flipcharts, displays, on tables and/or in books.
Structuring - the teacher will organise the findings of the exploration, compare/contrast strategies and guide toward the most efficient strategy (or the one being learnt that day).
Step by step approach – journey through the mathematics (these steps may appear small, especially at the beginning of a lesson, there are points when suddenly a jump appears to have been made, or an extra challenge appears – this is normal). Teachers’ flipcharts will clearly show this step by step approach.
Questions to challenge thinking – teachers use questioning throughout every lesson to check understanding – a variety of questions are used, but you will hear the same ones being repeated; How do you know? Can you prove it? Are you sure? Is that right? ‘What’s the value? What’s the same/different about? Can you explain that? What does your partner think? Can you imagine? Can you persuade others?
Questions are also used to challenge children who have grasped the concept. Children are expected to listen to each other’s responses and may be asked to explain someone else’s ideas in their own words, or if they agree/disagree etc.
Due to the episodic style of the lessons with frequent questioning, lessons may appear to move slower than in the past. There will be more talking and less recording in books. At times, children may record work during the teaching input. At times, this will be an independent task, depending on concept being taught.
The recording that does take place however, shows greater depth of understanding and intelligent practice. We do not want children to attempt independent recording until we believe they are secure with the concept. We do not want them to practise errors, therefore teachers may decide to have a guided group working with them in a lesson (the TA may circulate) or vice versa.
Discussion and feedback – pupils have opportunities to talk to their partners and explain/clarify their thinking throughout the lesson, but are expected to complete written work independently (unless working in a guided group with the teacher).
Books - recording the learning – in Y1 – Y6 you will see maths books used for both journaling activities and practice – we are at a transitional stage at the moment. We are developing how we use our books to record with those from other schools on the Mastery Specialist Programme.
Practising - not drill and practice but practice characterised by variation – will be recorded in maths books, supported by detailed medium term plans & ongoing CPD.
Rapid intervention (same day/next day catch up) – in mathematics new learning is built upon previous understanding, so in order for learning to progress and to keep the class together pupils need to be supported to keep up and areas of difficulty must be dealt with as and when they occur. We do this through same day/next day interventions of up to 20 minutes, although this needs to be further planned for and embedded throughout school. In addition, we still run intervention sessions outside of the maths lesson for some targeted children.
Marking – the marking policy for mathematics acknowledges the different style of teaching in maths, and follows the NCETM guidelines published April 2016. The policy requires that learning is ticked and a comment is only made if/when a teacher feels this is necessary to move learning forward. Highlighting the ‘title’ shows if the learning objective has been achieved (green – ‘super green’ can be used if a child is showing evidence of working at a greater depth) or more practice is needed (amber). Gap tasks may appear for individual children in their books, but usually gaps are addressed through same day/next day catch up and therefore will not be recorded in books, except with a SDI/NDI symbol. The most valuable feedback is given during a lesson. Children are encouraged to self/peer assess.
Planning – we no longer make traditional plans. We feel teachers’ time is better spent structuring flipcharts and thinking about lesson structure, small steps and the sequence of a lesson and to plan for when it is beneficial to work with concrete and pictoral resources. Challenge activities are highlighted green, whilst ways to support pupils struggling to grasp a concept is highlighted purple. These are then used as our planning documents throughout the week.
SEN pupils – may be supported by additional adults or different resources. They will also complete additional activities outside of the mathematics lesson. Ways to support these pupils are highlighted purple. Maths packs are available in every class with additional resources such as multiplication squares, etc.
KIRFs/Times Tables – please see our page on Times Tables Rockstars and KIRFs to read about how we use these to help children with their fluency in maths.
We do not label our children. We have high expectations of all children and strongly believe that all children are equally able in mathematics. Some may take longer to grasp concepts and may need careful scaffolding or extra time/support (guided groups, same day catch-up, additional homework, pre-teaching, intervention group, morning/after school clubs, specific support)
Please see the below 'Thinking CAPS' for a brief overview of the curriculum statements and example calculation methods taught and used at our school in each year group.
Please see the following attachments:
- Calculation Policy - shows the different ways we will be using practical equipment and images to support your child's understanding.
- Thinking CAPs document - shows the formal methods for recording calculations children will be working towards in each year group.
- Maths progression - shows the objectives pupils will be working on across the maths curriculum in different year groups.
- Maths Vocabulary - vocabulary used (by year group).