"Mathematics is the music of reason." - James Joseph Sylvester
In September 2019, Farne Primary School started its journey towards a mastery approach to the teaching and learning of mathematics. We understand that this will be a gradual process and may take time to fully embed. The rationale behind changing our approach to teaching mathematics arose from our involvement in the NCETM Maths Hub and the Primary National Curriculum 2014 which states:
- The expectation is that most pupils will move through the programme of study at broadly the same pace.
- Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly should be challenged through being offered rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration through new content.
- Those who are no sufficiently fluent with earlier material should consolidate their understanding through additional practice, before moving on.
Curriculum Aims and Purposes
All staff at Farne Primary School recognise the important role Mathematics plays in children’s everyday life as they grow and learn and it is our intention that all our children will leave us at the end of Key Stage Two having developed fluency in the fundamentals of mathematics. We strive to produce children who are confident, resilient mathematicians and well-prepared as they continue their journey into secondary school. Our Maths curriculum is balanced and progressive, with challenge for all throughout the school with the children building on their prior knowledge daily, termly and year on year. It is our intention that this will culminate in children developing skills of logical reasoning, problem solving and working systematically when approaching mathematical concepts, whether new or familiar as they will have a solid foundation in all basic principles.
Teaching for Mastery Principles
The 2014 National Curriculum for mathematics has been designed to raise standards in maths, with the aim that the large majority of pupils will achieve mastery of the subject. The intention of these approaches is to provide all children with full access to the curriculum, enabling them to achieve confidence and competence – ‘mastery’ – in mathematics, rather than many failing to develop the maths skills they need for the future. Our teaching for Mastery is underpinned by the NCETM’s 5 Big Ideas; Mathematical Thinking, Representation and Structure, Coherence, Variation and Fluency.
How we implement these key characteristics of Mastery in Mathematics at Farne Primary School:
- Achievable for All - Teachers reinforce an expectation that all pupils are capable of achieving high standards in mathematics whilst developing children’s resilience in the face of challenge. The large majority of pupils progress through the curriculum content at the same pace. Differentiation is achieved by emphasising deep knowledge and through individual support and intervention.
- Conceptual and Procedural Fluency - Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual and procedural knowledge, and assess pupils regularly to identify those requiring intervention so that all pupils keep up. Children are introduced to varied strategies to aid their understanding. These are often shortened to CPA approaches.
- C – concrete stage – children are using resources to help them find answers and explore concepts.
- P – pictorial stage – children are encouraged to use pictures, visual representations or simple jottings to help them solve a problem.
- A - abstract stage – children are using mental strategies to answer questions, solve problems and explain understanding.
Please see the examples in the Calculation Policy for more information.
- Deep and Sustainable Learning – Pupils’ learning of mathematical concepts is revisited and prior learning built upon continually throughout their primary school career. Lessons are designed with careful, small steps, questions and tasks to ensure that learning is not superficial.
- Challenge through Greater Depth and Problem Solving - Practice and consolidation play a central role in building fluency and understanding of underlying mathematical concepts in tandem. Problem solving activities are set to deepen knowledge and improve reasoning skills within the year group objectives rather than simply accelerating through content. Developing pupils’ understanding of why something works and giving them an appreciation of what they are doing rather than simply repeating routines deepens their knowledge of a concept.
Planning for Mastery in Mathematics: Teaching and Learning
Staff primarily use the White Rose Maths Schemes of Learning as a starting point in order to develop a coherent and comprehensive pathway through the different units of work. This ensures a balanced and progressive curriculum as children move through the school. Each unit may be taught for 2-3 weeks with staff assessing and monitoring the progress of all pupils throughout. From here, units may be extended, revisited or immediate intervention may be carried out to ensure that concepts covered will become embedded. The units are then broken down further into ‘smaller steps’ which is evident through weekly planning. Pupils are encouraged to make connections across mathematical areas to develop fluency, reasoning and problem solving skills, as well as developing an understanding of how it is applied across the curriculum.
The use of high quality materials and tasks support learning and are integrated into daily maths lessons. These may include White Rose Maths Premium Resources, Maths No Problem, NCETM Materials and NRICH. They also use a range of concrete manipulatives as the CPA approach is used throughout school.
Alongside our current teaching units each class teacher ensures that basic maths skills are reviewed daily through ‘Flashback 4’ which recaps place value, the four operations and fractions, keeping it fresh in the children’s minds. In Key Stage One and Key Stage Two children continue to develop their mental maths skills through weekly mental maths tests using the Rising Stars Maths tests in line with the National Curriculum 2014.
Marking and Assessment
The assessment of pupil progress in mathematics is the shared responsibility of class teachers, the subject leader and the senior leadership team.
Pupils’ daily work will be assessed against the specific learning objective for the lesson by teaching staff. Pupils’ may communicate their self-assessment of the lesson orally in Foundation Stage and through the use of a traffic light coloured dot in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. Teachers and support staff mark children’s daily work in line with Farne Primary School’s updated marking policy which allows for immediate, purposeful feedback that moves pupils’ learning forward and addresses any misconceptions, ensuring children are prepared for the next lesson. Where this is not possible within the lesson children access rapid, daily intervention in keeping with our school’s ‘Keep Up, Catch Up’ culture. Following the school’s marking policy, most corrections can be made within a lesson, however, challenges and EBI’s (Even Better Ifs) may be set to be completed at the beginning of the following lesson. This must always be in line with the Maths Mastery approach of problem solving rather than accelerated content.
Pupils take a Mathematics test at the end of each half term. These results of these tests are analysed and the results used to inform groups for intervention and guided sessions, allowing both group and individual needs to be met and to accelerate progress. Pupil progress is recorded, measured and analysed each half term, across each academic year and year on year to ensure each child is making the expected amount of progress. Intervention strategies are used, where appropriate, if a child is not meeting the targets set for them.
Please refer to the Smart MAT Assessment Policy for assessment details - Annex A.
See how our Curriculum Drivers help to guide our Science Curriculum.