Maths at St Mary’s
At St Mary’s we recognise that Mathematics equips pupils with a uniquely powerful set of tools that equip them to better understand and change the world.
We want all pupils to achieve mastery in Mathematics, to develop a love of the subject, an ability to connect areas of learning, develop fluency and logical reasoning, solve problems and think in abstract ways.
Our aspiration is that children will be competent mathematicians with a love of the subject, understanding the value of the skills that they are gaining in the wider world. We want all children to have positive attitudes towards mathematics so that they will be engaged and motivated to be able to achieve their true potential, taking passion for the subject with them into the wider world when they leave St Mary’s.
Our curriculum has been designed with well taught progressive steps. As part of their maths journey children will build on their previous learning, both within and between year groups. Children follow a concrete/ pictorial/ abstract approach in their learning. They will develop skills of resilience and determination in their work.
Fluency is a core requirement, and we develop this through daily maths sessions. Same day interventions are delivered to help children catch up quickly. We focus on mathematical methods and vocabulary. Mathematical vocabulary is developed throughout the curriculum so that children can more confidently discuss and explain their thoughts and ideas. Using an approach, which involves small steps with varied representations and structures, we build solid foundations from which our pupils can develop their problem-solving and grow as mathematicians.
Children cover a broad and balanced mathematical curriculum. Teachers reinforce an expectation that all children can achieve high standards in mathematics. Working on difficult problems, not giving up and challenging themselves enables children to be confident, engaged and talk passionately about their learning.
Using White Rose planning as an overarching scheme, allows teachers to plan progressive, small steps in learning, adapting tasks and problems to suit the needs of all pupils. When gaps in learning are identified, teachers draw on smaller steps from NCETM planning, First Class at Number or other targeted interventions, such as dyscalculia programmes.
Our daily maths sessions encourage the practice of previously learnt skills and rich mathematical discussion so that pupils feel comfortable to contribute at their own level of understanding. Our school has a supportive ethos, and our approaches encourage children to develop their collaborative and independent skills, as well as promoting empathy and the need to recognise the achievement of others. Mathematics is taught in mixed ability groups that focus on collaboration. Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly are challenged to dig deeper.
Maths skills, and methods, are taught progressively so ensure that children are always equipped for the next stage in their learning. Our school calculation policy ensures that there is consistency, and progression, in written methods helping children to build on, and retain, knowledge taught.
Substantive knowledge such as knowing number bonds and multiplication facts to be able to successfully tackle more challenging concepts and ideas is an essential part of our maths curriculum. Deliberate repeated practice helps children to build confidence, fluency and efficiency in order to secure this substantive knowledge into their long-term memories. Daily maths slots, as well as maths lessons, allow children to practise previously learned skills on a regular basis. We also use vehicles such as Times Tables Rockstars and Sumdog as tools to allow children to practise skills in a variety of contexts.
Children are encouraged to secure disciplinary knowledge by using and applying the knowledge that they've gained in maths lessons. Questions, and challenges, are provided daily to give children the opportunity to reason and problem solve. Problems are designed to nurture curiosity and children are given opportunities to work collaboratively and independently to apply what they have learnt. Children should also have the opportunity to apply knowledge across curriculum areas for example in Science and Geography.
Teachers are continually assessing pupils needs in mathematics, adapting lessons to accommodate the needs of all pupils. Pre and post assessments are used and the start and end each area of learning in mathematics to inform teaching and learning. Marking is designed to be meaningful to pupils and verbal, as well as written, feedback is given in, and after, lessons. Where there are gaps in learning, The Sandwell Test is used to inform teachers of smaller steps of progress and to ensure that interventions are successful. At the end of each academic year summative assessment takes place in the form of formal written tests to aid and inform teacher assessment. Our tracking system ensures that any gaps in learning, or difficulties, are recorded and addressed on a regular basis.
Our aim is that, by the end of their time at St Mary’s, children will develop a love of mathematics. They will fluently recall number bonds and times table facts recognising relationships between numbers and methods. Children will have a secure knowledge of appropriate written methods and successfully choose the most efficient way to solve problems. They will apply their mathematical knowledge confidently to reason and problem solve in various contexts. Our children will be able to discuss mathematics with confidence using correct vocabulary and explaining the reasons behind their own mathematical thinking. They will not be afraid to take risks and make mistakes to further their mathematical knowledge. They will be well prepared for the next steps in their Maths education and will realise the value of the subject in the world beyond school.