Mathematics at Primrose Hill C of E Primary Academy
The National Curriculum states:
“Mathematics is a creative and highly inter-connected discipline that has been developed over centuries, providing the solution to some of history’s most intriguing problems. It is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment. A high-quality mathematics education therefore provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.”
Mathematics and being Mathematicians at Primrose Hill
At Primrose Hill we are passionate about supporting all children to have a positive learning attitude towards mathematics.
We aim to create a culture where all learning is seen within the context of meaning and purpose: learning is a journey we are ALL on, it is not something that is being done to us. As such, when talking about maths at Primrose Hill we talk about “being mathematicians”. We aim to develop children’s reasoning, logical thinking and problem solving skills by providing rich mathematical experiences where children can apply their knowledge of mathematics to everyday life.
Organisation of the curriculum
The new National Curriculum forms the basis for our long term planning; setting out the expectations in each year group. Our medium term planning organises the topics systematically term by term and our short term unit plans are prepared for daily teaching.
We follow ‘CanDoMAths’ and a link to their website can be found here.
A maths mastery approach is taken to the curriculum, in which fluency comes from deep knowledge and practice. This means that structured questioning is used to ensure that pupils develop fluent technical proficiency and think deeply about the underpinning mathematical concepts.
Focus is put on the development of deep structural knowledge and the ability to make connections, with the aim of ensuring that what is learnt is sustained over time.
Key aspects from a mastery approach are developed from the Early Years and continue throughout the school including: providing coherence and small steps to each mathematical concept therefore exploring concepts to a greater depth; adopting the concrete, pictorial, abstract (CPA) approach; focusing on fluency and making connections between known number facts; mathematical reasoning and thinking.
Intelligent and Deliberate Practice
A key feature of teaching for mastery is the precise design of pupil activities and practice questions, so that pupils are taken down a path where the thinking process is practised with increasing creativity rather than pupils repeating a mechanical activity. The arrangement of these tasks and exercises draw pupils’ attention to patterns, structure and mathematical relationships, thus providing ‘intelligent practice’ and the opportunity to deepen conceptual understanding. We use a range of significant strategies to develop and enhance the learning and teaching of mathematics including MOT sessions outside of the maths input.
We approach teaching with an ‘I do, we do, you do’ approach. Teachers will following the needs of the children and decide when to use each approach.
Pace and Depth
As much as possible the teaching team follow the concrete, pictorial and abstract (CPA) approach to mathematics. Where applicable, the children begin their learning in the concrete with a range of manipulatives to support their understanding. As their conceptual understanding develops they move towards the pictorial representation of the learning and finally to the abstract numeral and symbols. The children are able to record the ‘real story’ and the ‘maths story’. To develop fluency, reasoning and problem solving, we use ‘Try It’, Twist it’, ‘Solve It’ approach to developing independence ‘Try It’ ensures that learners have understood what the ‘concept is’; ‘Twist It’ enables them to develop skills around ‘what it is not’, and ‘Solve It’ deepens problem solving.
Use of Manipulatives/Resources
Children are introduced to and encouraged to use a range of models and manipulatives including Numicon, Cuisinaire and Dienes resources to support them in developing and showing their understanding of mathematics. We think carefully about how and when these resources are used to develop the children’s ability to talk about and demonstrate their understanding. As much as possible these resources are available in class to all children and they are encouraged to utilise these resources independently as well as when directed by adults.
All previous and present learning is presented on Working Walls in the classroom. These show the learning journey through the daily lesson objectives or WALTs (We Are Learning To…) and present a clear visual of the prior and present learning, with modelled steps for children to refer to therefore encouraging independent work. They also display key vocabularly which the children can use. These displays are pivotal in recording the learning journey throughout each unit. They are created with the children during the lessons so are relevant and purposeful.
The Calculation Policy sets out a clear progression throughout the school for the four operations. It shows the expectations for the end of each school year. It ensures continuity in the teaching and learning of each operation. The policy can be found here (PDF).
Fluency skills are taught throughout the academic year. This includes the modelling of mental strategies and time to practise key mental skills. Times table practise happens regularly throughout the week at school and home through Numbots and Times Table Rock Stars. Fluency is practised at any opportunity during the school day.