“Doing Mathematics should always mean finding patterns and crafting beautiful and meaningful explanations.” – Paul Lockhart
Teaching of Maths
We take great pride in our work at Mersey Park Primary School and our Maths work is no exception. We enjoy celebrating other people’s success and linking our Maths work to our curriculum topics.
The National Curriculum for Maths aims to ensure that all children:
- Become fluent in the fundamentals of Mathematics
- Are able to reason mathematically
- Can solve problems by applying their Mathematics
At Mersey Park, these skills are embedded within Mathematics lessons and developed consistently over time. We are committed to ensuring that children are able to recognise the importance of Mathematics in the wider world and that they are also able to use their mathematical skills and knowledge confidently in their lives in a range of different contexts. Maths is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment. We want all children to enjoy Mathematics and to experience success in the subject. We place a strong focus on ensuring our pupils are able to reason mathematically and explain their thinking. Right from the start of Foundation Stage, we model and encourage a curiosity about Mathematics, as well as an appreciation of the beauty, power and enjoyment of the subject.
Our whole curriculum is shaped by our school vision which aims to enable all children, regardless of background, ability and additional needs, to flourish to become the very best version of themselves they can possibly be.
At Mersey Park we foster positive can do attitudes through our Mersey Park Mindset and we promote the fact that ‘We can all do maths!’ We believe all children can achieve in mathematics, and teach for secure and deep understanding of mathematical concepts through manageable steps. We use mistakes and misconceptions as an essential part of learning and provide challenge through rich and sophisticated problems. At our school, the majority of children will be taught the content from their year group only. They will spend time becoming true masters of content, applying and being creative with new knowledge in multiple ways. Teachers reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards in Mathematics.
We teach the EYFS Framework and the National Curriculum, supported by a clear skills and knowledge progression as set out in our school’s calculation policy. To ensure whole consistency and progression, the school uses the DfE approved ‘Power Maths’ scheme. This ensures that skills and knowledge are built on year by year and sequenced appropriately to maximise learning for all children. Teachers use the ‘Power Maths’ scheme to structure their planning, however lessons are adapted to meet the needs of our pupils at Mersey Park. Problem solving activities are often linked to real life situations to ensure our Maths curriculum takes pupils beyond their own experiences. Lessons are also enhanced using other high quality resources such as White Rose and NCETM Teaching for Mastery.
We strive to ensure our pupils make rich connections across mathematical ideas to develop fluency, mathematical reasoning and competence in solving increasingly sophisticated problems. We also provide opportunities for pupils to apply their mathematical knowledge to science and other subjects and these opportunities are highlighted on our Foundation Subject Planning. The expectation is that the majority of pupils move through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace, and it is this inclusive approach which means pupils are provided with the support and scaffolding they need to access the mathematics curriculum. However, decisions about when to progress are based on the security of pupils’ understanding and their readiness to progress to the next stage. Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly are challenged through being offered rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration through new content. Those who are not sufficiently fluent with earlier material consolidate their understanding, through additional practice, before moving on. We encourage an inclusive environment with all of our curriculum and ensure all pupils, including those most vulnerable and those who are disadvantaged, have the opportunity to access the full and broad curriculum through carefully planned support and scaffolding as required.
Differentiation is achieved by emphasising deep knowledge and through individual support and intervention.
- Teaching is underpinned by methodical curriculum design and supported by carefully crafted lessons and resources to foster deep conceptual and procedural knowledge.
- Practice and consolidation play a central role. Carefully designed variation within this builds fluency and understanding of underlying mathematical concepts.
- Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual and procedural knowledge and assess children regularly to identify those requiring intervention, so that all children keep up.
EEF approved interventions such as 1stClass@Number and Success@Arithmetic are used to support children with gaps in learning to help them catch up quickly.
Children’s explanations and their proficiency in articulating mathematical reasoning, with the precise use of mathematical vocabulary, are supported through the use of stem sentences modelled by the teacher.
Mathematical topics are taught in blocks, to enable the achievement of ‘mastery’ over time. Each lesson phase provides the means to achieve greater depth, with children who are quick to grasp new content, being offered rich and sophisticated problems, as well as exploratory, investigative tasks, within the lesson as appropriate.
New mathematical concepts are shared within the context of an initial related problem, which children are able to discuss in partners. This initial problem-solving activity prompts discussion and reasoning, as well as promoting an awareness of maths in relatable real-life contexts that link to other areas of learning. Children are encouraged to solve problems each day through the use of concrete resources, pictorial representations and abstract thinking (the C-P-A approach). This helps children tackle concepts in a tangible and more comfortable way. Knowledge Organisers are used for each topic to revise key concepts and embed learning.
Teachers use careful questions to draw out children’s discussions and their reasoning. The class teacher then leads children through strategies for solving the problem, including those already discussed. Children then progress to supported or individual carefully planned practice where questions vary one small element at a time to move children on in their thinking. Children are then challenged through a variety of high-quality resources, including use of Mastery questions and Mild, Hot and Spicy challenges that allow children to choose their own level of challenge. This provides an opportunity for children to reveal the depth of their understanding before moving on to more complex related problems.
At Mersey Park, Children study mathematics in whole morning blocks covering a broad and balanced mathematical curriculum including elements of number, calculation, geometry, measures and statistics. Alongside mathematics sessions, an additional 10 minutes a day is spent practising Maths Dictionary (focussing on number fluency, counting skills, mathematical language, number facts, geometry and measure) to build fluency and precision in these areas and to think about numbers in a different way. Weekly lessons dedicated to number fluency have been introduced where children are encouraged to make links between known facts and new knowledge and practice number manipulation skills.
As well as this children in KS2 complete weekly skills checks which cover the full range of mathematical concepts for their year group to embed key concepts, practice written methods and recap mental methods. Due to the interconnected nature of mathematics, at Mersey Park we aim to teach maths in a cross curricular manner as well as discretely to teach the practical application of mathematical skills. We focus not only on the mathematical methods but also focus on mathematical vocabulary and to use Maths Mastery to broaden and deepen mathematical understanding.
From the 2019/20 academic year onwards, schools in England were due to administer an online multiplication tables check to year 4 pupils. The purpose of the multiplication tables check is to determine whether pupils can recall their times tables fluently, which is essential for future success in mathematics. It will help schools to identify pupils who have not yet mastered their times tables, so that additional support can be provided. To support the children with their multiplication practice we use ‘Times Table Rockstars’ as an online and fun learning platform which also offer resources to be used in the classroom.
The school has a supportive ethos and our approaches support the children in developing their collaborative and independent skills, as well as empathy and the need to recognise the achievement of others. Students can underperform in Mathematics because they think they cannot do it or are not naturally good at it. The Power Maths programme addresses these preconceptions by ensuring that all children experience challenge and success in Mathematics by developing a Mersey Park Mindset.
Regular and ongoing assessment informs teaching, as well as intervention, to support and enable the success of each child. These factors ensure that we are able to maintain high standards, with achievement at the end of KS2 in line or above the national average, as well as a steady proportion of children demonstrating greater depth, at the end of each phase.
Throughout each lesson formative assessment takes place and feedback is given to the children through marking and next step tasks to ensure they are meeting the specific learning objective. Teacher’s then use this assessment to influence their planning and ensure they are providing a mathematics curriculum that will allow each child to progress. Targets are used in children’s books each lesson to document progress. These targets are taken from the Ready to Progress Criteria for Years 1, 3, 4 and 5 and from the End of Key Stage Framework for Years 2 and 6. The teaching of mathematics is also monitored on a termly basis through book scrutinies, learning walks and lesson observations. Each half term children from Year 1 and above complete a summative assessment taken from ‘Power Maths’ to help them to develop their testing approach and demonstrate their understanding of the topics covered.
By the end of KS2 pupils will be fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics with a conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately. They should have the skills to solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of situations with increasing sophistication, including in unfamiliar contexts and to model real-life scenarios. Children will be able to reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry and develop and present a justification, argument or proof using mathematical language.
Power Maths – Key Stage 1
Power Maths teaching programme is fully embedded within Key Stage One. This teaching programme aims to help children deepen their knowledge of mathematical concepts and encourages them to explain their thinking.
Each mathematical topic is approached in the same way with the same three steps:
1. Practical – the children are encouraged to use concrete manipulative (equipment) to practically solve a problem. They are encouraged at this time to explain what they have used and why and what this is showing. By using practical equipment, the children begin to create pictures in their mind which they will be able to use and draw upon this ‘hands on’ learning in the future.
2. Pictures – the children then begin to draw pictorial representations of a problem to help find a solution. They are shown a range of models which they could use to show their thinking and are encouraged to record their pictorial representations in whichever way makes sense to them.
3. Number sentences – the final stage is to record their problem as an abstract number sentence and solve the problem that way.
We have been very impressed with the results so far and have seen a huge increase in the children’s confidence and ability to explain their thinking and give reasons for their answers. This programme will be introduced into Key Stage Two in September 2018, when the new materials are published.
Key Stage 2
Key Stage Two are continuing to embed the use of Power Maths into the Maths curriculum. This teaching programme is supplemented by a range of resources from White Rose.
Throughout school the use of apparatus is recognised as an important component to developing understanding of key concepts. Every child has free access to maths trays containing a range of equipment, including place value counters, diennes and place value charts. Teachers encourage children to identify the apparatus that will support their thinking as they tackle maths activities.
Peer coaching is also used as an effective strategy to engage and encourage learning within maths. In Upper Key Stage Two, children will often work together to complete skills checks, reasoning tasks or other such mathematical challenges.
Topics of Study
The tables below provide an indication of the topics covered each term for each year group.
Ready To Progress Criteria
Shown below is the ‘Ready to Progress’ criteria for each year group in six key mathematical areas:
- Place Value
- Addition and Subtraction
- Multiplication and Division
For pupils to be able to successfully access the curriculum in the next academic year, they should leave their current year group being able to understand and use the mathematical skills and knowledge listed. (Click on the tables below to enlarge)
Number: Place Value
Addition and Subtraction
Multiplication and Division
Below are links to our updated Maths Calculation Policies: