Mathematics at World’s End Junior 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 World’s End Junior School, we have been on a journey over several years in order to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics. There are several elements which have influenced improvements in attainment and these are best discussed in person with me during your visit. 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 see in lessons.
We intend on delivering a maths curriculum which:
• Caters for all pupils, taking individual learning needs and starting points into consideration. Our lessons are engaging and collaborative which give a range of opportunities to explore mathematics following a Teaching for Mastery approach.
• Incorporates a sustained level of challenge through high-quality activities, which focuses on fluency, reasoning and problem solving.
• Allows pupils to become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics so they can develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
• Recognises that mathematics underpins daily lives, beyond the classroom, and therefore it is vitally important that pupils are successful in each stage if their learning.
• Uses Quality First Teaching to ensure all pupils have the best learning opportunities
• Provides positive and resilient attitudes towards mathematics.
• Allows pupils to reason mathematically by following lines of enquiry through. discussion. Pupils can actively engage with peers using mathematical language
• Provides equal opportunities for pupils to apply their mathematical knowledge to other subjects.
The three aims of the NC should be addressed every day (not just in the maths lesson)
Fluency – Reasoning – Problem Solving.
In Year’s 3, 4 and 5 we have introduced the split lesson approach. This was initially a trial in Year’s 3 and 4 and was so successful, we extended it into Year 5 in January 2016. Year 6 have an hour lesson each day.
• Longer and but deeper – in order to ensure children have a secure and deep understanding of the content taught, our plans have been adjusted to allow longer on topics and we move more slowly through the curriculum. After evaluating the findings of the National Textbook Project, years 3, 4 and 5 broadly follow the ‘Maths No Problem’ textbook progression. Year 6 follow a bespoke plan based upon the White Rose Maths medium term guidance. Supported by the DfE Primary Guidance and the NCETM Prioritisation Documents, teachers adapt each lesson to meet the needs of their children and add extra questioning / tasks which will allow children to learn the content more deeply. The learning will focus on one key conceptual idea and connections are made across mathematical topics. It may appear that the pace of the lesson is slower, but progress and understanding is enhanced.
• Key learning points are planned for using mathematical overviews and medium-term guidance. A clear journey through the maths should be shown on flipcharts (also reflected on working walls). Learning points may appear to be very small but this is deliberate.
• Whole class together – we teach mathematics to whole classes and do not label children. 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 the scaffolding that may be required for children struggling to grasp concepts in the lesson and challenge ‘depth’ questions for those who may grasp the concepts rapidly. In line with NCETM advice, one form of depth frequently used, during the first part of the lesson, is variation theory (conceptual and procedural). Variation is one of the five ‘big ideas’ at the heart of Teaching for Mastery.
• Questions will probe pupil understanding throughout, taking some children’s learning deeper. Responses are expected in full sentences, using precise mathematical vocabulary.
• Fluency – there is a whole school focus on developing an instant recall of key facts, such as number bonds and multiplication facts.
• Exploration – instead of ‘Let me teach you…’ or giving a learning objective 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’. During this time, the teacher and teaching assistant will spend time observing and questioning the children. The understanding of children who provide a quick correct answer will be probed further using questions based around variation theory.
• Develop reasoning and deep understanding (contexts and representations of mathematics) – problems are often set in real life contexts – carefully chosen practical resources and pictorial representations are used to explore concepts. These pictorial representations will appear in journals as children show their understanding, rather than answers to a series of calculations. The use of practical resources, pictorial representations and recording takes place in every lesson (the CPA approach).
• Structuring – the teacher will organise the findings of the exploration, compare/contrast strategies and guide toward the most efficient strategy through clear modelling (or the one being learnt that day).
• Discussion and feedback – pupils have opportunities to talk to their partners and explain/clarity their thinking.
• Journal – recording the learning – not just pages of similar calculations – years 3, 4 and 5 maths journals are used. In year 6 you will see maths books used for both journaling activities and practice.
• Practising – not drill and practice but practice characterised by variation – in year groups using Maths No Problem, this is done in the workbooks, in year 6 it will be recorded in maths books.
• Rapid intervention (same 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 interventions of 15 – 20 minutes in the afternoon. In addition, we run intervention sessions outside of the maths lesson for some targeted and SEN children, eg: Success @ Arithmetic, Catch Up, pre or post tutoring, fluency groups…
• Marking – the marking policy has been amended following the guidance of the NCETM. Current marking policy is that learning is ticked and a comment is only made if/when a teacher feels this is necessary to move learning forward. Gap tasks may appear for individual children in their books, but usually gaps are addressed through same day catch up and therefore will not be recorded in books. The most valuable feedback is given during a lesson.
• SEN pupils – may be supported by additional adults, different resources, differentiated activities. They will also complete additional activities outside of the mathematics lesson.
CPD plays a vital role in ensuring our teachers are confident in their subject knowledge to lead mathematical lessons. We use monitoring of lessons and pupil voice to plan training sessions. We take part in training opportunities and regional networking events such as NCETM Maths Hub work groups and many teachers and teaching assistants hold accreditations in various aspects of maths.
The children at Worlds End have a positive attitude to maths as an interesting skill set linked to real life. Our pupils have the confidence to work collaboratively and independently and have a deep understanding of the world around them.
Through discussions and feedback from pupils, they speak enthusiastically about their maths lessons and speak about how they love learning maths. They show pride in their presentation and understanding of the work.
Pupils show a deeper level of thinking when they can show mathematical concepts and skills in multiple ways, using the correct mathematical language independently and applying this to new problems.
At the end of each year group, we expect pupils to have made progress from their start points. Those with gaps in learning and with SEND need to receive appropriate support and intervention, in order for as many children as possible to reach Age Related Expectation or Greater Depth.