At All Saints School, we believe that mathematics is essential to everyday life (critical to Science, Design, Sport, Technology & Engineering, and vital for financial literacy.)
One of our fundamental beliefs is that students deserve a creative and ambitious mathematics curriculum, rich in skills and knowledge, which ignites curiosity and prepares them well for everyday life and future employment.
Our ethos is that all children can be successful in the study of mathematics. We do not accept that ‘Some children cannot do Maths’ or that children should be limited by prior attainment. Maths is for everyone! It equips pupils with a set of powerful tools to understand the world and how it operates.
Our ‘Teaching for Mastery’ approach enables children to be numerate, creative, independent, inquisitive, enquiring and confident. Children are taught not be afraid to make mistakes and fully embrace the fact that mistakes are part of learning! A mastery curriculum promotes a long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject, so that children become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, develop conceptual understanding, the acquisition of reasoning skills and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately. This ensures that those pupils beginning their education at school can access age-appropriate ideas as detailed in the DfE ‘Mathematics guidance: key stages 1 and 2’ (2020) publication, and do not see gaps open in their learning over time.
The intention of the Maths curriculum at All Saints is for children to be excited about maths! Developing a positive attitude to this subject is essential.
Teachers promote children’s enjoyment of maths and provide opportunities for children to build a conceptual understanding before applying their knowledge to everyday problems and challenges. We ensure that challenge is provided for all children, whatever their understanding. Children are encouraged to be brave and push the boundaries, deepening their understanding further. The only way to learn mathematics is by doing mathematics!
First and foremost, children at All Saints School enjoy maths! Our high-quality mathematics education 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.
In cases where children’s learning is most effectively being deepened, the following descriptors can be seen in their learning:
Depth Greater Depth
The school’s Marking and Feedback policy allows children’s levels of independence to be evident, as instances where pupils have the most secure knowledge and skills can most easily be recognised when they’ve applied learning independently and in a range of ways, including across different areas of the curriculum. On occasions when such extended depth has yet to be developed, an expected impact of our curriculum offer is that children are, at least, ready to move on to the next key stage of learning. This can be judged by each pupil’s capacity to access age appropriate ready-to-progress criteria in Years 1-6 as detailed in the ‘Mathematics guidance: key stages 1 and 2’ publication.
In Reception, we implement the latest Early Years Framework, which became statutory in September 2021, and the impact of our increasing emphasis on progressive learning is that increasing proportions of children secure understanding of all concepts and skills detailed in progression charts related to the six key areas of early mathematics learning. This is expected to further impact by in turn allowing them to attain the Early Learning Goals (ELGs) for mathematics.
Teachers plan and deliver lessons to address the needs of all pupils with the use of scaffolding, skilful questioning, rapid intervention and carefully designed enriching activities. The vast majority of pupil’s progress through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace. Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly are challenged by being offered rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration to new content. Those who are not sufficiently fluent with earlier material consolidate their understanding, including through additional practice, before moving on. Teachers aim to rapidly address gaps in children’s understanding within the lesson and through targeted intervention outside of the lesson. Consistency in teaching mathematics across the entire school is achieved by teachers planning and delivering lessons with the aid of high-quality and rich resources including: The Department for Education’s approved textbook Maths No Problem and other mastery resources such as White Rose, NCETM, NRICH.
The impact of our curriculum on pupils’ development of mathematical knowledge and skills is measured formatively and summatively. Regular and ongoing assessment by teachers and the use of rapid intervention, support and enable the success of each child. Summative assessments for each pupil in mathematics are shared with parents and carers each term. Senior Leaders and the Mathematics Leads rigorously monitors teaching and learning to ensure that pupils make good progress across the school. These factors ensure that we are able to maintain high standards in mathematics, with achievement at the end of Key Stage One and Key Stage Two being in line or above the national average. In the Early Years, a mixture of child-initiated and quality teacher-led learning enables the vast majority of pupils to progress seamlessly onto the National Curriculum by achieving their Early Learning Goals in mathematics. Upon completion of Year 6, our curriculum enables pupils to be fully prepared and equipped to successfully continue their mathematical learning journey at secondary school and in their later lives.
The decisions taken in terms of curriculum design and intended learning/teaching practice are inextricably linked to necessary Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for teaching staff. School leaders ensure a range of CPD is made available, which means that strong consistency in practice is enabled across Years 1-6, whilst colleagues in Early Years are also aware about the mastery agenda and adopt relevant approaches. This supports the effective implementation of our mathematics curriculum offer.
To ensure consistency in approach throughout the school, we have developed the All Saints School Maths Non Negotiables which are followed by every teacher in each year group. In every lesson, there are opportunities for children to:
- Participate in an active discussion giving reasons for their opinions
- Practise and rehearse the precise use of mathematical language
- Explore concepts through concrete, abstract and pictorial approaches
- Dig deeper, reason, learn from mistakes and misconceptions
- Be challenged through questioning
- Develop understanding and independence through teacher modelled activities, guided work and independent application of concepts
- Evaluate their understanding
- Find mathematics engaging and challenge through appropriately pitched lessons taught at the correct pace to facilitate optimum learning.
In lessons, it is common for differentiation to appear in subtle forms. Practise and consolidation play a central role in pupils’ learning experiences. Although the ‘pace’ in lessons may appear to be slow, this can mask development of deep understanding of mathematical concepts through use of small steps that encourage connections (for example, in derived number facts) to be made. Further challenge is provided to all children through use of problem solving, including those linked with real-life contexts.
In terms of assessment, and so the mastery approach can work, we understand the need for pupils to achieve key objectives for their current stage of learning. Such assessment links with day-to-day Assessment for Learning, which informs teachers about the elements of learning children need to develop further. In lessons, teachers use precise questioning to check conceptual and procedural knowledge. They formatively assess how misconceptions can be used as growth points in learning, whilst also diagnosing who requires intervention, meaning that all children are expected to ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch-up.’ Assessment gathering is kept meaningful and is viewed as a diagnostic tool whereby collated information is used purposefully when planning pupils’ next-steps.
Through pupils’ learning experiences, teachers promote connections within and across key stage 1 and 2 National Curriculum domains, so that children are taken deeper with their understanding over time and recognise the interconnectedness of concepts. Pupils revisit concepts, for example, multiplication within area when presented as an array model, which means they absorb learning within their long-term memory. To secure firm foundations in early mathematics learning, those children in Early Years benefit from daily adult directed teaching experiences, which are then supplemented through opportunities to further engage because of child-initiated learning.
It should be noted that varied use of practical resources, structures and representations, plus questioning that requires deeper reasoning is used to ensure all children are supported/challenged appropriately. A progression in key representations and structures, leading to understanding of sometimes complex and abstract concepts, is exemplified in the school’s calculation policy. This in turn supports the delivery of consistent approaches and equity of access for learners.
The attainment and progress of pupils’ learning is tracked by class teachers and senior leaders so that swift interventions can be put into place and may include the use of pre-teaching.
How can I support my child with Maths?
Advice for Parents from Professor Jo Boaler, Professor of Mathematics Education at the Stanford Graduate School of Education.
- Encourage children to play maths puzzles and games. Puzzles and games – anything with a dice really – will help children enjoy maths, and develop number sense, which is critically important.
- Always be encouraging and never tell children they are wrong when they are working on maths problems. Instead find the logic in their thinking – there is always some logic to what they say. For example, if your child multiplies 3 by 4 and gets 7, say – “Oh I see what you are thinking, you are using what you know about addition to add 3 and 4, when we multiply we have 4 groups of 3…”
- Never associate maths with speed. It is not important to work quickly, and we now know that forcing children to work quickly on maths can cause maths anxiety for children. Instead of speed drills use visual, fun activities.
- Be positive about maths… even if your feelings about your own maths education is not!
- Encourage number sense. What separates high and low achievers is number sense – having an idea of the size of numbers and being able to separate and combine numbers flexibly. For example, when working out 29 + 56, if you take one from the 56 and make it 30 + 55, it is much easier to work out. The flexibility to work with numbers in this way is what is called number sense and it is very important.
- Perhaps most important of all – encourage a “growth mindset” let your children know that they have unlimited maths potential and that being good at maths is all about working hard. When children have a growth mindset, they do well with challenges and do better in school overall. When children have a fixed mindset and they encounter difficult work, they often conclude that they are not “a maths person”. One way in which parents encourage a fixed mindset is by telling their children they are “clever” when they do something well. That seems like a nice thing to do, but it sets children up for difficulties later because when children’s fail at something they will inevitably conclude that they aren’t clever after all. Instead, use growth praise such as “It is great that you have learned that!”, “I really like you’re thinking about that!”. When they tell you something is hard for them, or they have made a mistake, tell them: “That’s wonderful, your brain is growing!”