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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 Settle C.E. Primary School we have been on a journey over the last few years in order to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics. 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 start to see in lessons – things that may look different to other schools, or the way lessons/books looked a few years ago. We are currently phasing back to how we did things pre-COVID (using maths books and teacher selected tasks, rather than the workbooks we have used during COVID). Our aim is that by September 2021, we will be fully back to how we worked pre -COVID.

The three aims of the NC should be addressed most lessons– Fluency, Reasoning and Problem Solving. However, at times, there may be a specific focus on fluency if children need additional practice., for example.

Mathematics Planning 

We use the White Rose planning documents from Reception to Year 6.

We adapted our calculation policy to include CPA (concrete, pictorial, abstract) strategies and also an overview to guide new and existing teachers on a typical ‘mastery’ lesson structure. This will evolve and adapt as we develop more mastery strategies across school. This is our key document to accompany the White Rose planning. We have also used the DfE Ready to Progress criteria to ensure key concepts have been mastered post Covid.

Also see Mathematics and Calculation Policy.

Whole class together – we teach mathematics to whole classes and do not label children (this includes within the classroom). 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 what scaffolding may be required for children who may struggle to grasp concepts in the lesson and suitable challenge questions/activities/open-ended investigations for those who may grasp the concepts rapidly. Decisions are not made about who these children may be prior to the lesson. 

Longer and but deeper – in order to address the aims of the NC, our long/medium term plans have been adjusted to allow longer on topics. Each lesson focus is on one key conceptual idea and connections are made across mathematical topics. To outsiders it may appear that the pace of the lesson is slower, but progress and understanding is enhanced. Our assessment procedures recognise that the aims of the curriculum cannot be assessed through coverage (ticking many objectives off a list) but through depth within a topic. We use daily flashbacks, regular mental maths sessions and WR end of block assessments to identify any gaps and to aid knowledge retrieval and retention. We follow the White Rose Scheme of Work and use PUMA Assessments that are fully aligned to White Rose.

Key learning points are identified during and a clear journey through the maths is shown (with examples, key vocab/stem sentences and top tips on working walls). Concrete resources and pictorial images are used to scaffold and challenge learning. Questions will probe pupil understanding throughout. ‘Tricky bits’ are identified during the planning process and children will be supported through these.  

Fluency – We recognise that ‘fluency’ is not just about remembering facts and develop all aspects of fluency through lessons; additional practice is given when children need more time to become more fluent in a particular area.

Lesson Structure

  1. Recap of previous learning
  2. Anchor problem (contextualise from the start, rather than start with the abstract)
  3. Time spent on Anchor problem and one or two more guided practice examples that move pupil’s learning forward/introduce a further idea. Sometimes more if fluency is a focus.Time is spent on here to assess where children are at and to tailor questioning to scaffold/challenge pupils where necessary. Concrete/visual resources are key to ensure ALL children understand the concept. This is where we are trying to develop and show procedural and conceptual variation, as well as in any independent work.
  4. Independent work (layered, rather than segmented differentiation). Core task for most (some may need adult support and concrete resources to embed understanding, whilst the same resources can be used to challenge pupils explanations) whilst offering questions that promote deeper thinking or more open ended challenges and investigations for the more able children (still working on the same content).
  5. Plenary if needed to consolidate learning, address misconceptions or challenge pupils learning further.

Exploration - instead of ‘Let me teach you…’ 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’.  Lesson objectives are not shared with the children at the beginning of the lesson, because we want the children to reason for themselves. At some point from the middle or even at the end of the lesson, the children will be asked what they’ve been learning that day.  These are recorded on the teachers flipcharts and children can add them to their books.  

Develop reasoning and deep understanding (contexts and representations of mathematics) – problems are usually set in real life contexts - carefully chosen representations (manipulatives and images) are used by all to explore concepts.  These representations will appear in books where appropriate as children show their understanding. The use of practical resources, pictorial representations and recording takes place in most lessons (the CPA approach). This may be seen on flipcharts, displays, on tables and/or in books.

Structuring - the teacher will organise the findings of the exploration, compare/contrast strategies and guide toward the most efficient strategy (or the one being learnt that day).

Step by step approach – journey through the mathematics (these steps may appear small, especially at the beginning of a lesson, there are points when suddenly a jump appears to have been made, or an extra challenge appears – this is normal).   Teachers’ flipcharts will clearly show this step by step approach.

Questions to challenge thinking – teachers use questioning throughout every lesson to check understanding – a variety of questions are used, but you will hear the same ones being repeated; How do you know? Can you prove it? Are you sure? Is that right?  ‘What’s the value?  What’s the same/different about? Can you explain that? What does your partner think? Can you imagine? Can you persuade others?

Questions are also used to challenge children who have grasped the concept.  Children are expected to listen to each other’s responses and may be asked to explain someone else’s ideas in their own words, or if they agree/disagree etc.

NB: Due to the episodic style of the lessons with frequent questioning, lessons may appear to move slower than in the past. There will be more talking and less recording in books. At times, children may record work during the teaching input. At times, this will be an independent task, depending on concept being taught.

The recording that does take place however, shows greater depth of understanding and intelligent practice.  We do not want children to attempt independent recording until we believe they are secure with the concept. We do not want them to practise errors, therefore teachers may decide to have a guided group working with them in a lesson (the TA may circulate) or vice versa.

Discussion and feedback – pupils have opportunities to talk to their partners and explain/clarify their thinking throughout the lesson, but are expected to complete written work independently (unless working in a guided group with the teacher).

Books  - recording the learning – in Y1 – Y6 you will see maths books used for both journaling activities and practice – we are at a transitional stage at the moment following lockdown where we have been using WR workbooks for the year.  We are developing how we use our books to record with those from other schools on the Sustaining Mastery Specialist Programme, returning to how we did things pre-COVID.

Practising - not drill and practice but practice characterised by variation – will be recorded in maths books, supported by detailed medium term plans & ongoing CPD.

Rapid intervention (same day/next 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/next day interventions of up to 20 minutes in DIRT time (directed independent reflection time). In addition, we still run intervention sessions outside of the maths lesson for some targeted children. Work done in these sessions will often be done in purple pen.

Marking – the marking policy for mathematics acknowledges the different style of teaching in maths, and follows the NCETM guidelines published April 2016.  The policy requires that learning is ticked and a comment is only made if/when a teacher feels this is necessary to move learning forward.  Highlighting the ‘title’ shows if the learning objective has been achieved (green – ‘super green’ can be used if a child is showing evidence of working at a greater depth) or more practice is needed (amber). Gap tasks may appear for individual children in their books, but usually gaps are addressed through same day/next day catch up and therefore will not necessarily be recorded in books. The most valuable feedback is given during a lesson.  Children are encouraged to self/peer assess and will often self mark/correct where able to do so.

Planning – we no longer make traditional plans. We feel teachers’ time is better spent structuring flipcharts and thinking about lesson structure, small steps, variation and the sequence of a lesson and to plan for when it is beneficial to work with concrete and pictorial resources. Challenge activities are highlighted green, whilst ways to support pupils struggling to grasp a concept is highlighted purple.

SEN pupils – may be supported by additional adults or different resources.  They may also complete additional activities outside of the mathematics lesson. Ways to support these pupils are highlighted purple. Maths packs are available in every class with additional resources such as multiplication squares, etc. Interventions include: [email protected], Ist [email protected] and use of the DfE RtP criteria. We have high expectations of all children and strongly believe that all children are equally able in mathematics. Some may take longer to grasp concepts and may need careful scaffolding or extra time/support but they can still achieve!                                                     

Number Skills/Times Tables and Home Learning –EYFS and KS1 use Numbots to help secure confident subitising and number sense. Y3-6 work on Times Table Rockstars regularly as well as weekly quizzes and this is celebrated though a whole KS2 display, certificates and celebration assemblies. Both of these also support home learning alongside use of MyMaths. We also have a comprehensive 'Maths at Home' section on our website.

Assessment and Knowledge Retention–PUMA assessments aligned to WR are used to give a maths age and a standardised score and Testbase in summer to get a scaled score. These are tracked on the whole school tracker sheet and closely checked against pupils FFT 20 scaled score targets. Teacher assessment is shown through marking and end of block WR tasks in pupil books. We use daily flashbacks, regular mental maths sessions/quizzes and end of block assessments to check gaps and aid knowledge retrieval and retention.

Please see the following attachments:

  • Calculation Policy - shows the different ways we will be using practical equipment and images to  support your child's understanding.
  • Thinking CAPs document - shows the formal methods for recording  calculations children will be working towards in each year group.
  • Maths progression - shows the objectives pupils will be working on across the maths curriculum in different year groups.
  • Maths Vocabulary - vocabulary used (by year group).