At St Thomas’ Federation we aim to provide our children with a high quality mathematical education which provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about the subject. We believe that mathematics is a creative discipline which should be incorporated in all areas of the curriculum. Mathematics equips children with a powerful set of tools that they can use in everyday life.
How we teach Mathematics:
Pupils at St Thomas’ Federation are involved in a wide range of activities which help them to be fluent, confident mathematicians able to learn concepts, solve problems, develop their mental skills and reason mathematically. Through regular and rigorous practice, they can embed these skills in any context and relate what they have learnt in class to the real world. Using practical resources provided, pupils often investigate tasks, working collaboratively in pairs or groups, and independently. In addition, children are encouraged and expected to learn their times tables and increase their knowledge of their number facts.
All year groups are teaching to ‘mastery’ using the national curriculum objectives. We use resources from the National Centre for Excellence in the teaching of Mathematics, which are underpinned by research, to support teaching and learning in school. For our yearly overview for each year group we have used the Curriculum Prioritisaton framework provided by the NCETM. This resource provides coherent sequencing for the primary maths curriculum. It draws together the DfE guidance on curriculum prioritisation, with the high quality professional development and classroom resources provided by the NCETM Primary Mastery PD materials. Teachers use these resources to inform their planning and teaching.
Maths ‘mastery’ is based around key principles: that conceptual understanding is key; that children must be able to speak in full sentences and use correct mathematical vocabulary; and that they can learn to think like mathematicians. The curriculum moves at a much slower pace, giving children the opportunity to ‘master’ skills and understanding before allowing them to be applied in other contexts.
One of the main aspects of ‘Maths Mastery’ is the Concrete – Pictorial- Abstract approach which is being implemented from Reception all the way to Year 6. This approach insists on using concrete and pictorial representations of number before moving on to the abstract. Another belief is that all children can succeed at mathematics and that mistakes should be valued as part of the learning process. ‘Maths Mastery’ highlights the importance of the development of subject knowledge in teachers; something which St Thomas’ Federation also strongly believes in.
The majority of children in a class move through the programme of study at broadly the same pace and are exposed to the same questions during lessons. Children in all classes sit in mixed ability pairings to allow collaborative learning, exposure to different opinions about the same work and regular opportunities for discussion of answers to support pupils’ reasoning skills and check and deepen their understanding. Learners are supported by the structure of the lesson and additional adults as well as scaffolds provided by teachers. Children are extended as a result of higher order questioning where conjectures and generalisations are required and consistent exposure to rich tasks, rather than acceleration to new content. It is expected that all pupils will experience challenge in a lesson.
Cross Curricular Links with maths:
Here at St Thomas’ federation we are focused on teaching an integrated and inclusive curriculum. We draw out meaningful cross curricular links from Nursery to Year 6 and embrace the latest thinking and current good practice in mathematics teaching. In conjunction with the leadership team, class teachers plan into lessons, the use and application of mathematics across all subjects. This enables pupils to problem solve in any context, linking this to real life.
How parents can support their children with Mathematics:
If children are to be fluent in mathematics we believe they require quick and accurate recall of facts. Each week children are expected to rehearse these facts at home. Multiplication facts and number bonds can be rehearsed in many different ways, from playing games to using charts and computer programs. Each week your child will be sent home maths facts to learn and practise. We also encourage you to ask your child to explain how they solved problems and the methods they have chosen.