Maths is essential to everyday life, and is a necessary component of most forms of employment. A high quality mathematics education provides one of the foundation stones for a world of opportunity. At Scissett CE Academy, we aim to empower our children to become confident mathematically; to develop an appreciation of the opportunities mathematics presents and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.
Maths is taught following the White Rose concepts of developing mastery. Children explore and develop early mathematical concepts using concrete, manipulative objects. From the concrete experience, children make connections to pictorial representations and models before applying their learning to more abstract mathematical concepts. Strong emphasis is placed on securing core skills in place value and number, and children work to develop a balance of operational fluency alongside their ability to use mathematical reasoning and solve problems.
Maths is a core subject in the National Curriculum and we follow the objectives from this to support our planning and assess children’s progress. Y1-Y5 follow a long term plan to ensure coverage of all areas of the National Curriculum.
Teachers at Scissett CE Academy use the White Rose Maths schemes of learning to support their medium and short term planning. These schemes provide teachers with notes and guidance and the National Curriculum objectives are broken down into smaller steps, which include varied fluency, reasoning and problem solving questions. These documents support a mastery approach to teaching and learning and have number at their heart. They ensure teachers stay in the required key stage and support the ideal of depth before breadth. They support pupils working together as a whole group and provide plenty of time to build reasoning and problem solving elements into the curriculum. All classes have daily mathematics activities. In EYFS, the children learn through a mixture of adult led activities and child initiated activities both inside and outside of the classroom.
We recognise the important role display has in the teaching and learning of mathematics by having maths work displayed in the school. Every class has a maths working wall or display which shows vocabulary, key information and, where appropriate, concrete, pictorial and abstract representations for pupils to refer to for guidance. Throughout school children have easily accessible concrete manipulative resources available to support their learning.
Marking will be carried out regularly and in accordance with the school’s marking guidance. Assessment is an integral part of teaching and learning and is a continuous process. Teachers make assessments of children daily through;
- interaction during the lesson
- regular marking of work
- analysing errors and picking up on misconceptions
- asking questions and listening to answers
- facilitating and listening to discussions
- making observations
These ongoing assessments inform future planning and teaching. Lessons are adapted readily and short term planning evaluated in light of these assessments.
Termly assessments are carried out across the school using PUMA tests (Reception Summer term only).
These results are used alongside judgements made from class work to support teachers in making an assessment for each child, judging whether the child is:
- working towards the expected standard
- working at the expected standard
- working at greater depth within the expected standard
Pupil Progress meetings are timetabled each term for all classes. Progress of pupils is discussed and appropriate intervention considered and put in place where a child is not making expected levels of progress towards their individual targets. Year 2 children complete the national tests (SATs) in summer term and Year 4 complete the statutory multiplication tables check..
Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)
Daily mathematics lessons are inclusive to pupils with special educational needs and disabilities. Maths focused intervention in school helps children with gaps in their learning and mathematical understanding. These can be delivered, by either support staff or teachers, and progress is monitored regularly and reported to the leadership team.
Positive attitudes towards mathematics are encouraged, so that all children, regardless of race, gender, ability or special needs, including those for whom English is a second language, develop an enjoyment and confidence with mathematics. This policy is in line with the school’s Equality policy.
Monitoring and Review
It is the responsibility of the leadership team to monitor the standards of children’s work and the quality of teaching in mathematics. The mathematics lead is also responsible for supporting colleagues in the teaching of mathematics, for keeping informed about current developments in the subject and for providing a strategic lead and direction for the subject in the school. The mathematics lead reports to the governing body’s standards and effectiveness team, and there is a named governor with responsibility for maths.
We are at the start of our journey towards teaching for mastery in mathematics, but there has already been a positive impact due to the changes that we have made. Monitoring by leaders has demonstrated an increase in lessons where learning is supported using concrete resources. Children are becoming more confident in using pictorial representations in their work and work scrutiny now reflects a move away from an over-reliance on excessive fluency based tasks. Importantly, pupil voice reflects a much improved attitude towards teaching and learning in maths and the subject is rated highly amongst pupils’ favourite lessons. Staff have received professional development to increase their confidence in teaching using a Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract (CPA) approach and the subject is now well-resourced across school.
What parents can do at home to help?
It can be particularly hard for parents to know how to help support their children with maths at home. Often parents may complain that they themselves are “bad” at maths or that they “never learnt anything useful in maths at school” and they are willing to say these negative comments in front of their children, which can then pass a negative image of maths to their children.
Parents have a great opportunity to develop their children’s maths skills at home by involving them in everyday activities. If your children can help you find the best deal for your car insurance or work out which supermarket deal is cheapest, then it’s helping them understand maths in real life. It also helps develop their basic maths and problem solving skills, which are really important in the National Curriculum. Don’t underestimate yourself, or the power you have as a parent getting involved in your child’s learning.
Simple board games with dice develop children's counting skills. Other games that may help develop your child's maths skills are darts, scrabble, and chess. Get playing! You can also support your child's learning by getting to grips with the maths they learn, like part-whole models and bar modelling, as well as standard conventional written methods.
Here are some more useful tips from Third Space Learning to help you to support your children:
Start with a positive mind-set.
Do you ever hear yourself saying “I’m really bad at maths” or “I just didn’t get maths in school”? It’s difficult to understand just how much children will pick up on any negativity towards particular subjects from their parents. Unfortunately, this can be a real barrier to their learning. We advise parents to try and use positive language around their children such as “don’t worry, it’s okay to make mistakes, we all do”, also be as patient as possible with your them when they’re doing their homework. You may not mean to be negative, but your children may take it to heart. Positivity can go a long way to improving their attitude towards maths.
Use maths talk every day
Talking about maths is really important for your child’s mathematical development. As your child is at KS1 level, you want to start off with the basics - don’t overwhelm them. Whenever you have the opportunity, try to include maths talk in their lives. This is easily done when they are playing with physical objects as you can reinforce their counting skills. For example, how many pennies are you holding? Or what shape is that object? When counting, reinforce the last number they counted as this can help their mathematical development further, for example “one, two three...three cars.” Just like children’s TV shows do. Two easy concepts to develop with your children are doubling/halving and adding/subtracting. Again, you could use physical objects such as food to reinforce this. It’s as simple as asking your child to count the number of chicken nuggets or peas (or any other food!) on their plate at dinner time. and then you can ask them things like:
- “If I doubled the number of chicken nuggets on your plate right now, how many would you have?”
- “If I ate half the peas on your plate for you, how many would you have left?”
- “If we added all of my chicken nuggets to your chicken nuggets, how many would we have altogether?”
Even better if you can turn this into a game to engage your children at mealtimes. You can even reward them with more nuggets!
Develop their memory skills
One problem that parents across the UK have started to recognise is that the younger generation now have little need to memorise things such as phone numbers any more. Though this seems small, it can be can be detrimental to our children’s memory skills. Try encouraging your children to memorise your phone number and their grandparents’/best friend’s phone number, then test them on the numbers occasionally. This can easily be turned into a game or reward system. This not only helps develop their memory skills but also helps keep them safer when they’re away from you. Once they’ve mastered phone numbers, encourage them to memorise more things such as nursery rhymes, a quote from a book or TV show they like, or prayers to extend their memory skills.
Play maths games together
Games are a great way to bond with your children, but also many games use mathematical and logical skills that your children will need in later life. Even a simple game such as a jigsaw puzzle helps children to develop logical and spatial awareness skills. Furthermore, games like snakes and ladders enable children to count the rolls of the dice, which helps develop their counting skills.
Watch out for shapes
When you look around, everything is made out of shapes. So why not encourage your children to learn the names of shapes when you’re out and about to entertain them? They could identify car wheels as circles, windows as rectangles and even tiles as hexagons or whatever shape they may be!
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