Mathematics

Maths

‘Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.’ Albert Einstein

INTENT

At St Francis, our maths rationale is deeply embedded in the way we teach the subject. Our shared vision is for pupils to develop a curiosity for mathematics and see it as a subject where they can explore and be creative, developing and using multiple strategies to solve the questions and problems they face.

Children should be engaged and excited by their mathematical learning, understanding that it will play a significant role in their future.

We believe it is essential for children to develop positive attitudes and interests in mathematics, looking for patterns and relationships, spotting connections, ‘having a go’, talking to adults and peers about what they notice and not being afraid to make mistakes. The principles of talk and verbalising their thinking and reasoning is embedded within our commitment to Oracy. Pupils will show initiative, perseverance, and have commitment to self-improvement. Our work with Metacognition guides and supports all of these principles.

By exploring concepts in detail, we aim to enable all of our children to become fluent in their recall: of key number facts, processes, new knowledge and skills. Pupils are equipped with the skills, attitudes and dispositions to solve problems, both independently and in partnership with others.

Pupils are identified, supported and challenged in order to maximise and reach their full potential. At the end of each year, pupils should attain and master the fundamental facts and concepts related to their age-related expectations and have a firm foundation upon which to build their future exploration and learning of mathematics.

IMPLEMENTATION

 The national curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
  • reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
  • can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.

Every class in St Francis, from Reception up, takes part in a daily maths lesson, using the scheme: Maths – No Problem!

This is a mastery approach that creates inclusive classroom environments where all children can thrive. It encourages us as teachers to focus on real world contexts for our pupil’s learning. Children are therefore relating their learning of maths to their everyday lives. Maths – No Problem! has an enhanced focus on mathematical language and talk which we embrace within our work around oracy.

Lessons can involve a range of activities including:

  • counting,
  • using a range of manipulatives,
  • using concrete items, pictorial representations and abstract symbols,
  • exploration tasks of concepts being taught,
  • discussion time,
  • individual/paired/small group work,
  • practical activities,
  • mastering of new knowledge and skills,
  • developing a fluency for number facts, skills and processes,
  • problem solving,
  • journaling,
  • reflecting on the learning journey utilising metacognition strategies,
  • feedback,

These activities develop our pupils’ mastery of mathematics and therefore allow them to gain a deep understanding of mathematics. Through modelling and the use of imagery, all pupils are encouraged to use practical equipment in lessons to help explore and then secure their learning.

Pupils have the opportunity to record their work in a variety of ways, e.g. using concrete resources, whiteboards, workbooks, and journals.

Regular journaling helps the pupils to understand and remember key concepts, processes and methods of calculation. These journals are referred to throughout the children’s mathematical journey. Journals provide opportunities for children to explore and communicate various strategies and methods therefore deepening their understanding and mastery of maths.

Adults use assessment throughout each lesson to identify and support misconceptions and gaps in knowledge. These are either addressed immediately within the lesson, or used to inform future planning/teaching/interventions.

Fluency

At St Francis, fluency is considered vital. Fluency is understanding the meaning of the operations and their relationship to each other. We aim for our children to have a large knowledge bank of number facts and a deep understanding of the base 10 system. This will enable them to work accurately, automatically, efficiently, flexibly and with a deep sense of number. A fluent learner has a secure understanding of what they are doing and why they are doing it – “I just know it!”

To ensure this is developed within our children, there are regular fluency sessions, as well as discrete opportunities. By completing these varied fluency tasks, pupils have the opportunity to rehearse previous skills and transfer them to their long-term memory. Encompassed within fluency is the work we do on our number bonds and times tables. To support the pupils’ learning of these at school and home we subscribe to Times Tables Rockstars and Numbots. We have a structured reward system where children’s participation and effort is celebrated weekly.

EYFS

 The EYFS curriculum for mathematics at St Francis aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • Develop a strong grounding in number
  • Count confidently
  • Develop a deep understanding of the numbers to 10, the relationships between them and the patterns within those numbers
  • Develop their spatial reasoning skills across all areas of mathematics including shape, space and measures.

At St Francis, our reception children also follow the Maths – No Problem! scheme which compliments the early learning goals as described in the statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. This provides plentiful and varied opportunities to build and apply their mathematical understanding – such as using stories, manipulatives and tens frames. We aim for our children to develop a secure base of knowledge and vocabulary from which mastery of mathematics is built throughout the rest of the school.

Our Nursery children work highly practically, exploring through real life opportunities the world around them and mathematical foundations. Our Nursery teachers work closely with their Reception colleagues to ensure that foundations are built in readiness for children to embark on their Maths -No Problem! journey. This includes experiencing some of the early prerequisites of the reception scheme: 

  • counting reliably with numbers from one to 5 in Nursery, placing them in order and saying which number is one more or one less than a given number. They solve verbal and practical problems, including doubling, halving and sharing
  • use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money
  • compare quantities and objects to solve problems
  • they recognise, create and describe patterns. They explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and use mathematical language to describe them.

Nursery staff are always aware of the childrens’ next steps, and childrens’ interests will be used as a starting point to plan for these. Opportunities to apply their mathematical vocabulary and skills are built into the daily environment and provision.

Through the two years of EYFS, children work towards these objectives, broken down into small manageable lessons. They use a variety of concrete apparatus. Through the use of discussion, they develop new vocabulary. A range of real life equipment e.g. fruit, milk cartons, etc. is used alongside apparatus such as playdough and Numicon. The children sing many songs such as ‘five little men in a flying saucer’ to further embed number knowledge and understanding.

In the Nursery classes, the sessions are taught in a group or whole class input, with activities set up around the room for the children to access. Staff ensure that all children take part in these activities. The major foci for this year are one to one correspondence and recognition, counting, naming numbers, making numbers in different ways (e.g. two fingers on one hand and one on the other is still three fingers) and subitising (recognising quantities without the need to count). Towards the end of the year, the children will start to work on application, so that they are ready for the learning in Reception year.

During their Reception year, the children have daily whole-class inputs to introduce/revisit an objective. Mathematical concepts are then reinforced through continuous provision both inside and outside the classroom. These activities are designed to develop and deepen children’s understanding of the concept taught and will sometimes include problem solving aspects. During this time, assessment is used to identify and address any misconceptions, which can be done on an individual basis for each child. Through continuous provision in the classroom, opportunities are provided for the children to independently practise specific skills in all areas of maths.

IMPACT

The use of the Maths—No Problem! scheme is ensuring a consistent approach across the school to the teaching and learning of mathematics. There is a clear progression and sequence to this learning. Immersing our pupils in the CPA (concrete, pictorial and abstract) model enables them to embed and remember key concepts. Skills checkers and end of unit reviews within the Maths – No problem! allow teachers and children to reflect on progress – whether children know more and remember more. NFER tools are used each year to cross check this as teachers assess each child’s attainment and progress.

The use of CAP resources across all year groups positively impacts on pupils’ confidence and mastery of each topic and this allows pupils to make good progress year on year. The use of the bar method for problem solving has given pupils a tool to anchor and visualise how to solve problems and is proving to have a positive impact on the pupils’ attitude to applying their mathematical knowledge in a problem-solving context.

The introduction of the statutory Year 4 multiplication tables check has had a positive impact on our school so that many more pupils know and remember more of their times tables up to 12×12. This good foundation enables them to tackle more challenging and complex mathematics as they move further through our school and beyond, into secondary education.

Pupil voice findings suggest that pupils are more engaged than previously, and enjoy their maths learning.

The pupils of St Francis CE Primary school have access to a range of enrichment opportunities, such as:

  • after-school clubs
  • collaboration events such as times tables challenges
  • Young Enterprise scheme
  • encounter days (timetabled on a rolling programme)
  • outside learning
  • fundraising (e.g. Macmillan Coffee Morning in Year 6).