‘Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.’ Albert Einstein
At St Francis CE Primary, our maths rationale is deeply embedded in the way in which we teach the subject. Our shared vision is for pupils to develop an appreciation for mathematics and see it as a subject where they can explore and be creative. Pupils are expected to gain and become fluent in new knowledge by exploring concepts in detail, in an inclusive manner. They should be curious and enjoy their mathematical learning, understanding that it will play a significant role in their future. Pupils are equipped with the skills, attitudes and dispositions to solve problems, both independently and in partnership with others, demonstrating their growth in our core Christian values of kindness, courage and character. Pupils will show initiative, perseverance, and have commitment to self-improvement. Pupils will be identified, supported and challenged in order to maximise and reach their full potential. At the end of each year, pupils should attain and master their age-related expectations and have a firm foundation upon which to build.
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 CE Primary School, from Year 1 up, takes part in a daily Maths lesson, using the Maths— No Problem! scheme as a basis for our planning and teaching. Lessons include a range of: choral counting, warm up tasks, problem solving, discussion time, paired work, practical activities, journaling and feedback. This is all aimed at developing the pupils’ mastery of mathematics. Depending on the topic being taught, lessons may vary in terms of content, being more practical or discussion-based when appropriate in order for the pupils to deepen their understanding. All pupils are encouraged to use practical equipment in lessons to help secure the learning. Pupils have the opportunity to record their work in a variety of ways, e.g. workbooks, whiteboards, worksheets, posters, exercise books. Journaling is used as a way of helping the pupils to understand and remember key concepts, processes and methods of calculation, to refer to at later points in the year. Teachers use assessment throughout each lesson and by giving pupils feedback, to inform teaching and to help pupils to develop their understanding. This sometimes means spending longer on a topic to ensure understanding, or revisiting concepts that have not been embedded into pupils’ long term memories. See links for the calculation progression documents followed at St Francis CE Primary school for the four operations.
As part of the learning process, pupils are encouraged to develop their mental arithmetic through regular practice. At St Francis CE Primary School this takes the form of lessons starters, where skills are revisited and further embedded, and also through extra sessions (such as morning tasks, when lining up for assembly or on a coach trip) through the term where pupils have the opportunity to rehearse previous skills and transfer them to long-term memory. Regular work on times tables continues throughout the school, to ensure that this vital knowledge is retained and can be easily recalled to support other maths learning. To support the pupils’ learning of times tables at school and home we subscribe to Times Tables Rockstars (currently in trial phase – looking to roll out in March 2020).
The EYFS curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:
- count reliably with numbers from one to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. Using quantities and objects, they add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer. They solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing.
- use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity. Position, distance, time and money to compare quantities and objects and to solve problems. They recognise, create and describe patterns. They explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and use mathematical language to describe them.
Through the two years of EYFS, children work towards these objectives, broken down into small manageable lessons, using concrete apparatus and through the use of discussion to 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 will ensure that all children take part in these. The major foci for this year are one to one 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). 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 Reception year, the children have a short whole-class input to introduce/revisit an objective. A table is then set up with an activity to practise this objective, and the teachers ensure that through the week each child has taken part in this. The 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 maths areas.
At the end of Reception each child is given a small learning clock to take home so that parents can help their child learn to tell the time. Below are some links to helpful websites.
The use of the CPA (concrete, pictorial and abstract) model enables pupils to embed and remember key concepts. The use of resources across all year groups is becoming more consistent and this is having a positive impact on the pupils’ confidence and mastery of each topic. The use of the Maths—No Problem! scheme has ensured a consistent approach across the school in methods of calculation and this allows the 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 Year 4 times table test has had a positive impact on our school so that most pupils know and are able to apply their times tables up to 12×12. This good foundation enables them to tackle more challenging and complex mathematics as they move further up the school, and beyond, into secondary education. Pupil voice findings suggest that pupils are more engaged than previously, and enjoy their maths learning on the whole. The pupils of St Francis CE Primary school have access to a wide range of enrichment opportunities, such as:
- after-school clubs
- Year 4 Young Enterprise scheme
- encounter days (timetabled on a rolling programme)
- outside learning
- fundraising (e.g. Macmillan Coffee Morning in Year 6)