Maths at Mercenfeld

Intent

The 2014 National Curriculum for maths aims to ensure that all children:

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics;
  • are able to reason mathematically;
  • can solve problems by applying their mathematics.

At Mercenfeld, these skills are embedded within our maths lessons and developed consistently over time to produce a balanced and progressive curriculum. We are committed to ensuring that children are able to use their mathematical skills and knowledge confidently in a range of different contexts. We believe all children can achieve in mathematics, and teach for a secure and deep understanding of mathematical concepts through manageable steps. Our aim is to raise standards across the school and provide more opportunity for the retrieval of knowledge, revisiting fluency skills and solving problems. We intend to use a variety of teaching methods and resources that allow all pupils equal access to mathematics. Using mistakes and misconceptions is an essential part of their learning. Children will be appropriately challenged and supported through rich and varied fluency, reasoning and problem-solving activities. Irrespective of personal starting points, children will explore maths in depth, and use a range of mathematical vocabulary to reason and explain their methods whilst making connections and links.

We want all children to enjoy mathematics, to recognise the importance of maths in the wider world and to experience success. We are committed to developing the children’s curiosity and resilience for the subject, as well as their ability to reason and problem-solve.

Implementation

At Mercenfeld, we teach mathematics based on the aims and objectives from the 2014 National Curriculum. We implement our approach through high quality teaching and by embedding a mastery approach across the school. The delivery of appropriately pitched work for all groups of learners is supported by the materials from PIXL (therapies and misconceptions), as well as other high-quality resources from Deepening Understanding, White Rose and NRICH for example.

Mathematical concepts are introduced and built upon through a series of direct teaching sessions. These lessons are planned and delivered in accordance to the PIXL objectives and gaps found during assessment. Mathematical topics are taught in blocks where possible, to enable the achievement of mastery over time. We challenge pupils by asking them to explore mathematical concepts in more depth. This focus on depth eventually leads to greater progress because it gives all learners the chance to become secure in their understanding.

In lessons, we use concrete apparatus and visual models and representations to help children visualise and internalise mathematical concepts. Through the use of apparatus and representations, our pupils gain confidence as independent learners to use resources and solve problems. This is known as the CPA (concrete<pictorial<abstract) approach. A variety of manipulatives or apparatus can be used whenever needed, including place value counters, ten frames, number lines, Numicon and Diennes.

Whilst the large majority of children progress through the curriculum content at the same pace, varied starting points, teacher questioning, interventions, verbal feedback and challenges are utilised to help move the children on. Some children with SEND will receive personalised learning. Independent work provides the means for all children to develop their fluency further and enable them to develop their problem-solving and reasoning skills which are modelled by the class teacher. Each lesson provides the means to achieve greater depth, with more able children being offered rich and sophisticated problems, as well as exploratory and investigative tasks.

Practice and consolidation plays a central role in helping to commit learning to long-term memory. In addition to daily maths lessons, children will practise their mental and arithmetic knowledge in order to reinforce and consolidate previous learning; increase fluency, speed and accuracy; and improve confidence. Children need the knowledge to show rapid recall of their times tables facts fluently. They should know all facts to 12 x 12 by the end of Year 4 which is essential for their future success in mathematics. Regular use of Times Tables Rock Stars, Numbots, MyMaths, Pixl 3 in 3, Fluent in Five, Flashback 4 and Numberblocks will enable children to practise and retain the number skills and strategies needed to be successful in their learning.

Impact

Ongoing assessment takes place within each maths lesson, including effective marking and verbal feedback. Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual and procedural knowledge and assess children regularly to identify those requiring intervention. These are fed into subsequent planning to ensure the gaps in the children’s learning are diminishing.

Regular PIXL assessments are used to identify gaps in knowledge (these include mini assessments or quizzes, PIXL arithmetic tests and termly PIXL summative tests). These ensure precise teaching and targeted focus for all children in whole class teaching sessions and smaller intervention groups. Regular monitoring of the children’s learning will take place.

We recognise that quality first teaching and a consistent practice in maths are essential in improving outcomes for all children. The school has a supportive ethos and our approaches support the children in developing their collaborative and independent skills.

At Mercenfeld, we want all children to experience challenge and success in mathematics by developing a growth mindset and learning to take a risk. Children can underperform in maths because they think they can’t do it or are not naturally good at it. Teachers reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards in maths. Engaging activities help to promote the enjoyment of maths. Regular and ongoing assessment informs teaching to support and enable the success of each child with carefully scaffolded and challenging activities. These factors ensure that we are able to maintain the high standards we strive for as a school and the children experience achievement and a secure understanding of the fundamental skills needed in maths throughout primary school and to prepare them for the next stage of their education.