Teaching of Maths
Maths at Dedham Church of England Primary School provides our children with a deep and lasting understanding of mathematical procedures and concepts. We wholeheartedly believe that the teaching of maths should be tailored to the individual needs and understanding within each cohort, to build the children’s confidence, resilience and passion for the subject. For this reason, we do not follow a prescriptive, daily scheme of work. We use the overviews of ‘White Rose Maths’ to help teachers plan and deliver the Mathematics National Curriculum programme of study, whilst ensuring it is progressive, broad and challenging for our children. The length of time the children spend on each topic may vary, as the teachers tailor the curriculum to ensure the concepts are fully understood and embedded, before moving on to the next topic in their mathematical journey which is at the core of our ‘Mastery’ approach to maths.
To further foster a love and secure understanding of the subject, our ‘Mastery’ approach ensures all children are given the opportunity to problem solve and reason, using real-life contexts, to enable them to develop as critical thinkers and global citizens. Through enabling prompts, pupils are supported to access rich and varied reasoning and problem-solving activities. These include using targeted adult support; pre-teaching a topic before it arises in class; the use of visual presentations and resources; breaking down a problem into small steps; or using goal-free problems. We recognise that some pupils will also benefit from extending prompts and will have the opportunity to access open-ended activities and non-standard examples should they grasp the concepts they are introduced to quickly. The use of concrete, pictorial and abstract representations also allow pupils to further cement and secure the concepts they have been introduced to.
We work closely with families to support our children to learn and become fluent with their number facts and times tables. This is fundamental for ensuring they leave their primary education as confident mathematicians, better equipped academically, personally and emotionally for the next steps in their lives. Pupils across the school regularly access maths apps: White Rose 1 Minute Maths, Hit the Button and TT Rock Stars, depending on their year group, and there are several fun incentives to encourage pupils to access these at home.
In the Early Years Foundation Stage (Reception), we use the 2021 EYFS Statutory Framework to plan and implement learning opportunities. The ‘White Rose Maths’ progression documents ensure that the mathematical concepts are taught in a progressive and sequential way to strengthen the children’s early understanding of the concepts they are introduced to and ensure a smooth transition into KS1.
During their time in Reception, children develop and improve their number skills alongside shape, space, and measure. At the end of their Reception year, the children are assessed against the Early Learning Goals (ELG) of which Mathematics is a ‘Specific Area.’ The ‘Prime Areas’ of communication and language; physical development; and personal, social and emotional development are strengthened and applied within mathematics.
The teacher provides the children ample opportunity to develop their curiosity and enthusiasm for maths by ensuring the three characteristics of effective teaching and learning underpin the delivery of mathematics: playing and exploring; active learning; and creating and thinking critically. The children have the opportunity to practise and apply the skills they have been introduced to through planned, purposeful play and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activity including through role-play, stories and exploration of a range of manipulatives. This approach makes maths enjoyable and engaging whilst embedding the key mathematical concepts ready for Key Stage 1.
KS1 and KS2
In Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, the school follows the National Curriculum programme of study. The White Rose Maths scheme of learning is used by teachers to support them with delivering the learning sequence for each unit. Using White Rose Maths across the school ensures excellent progression of skills, methods and knowledge within and across year groups and key stages.
The learning sequences enable children to practise their fluency through the use of concrete apparatus (mathematical equipment); pictorial methods (symbols and drawings to aid understanding in place of the mathematical equipment); and abstract methods.
We recognise that fluency, reasoning and problem-solving are not isolated strands within maths and that to have a secure understanding of mathematical concepts, pupils must reason, explain and justify alongside becoming competent with ‘fluency’ or procedural tasks. The common question, ‘why?’ is one which is asked regularly by teachers in our classrooms, as pupils are encouraged to explain the reasons behind the phenomenon they have been introduced to.