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.
To further foster a love and secure understanding of the subject, we have adopted a ‘Mastery Approach’ to learning, which involves the use of concrete, pictorial and abstract representations. Furthermore, children of all abilities are given the opportunity to problem solve and reason, using real-life contexts, to enable them to develop as critical thinkers and global citizens.
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.
Our calculation policy, which all teachers refer to when planning their learning sequences, ensures there is consistency and progression across year groups whilst exemplifying the concrete, pictorial and abstract methods introduced in each year.
In the Early Years Foundation Stage (Reception), we relate the children’s learning to the objectives set out in the 2019 EYFS statutory framework. 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.
During their time in Reception, children develop and improve their number skills alongside shape, space, and measure. At the end of the Reception year, the children are assessed against the Early Learning Goals (ELG) of which Mathematics is a ‘Specific Area’.
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-pay, 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 Scheme of Learning is used by teachers to support them with planning a learning sequence for each unit, which first develops confidence with varied fluency, before progressing on to reasoning and problem solving opportunities.
The learning sequences planned by the teachers 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 then abstract methods, as part of our ‘Mastery Approach’ which is underpinned by the idea that ‘procedural fluency and conceptual understanding are developed in tandem because each supports the development of the other,’ as outlined in the NCETM document The Essence of Maths Teaching for Mastery.
The expectation is that the majority of children will move through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace by using mathematical representations to support children who find the concepts more challenging, allowing them to access the same objectives as their peers. However, if children demonstrate they are fluent with an abstract concept or method, they will move on to accessing rich and sophisticated reasoning and problem solving activities linked to the objectives they are working on, whilst those children who are not sufficiently fluent, consolidate their understanding through additional practice and varied fluency opportunities of both a procedural and conceptual nature, before moving on. All children are given the opportunity to reason, problem solve and apply their learning to a range of scenarios and we therefore value the importance of differentiating our reasoning and problem solving tasks to ensure all children develop the skills needed to become confident mathematicians.