All pupils at Thornton Primary School are taught maths in a way that enables them to think clearly about how to tackle a problem, have better reasoning knowledge and skills that they can utilise as they progress through their education and life, and work fluently and efficiently. Rather than having one method to solve five questions, we want our children to learn five methods to solve one question. This mantra has helped shape our approach to teaching maths.
We utilise a Maths Scheme of Work, Power Maths, in order to equip pupils with a sound understanding of the knowledge and skills necessary to make maths an adventure, the whole-class mastery approach that works for every child. This is delivered in a sequential manner, building on prior learning and preparing for future learning; it is a mastery programme designed to spark curiosity and excitement and to nurture confidence in maths.
The scheme of work is built around a child‑centred lesson design that models and embeds a growth mindset approach to maths and focuses on helping all children to build a deep understanding of maths concept; it enables pupils to meet end of Key Stage Attainment targets outlined in the National Curriculum and the aims align with those in the National Curriculum.
The National Curriculum purpose of study states:
“Mathematics is a creative and highly inter-connected discipline that has been developed over centuries, providing the solution to some of history’s most intriguing problems. It is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment. A high-quality mathematics education therefore provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.”
Therefore, to meet these requirements, and to give our children the best possible experiences in maths, it was decided to adopt Power Maths after trialling it with the children in our Year 5/6 Class during Autumn 2020, and, in January 2021, all classes adopted this approach. Even though some of our classes are mixed aged, the approach means that the children will be taught in year groups for maths to ensure a mastery approach is achieved. Power Maths ensures that all children have the chance to fully understand a concept and utilise the Concrete to Pictorial to Abstract approach.
Maths lessons are structured in a variety of different sections to ensure that all children in our school make the best possible progress and have a secure understanding and knowledge of different concepts. The lessons all follow the same format of “Discover, Share, Think together, Challenge, Practice and Reflect” to allow the children to become familiar with the lesson sequence throughout their school life.
To ensure children are secure in their understanding, previously taught concepts are revisited at the start of lessons using Power ups and, as can be seen from the lesson objectives in the links below, lessons are taught sequentially and build on prior learning.
We pride ourselves on providing learning opportunities that are accessible and ambitious for all learners, enabling all children to make progress and have a sense of achievement. We achieve this through sequential planning, allowing skills to be scaffolded and extended as appropriate. We support our SEND children further through pre-teaching subject specific vocabulary and scaffolding work where appropriate. We also create an ethos of not being afraid to make ‘mistakes,’ but instead, for children to be risk-takers, problem solvers and to develop resilience.
There are a multitude of opportunities to make links to other areas of our curriculum. Power Maths incorporates reasoning and problem solving into all lessons so that the children apply their maths knowledge and skills. Sometimes, lessons are taken outside of the classroom so that the children can practise what they have been learning in the ‘real world’. Examples of this are when our EYFS children work in our Forest School and use non-standardised measurements such as sticks they have collected to compare different lengths and children in Year 5 and Year 6 work outside drawing accurate circles with a specified radius or diameter and utilised this learning to create circular beds and planters in Forest School. In Science, the children are able to use their knowledge of place value, statistics, charts and graphs to analyse data collected during experiments; historical events can be placed on timelines with a secure understanding of place value: geography uses mathematical concepts in time zones, grid references and measurements; place value, measurements and conversions between units are also used in design technology.
Learning subject specific vocabulary enables children to better understand the subject matter. For each year group, specific vocabulary has been identified in each unit that all children learn and understand so that we know they have fully understood what it is they have been learning about. See the vocabulary development in the Lesson Objectives above.
When teaching times tables, the inverse facts are also taught so that the children understand what times tables mean and how to use them effectively when they have to apply their knowledge. When completing arithmetic, problem solving and reasoning, the children are encouraged to approach calculations as follows:
• Do I know the answer?
• Can I calculate it mentally?
• Can I use a jotting?
• Formal written method
We utilise this approach so that children have the chance to develop fluency and can work in the most efficient way possible. It also assists them when problem solving/reasoning.
Teaching for mastery demands that you are confident about what each child knows and where their misconceptions lie: therefore, practical and effective assessment is vitally important. Therefore, we monitor and assess the impact of our teaching on the children through both formative and summative assessments. Each lesson provides the teacher with the opportunity to assess the children against the learning objectives.
In order to effectively assess learning, a range of assessments are utilised:
- Formative assessment within the lessons: The Think together section will often reveal any confusions or insecurities: these can often be worked through by doing the first Think together question as a class.
- The Reflect section is designed to check on the all-important depth of understanding.
- End of unit check – Textbook Each unit concludes with a summative check to help assess quickly and clearly each child’s understanding, fluency, reasoning and problem-solving skills. In KS2 this check also contains a SATs-style question to help children become familiar with answering this type of question.
- End of unit check –The Practice Book contains further opportunities for assessment and is completed independently by children.
- Termly assessments on the topics covered in their year group but not linked to Power Maths are used to assess the children’s progress against National standards.
The variety of assessment activities are designed to enable both the teacher and the children to clearly see the progress that they have made.
The expected impact of our maths scheme of work is that the children will:
- Become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics
- Have a range of strategies to solve mathematical questions and problems
- 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
- Solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and nonroutine problems with increasing sophistication
- Be able to break down problems into a series of simpler steps and preserve in seeking solutions.
- Make rich connections across mathematical ideas to develop fluency, mathematical reasoning and competence in solving increasingly sophisticated problems.
- Meet the end of key stage expectations outlined in the National curriculum for Maths.
National assessments that are carried out in Maths are:
- Year 2 Key Stage 1 SATs
- Year 4 Multiplication check
- Year 6 Key Stage 2 SATs