For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
‘Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty’.
British logician: Bertrand Russell.
At Radwinter CofE Primary School, we believe maths to be fundamental in preparing our young people for every path that their life takes them. We want our pupils to become independent and successful mathematicians who can apply their skills to many different situations.
As soon as they arrive with us, children are exposed to real-life maths and provided with the opportunities to experiment through mathematical play. This culture of discovery, investigation and creativity continues in each classroom which enables our children to become resilient mathematicians.
Through our maths mastery curriculum, we will help children develop the skills and knowledge that will enable them to become lifelong learners and users of maths:
To have fluent and efficient calculation methods
To have the ability to manipulate numbers and convert between units of measure
To be able to recognise and identify key properties of shape
To be able to collect, present and interpret data and statistics
To use multiple methods for problem solving
To use specific mathematical vocabulary to explain methods, hypotheses and evidence
We want our children to feel curious, excited, prepared and determined when tackling puzzles, making new discoveries and overcoming difficulties. As well as this, children should feel supported yet challenged when there are barriers or anxieties around learning and be able to translate these into moments of great joy, pride and confidence.
We have adopted a maths mastery teaching approach that is rooted in the belief that, given the appropriate time and support, all children can achieve their full potential in maths. Maths mastery focuses on going deeper with understanding rather than being quick, moving on to bigger numbers, and having a surface level of understanding. This is achieved through embedding the use of different representations using concrete, pictorial and abstract methods. We use 'dive deeper' challenges to stretch and challenge pupils who are rapid graspers.
Maths mastery emphasises the ‘why’ before the ‘how’ and reinforces the importance of having a deep understanding rather than just ‘doing maths’ and learning by rote. To facilitate this, pupils engage in lots of mathematical talk and reasoning which deepens their own understanding whilst also demonstrates their expertise; they are asked to discuss ‘odd ones out’, ‘examples and non-examples’, ‘true/false’ statements, and hypotheses that require proof. In addition to this, all pupils take part in problem solving with maths which develops their systematic thinking, trial and improvement skills, creative and critical thinking, and their ability to make connections between many areas of maths.
All members of our school staff have the responsibility of empowering our young mathematicians by being maths ambassadors and positive role models supporting the maths mastery belief that every child can achieve their full potential.
To keep skills sharp, pupils engage in daily fluency and calculation practice once these skills have been taught; they frequently revisit previous topics so that learning can be moved in to the long-term memory rather than being forgotten. Similarly, homework is targeted specifically to rehearse, embed and become more efficient at key skills taught during the week. All of our KS2 pupils have a Times Tables Rockstars account to support them achieving automaticity (immediate recall) of times tables facts. In KS1, pupils use the White Rose app called 'One Minute Maths' to practice key skills such as subitising.
We have amalgamated the progression and key skills of the NCETM Ready-to-Progress criteria and the White Rose maths progression to create our own skills progression (see below). Similarly, we have reviewed the calculation policy from White Rose maths and tailored this to the needs of our pupils by ensuring there is a clear progression of concrete, pictorial and abstract representations as these are fundamental in maths mastery teaching. Teachers have the flexibility to draw on a vast number of resources from credible organisations to ensure that their teaching is engaging, deep, stimulating, relevant and varied, so that pupils can develop their love of maths, investigations and discovery.
Maths is taught daily in discrete lessons but also through cross-curricular links such as statistics in science and computing, measurement when cooking, shopping, and building in DT, and also shape properties in DT and Art. Theme weeks/days are used to promote curiosity, creative application of skills and opportunities to delve deeper into investigations. For example, we participate in Barvember, NSPCC number day, and the Primary Maths Challenge.
As a result of our mastery curriculum, we believe our children will become efficient, reflective, curious, experimental and creative mathematicians who approach problems with resilience, an open mind and a pool of strategies to draw on. Even when our pupils find things tricky, they do not give up and are able to try different approaches to help them. This will enable our pupils to transition to secondary feeling confident in their understanding of all areas of maths and with the fundamental skills needed for them to tackle new challenges.
During their time at Radwinter, pupils are assessed both formatively and summatively so that teachers can effectively adapt future teaching to meet the needs of their children and also so that they can identify pupils who would benefit from additional support, being in a focus group, or require a challenge.
Our commitment to teaching high-quality maths through a mastery curriculum has allowed us to open our doors to parents by providing them with parent workshops in order to help them better understand key elements of maths mastery such as bar modelling. Parents are also keen to be involved in maths activities within the school such as coming in for NSPCC number day and playing maths games with pupils and also sharing in assembly how they use maths in their careers.
We teach our pupils to recognise the value of maths as a life-skill and also as integral to so many careers. They leave our school knowing the importance of maths and inspired to use these skills in their day-to-day lives. We hope our pupils go on to be successful in their lives as a result of their maths learning at Radwinter and the skills they have developed.
If you would like further information on the curriculum we teach, please contact the school directly.