At Minster Junior School our intent in Mathematics is to teach a rich, balanced and progressive curriculum, using maths to reason, problem solve and develop fluency and understanding in each strand of the National Curriculum Programme of Study.
We use the Ready-to-progress criteria from the DfE publication ‘Mathematics guidance: key stages 1 and 2’ as the framework to identify the most important concepts and understanding; and how these core concepts progress from year three to year six.
The curriculum is sequenced so that content is taught in a logical progression; place value is taught first in each year group so that children have a solid understanding of the value of each digit in a number. This knowledge is then utilised when learning about addition and subtraction; addition and subtraction needs to be learnt before looking at multiplication and division (as repeated addition and subtraction).
Number skills are taught first as many of the subsequent strands require a secure grasp of number. For some strands, the order is not as crucial so these are spread so pupils have as wide a variety of mathematical experiences as possible in each term and year.
It is our intention that children develop fluency and automaticity in number facts and continue to build and expand their knowledge and understanding as they progress through school. In years three and four children develop fluency in the recall of multiplication tables and the corresponding division facts; this is maintained and secured by continued practice in years five and six.
We agree with the mastery principle that pupils should broadly move through the curriculum at the same pace. As far as possible, pupils stay together on the same topic with necessary differentiation such as removing barriers and providing targeted support and greater depth challenges where appropriate.
Children are introduced to age-appropriate mathematical vocabulary that they define, rehearse, explore and understand which they then use to reason and solve problems. Children read at an age-appropriate level, or with support from an adult, to answer questions and understand problems.
Minster Junior School has recently adopted the use of the White Rose Maths Hub Schemes of Learning across the school to sequence our teaching of maths to ensure a clear and consistent approach after a successful trial with Years 5 and 6. The curriculum is designed to allow time to explore a strand in depth to develop understanding; children spend time on a concept during the block of learning and revisit the concept in other areas so that they continue to deepen their understanding through revisiting and interleaving. The duration of a unit and individual lessons are adapted to meet the needs of the children but coverage is maintained.
We will be using the White Rose Maths printed workbooks across KS2. This is to help support consistency of approach in school and to minimise disruption in the event of class isolation or further school closures due to COVID-19.
Alongside developing children’s conceptual understanding of the four operations in the blocks of learning, the school has a subscription to SUMDOG. This application is used in school to support development of children’s fluency and can also be accessed by children at home to provide suitable homework tasks.
Our maths lessons follow many of the mastery principles – spending longer on topics to help gain deeper understanding, making connections, keeping the class working together on the same topic and a fundamental belief that, through effort, all pupils are capable of understanding, doing and improving at mathematics.
While every child is working on the same activities, one might finish just a few questions while another reaches the final challenge in the same time. All students have opportunities to develop reasoning and solve problems as well as develop fluency. Adaptive teaching can be achieved, for example, through varying the degree of support provided, using enabling and extending questions, and providing or asking for alternative representations.
Children are provided regular opportunity and encouraged to discuss mathematical tasks; in pairs, groups and as a class. Listening to students’ discussion is a powerful assessment for learning tool, enabling teachers to really understand what students know and don’t know about a topic. It also encourages pupils to refine their reasoning and explanation skills.
Mathematical vocabulary is discussed, defined and rehearsed; children are then encouraged to use the correct vocabulary in their discussions and explanations. Stem sentences are used in lessons to support children’s mathematical language and vocabulary; this approach alongside ‘I say, you say, we say’ provides all children an opportunity of oral rehearsal.
Reading is an integral part of the maths curriculum at Minster Junior School. Children are provided with opportunities in every lesson to practise and develop their reading skills. This is done through a combination of teacher modelling and guided reading of maths questions, particularly for younger children, and reading to access and understand tasks.
Children are encouraged to check their work every 5 questions or so (after fewer questions for younger children). The class’ work is reviewed during and after the lesson, common mistakes or misunderstandings are then addressed either during the lesson or at the next available opportunity. This is done through smaller group intervention and through the use of technology to allow tasks to be modelled by the teacher. Children also have access to a Numberstacks intervention which involves pinpointing gaps in key knowledge and small groups of children work to address these gaps.
Assessment for learning strategies are used to continuously monitor pupils’ progress towards the expected standard, with feedback used to inform and adapt planning accordingly. White Rose Maths summative assessments are completed at the end of a block (Years 3-6) and at the end of each term. The results of these assessments are used to inform discussions during pupil progress meetings and to update the school tracking system.
The policies, resources and schemes we have adopted support our vision and help children across the school to become fluent mathematicians who can reason and solve a range of mathematical problems.
The impact of the mathematics curriculum is that our children across all attainment levels are able to move through the curriculum at a similar pace. Teachers are able to use their professional judgement at all times which means that children are given sufficient time to learn, practise and embed each area of maths before moving on to a new one; children develop a deeper, fluent understanding of each area of maths.
The adoption of White Rose Maths workbooks has supported consistency of approach and exposure to multiple representations. In the event of children being required to isolate or further school closures the use of workbooks will allow the teaching of maths to continue uninterrupted and curriculum coverage maintained.
The maths curriculum at Minster Junior School helps to develop children’s reading skills and fluency, exposing them to rich mathematical language and encouraging its use.
At Minster Junior School, we strive to develop resilience within the children; we tell our children that it is okay to get things wrong because the journey to finding the answer is the most important, which includes finding and correcting mistakes. We encourage children to persevere when attempting to solve problems, and give them to freedom to choose the equipment and strategies they think are best suited for each problem. This demonstrates one of core school values of ‘Resilience’.
In order to provide the highest quality of Maths education for our pupils, teachers have actively participated in continuing professional development with the Maths Hub to develop our practice and employ the most effective pedagogical approaches according to evidence-informed practice. Involvement with the Maths Hub will continue to embed the White Rose mastery scheme.