Maths

Purpose

“…teachers’ knowledge of mathematics for teaching must be like an experienced taxi driver’s knowledge of a city, whereby one can get to significant places in a wide variety of ways, flexibly and adaptively.” (Ma, 1999, p. 123)

“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.” (The National Curriculum in England framework document, September 2013)

Aims

We want to ensure teaching is consistent; making all lessons outstanding, so that every pupil receives a great mathematics education. Our ambition is that 100% of children will be working at age-related expectations with many working above at the end of Key Stage 1 and 100% will be working at age-related expectation with approximately ⅔ working significantly above at the end of Key Stage 2.

We aim for all of our children to be strong mathematicians because they:  

  • Have a strong conceptual understanding of maths, its structures and its relationships  
  • Can recall and apply their knowledge confidently and efficiently
  • Are secure in using written methods for which they have a clear understanding

We aim to place problem-solving and investigative skills at the heart of our mathematics teaching. We recognise that collaboration and communication are crucial life skills and should be developed in our mathematics teaching. The expectation is that all children welcome challenge and that teachers foster the attitude that we all, even the most able among us, should expect to struggle. Through careful assessment, planning and preparation we aim to ensure that all children progress when they are ready. New knowledge and skills should be secure before new material is introduced. For those who grasp new material quickly, they should apply this to rich problem-solving tasks.

Curriculum

HNPS will work to the expectations set out in the framework document for The National Curriculum in England, September 2013 for Years 1 to 6 and the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum, 2014. We will not follow a scheme of work; rather HNPS’ curriculum for mathematics will be tailored to meet the individual needs of each cohort and to fulfil our ambition for the children by the time they leave us. However, our curriculum will draw on proven pedagogy in the following resources:

  • Numicon: Planning for Number, Pattern and Calculating & Geometry, Measurement and Statistics
  • Nrich
  • NCETM National Curriculum Planning Tool
  • BEAM
  • Devon LDP Storybook Maths

We will be keeping a keen eye on the trialling of INSPIRE MATHS in maths hubs across the country. This is based on exemplary pedagogy and a text book series used in all of Singapore’s state schools.

The school’s curriculum will place an emphasis on rich, applied mathematical tasks which allow the children many opportunities to persevere with problem-solving. While some maths needs to be taught discretely, there is an emphasis on giving the maths an appropriate context so there is a purpose for what they are learning. Using the school environment and the wider world, the curriculum will make sure that children explore, make connections, seek patterns, recognise relationships and are creative with mathematics. Themed ‘maths weeks’ will be used to broaden both teacher and child experiences in mathematics. These may include:

  • Maths in Art
  • Famous Mathematicians
  • Maths in Architecture
  • Storybook Maths
  • Money / Enterprise
  • Puzzles

A good understanding of place value and key number facts is extremely important; we will therefore encourage the use of a wide range of practical equipment and a structured apparatus to support this active learning and conceptual development including:

  • Numicon
  • Base Ten
  • Counting Sticks
  • Cuisenaire Rods
  • Number lines, one hundred squares and much more besides

Throughout all stages, children will play with numbers, measures, shapes and patterns to develop numerical awareness and explore the idea of ‘proof.’ We promote mathematical games that involve point scoring and personal bests (both electronic, and ‘hands on’) as we know that, if managed properly, this is highly motivating.

For good progress to take place in maths, it is important that we exercise many aspects of a child’s cognitive development. HNPS will offer children frequent opportunities to tackle logic games, puzzles and memory exercises.

In addition to daily mathematics lessons, there will be frequent opportunities for children to apply their mathematical knowledge and understanding throughout the school day and across the curriculum in subjects such as computing, design technology and science.

Teaching and Learning

Each class at HNPS will be taught mathematics for one hour every morning. All classes will be mixed-ability and the expectation is that all children will master the key concepts before the class moves on, reflecting the structure of teaching in high-performing jurisdictions such as Hong Kong and Singapore.

Our objective is that all teaching is outstanding. Underpinning all good or outstanding teaching in mathematics is the expertise and sound subject knowledge of the staff. Clear policies and regular professional development from a range of sources will develop the expertise of staff to help with the following:

  • Delivering the school’s curriculum thoroughly and consistently
  • Enhancing staff subject knowledge  
  • Weaving mathematical ideas into a coherent whole
  • Choosing practical resources, visual images and information and communication technology that promote inclusive teaching and a deeper understanding for all
  • Using good Assessment for Learning techniques to listen flexibly to children and to check and probe their understanding throughout

Inclusion

The following principles inform and guide our policy and practice:  

  • Meeting the diverse and complex needs of each and every individual is embedded in everything that we do as a school  
  • It is the responsibility of HNPS to enable all children to access and make progress through the curriculum 
  • “Equal opportunities” is not the same as “Equal provision”

What is good provision for a child with SEN is good for all children, i.e. an abundance of activities that allow children to learn visually, through speaking and listening and kinaesthetically. We respond to children’s diverse learning needs by:

  • Creating effective learning environments  
  • Securing their motivation and concentration  
  • Providing equality of opportunity through a range of teaching approaches and modifying these for individual needs  
  • Using appropriate assessments  
  • Setting targets for learning  
  • Teaching more able children with their own class and extending their learning through differentiated group work, extra challenges and opportunities for independent learning.

Where appropriate, special arrangements are made for an exceptionally gifted child – see also: Inclusion Policy.

Planning

Teachers plan for deep coverage and mastery of the school’s curriculum through both daily maths lessons and additional opportunities to develop mental maths skills. Plans for daily maths lesson include teaching, practising, applying and reviewing, and offering multi-sensory learning tasks. Children’s targets are at the forefront of all planning and are clearly linked to and reviewed through regular assessments. Lessons include opportunities for:

  • Practical activities and mathematical games  
  • Problem solving  
  • Individual, small group and whole class discussions  
  • Open and closed tasks  
  • A range of methods of calculating e.g. mental, paper and pencil and calculator  
  • Working with ICT outdoor learning

Teachers should use this detailed information on progression through each strand and how to use practical resources and models to develop understanding at each stage. Classes are mixed-ability and the groups within classes are fluid. Teachers will use a range of grouping methods when planning. No children miss out on the daily mathematics lesson for interventions etc. as it is crucial they have access to high quality teaching and learning time with their class teacher, who is best placed to help them make progress.. Occasionally they may spend additional time working with an adult on a one-to-one basis or in small groups to close a gap that has been identified or to secure understanding from a recent lesson.

Resources

Children become fluent in mathematics when they have lots of ‘hands on’ experiences. Therefore, children and staff draw on a wide range of practical resources in order to develop the conceptual understanding of maths; its structures and its relationships. This then helps children move smoothly to abstract representations and recorded methods. Good use of resources also helps make the learning more interesting. Use of practical equipment will continue until children are in Year 6.

The mathematical school environment

The whole school environment will be rich in number, shape and measure. Clocks with a  range of faces and numerals will be available where time is most meaningful for children; where they eat, where they play and where they learn. Thermometers will be at child level throughout the indoor and outdoor environment to encourage children to show an interest in temperature change; comparing and evaluating it.

Within classrooms, children will be encouraged to choose and access resources independently.

Assessment

All assessment is used to inform teaching and learning. We identify children’s understanding and then swiftly focus interventions to overcome misconceptions. HNPS will offer limited summative assessment to children in mathematics as studies show that this can have a negative impact on children’s progress. Better we unpick one of their mistakes with them to correct their misconception than tell them 40% of their work was a mistake, or only 10% of their work was a mistake. Studies show that children do very little with a fixed score as opposed to a worked through correction and seeing where they were successful.

HNPS will assess children in four main ways:

  1. Assessment for learning: continuous  
  2. Marking: daily/weekly  
  3. Periodic assessment against 2015 year group expectations
  4. End of Key Stage transitional assessments: annually

Towards the end of the school year we assess and review pupils’ overall progress and attainment by drawing upon their class record of attainment against key objectives and supplementary notes and knowledge about children to produce a summative record. Accurate information is then reported to parents and the child’s next teacher.

End of Key Stage assessments will be moderated either with other schools locally or by external consultants.

The role of Support Staff

Support Staff will be actively involved in teaching small groups within lessons and in providing intervention sessions. They will support all groups in the classroom, enabling the teacher also to work with all groups on a weekly basis. They will offer sensitive support and are expected to modify tasks, materials and teaching resources as required. They will demonstrate initiative in using practical resources to support learning and help pupils overcome difficulties, for example by using strings of counting beads to aid early multiplication. They will be careful not to over-direct pupils’ learning. They will spot misconceptions and gaps in learning, and take responsibility for assessing pupils in their groups, and help to identify the next steps and plan subsequent activities with the class teachers. They will participate in reviewing pupils’ progress and were particularly effective in identifying and supporting personal problems that presented barriers to learning.

Music and Maths

Music will also support maths teaching at Hackney New Primary School. Rote learning elements of the curriculum such as learning will be accelerated through the use of songs and pattern will be supported by the study of structures present in rhythmic and melodic fragments as well as longer melodies and pieces.  The short term memory needed for longer calculations will supported by the development of the internal voice and shape and spatial awareness will be developed by the strategies used for teaching the movements required for string playing.

Use of Technology

The role of technology in the mathematics curriculum is to motivate and engage children and support children in analysing and communicating. Calculators should be used throughout the school to promote play, exploration and fun with number. They may also be used at the teacher’s discretion for children to check their own work. As a mechanism by which to find correct answers, they will only be used with children working at age-related expectations in Phase 3, where the child has to make a sophisticated decision about the calculation required.

Where there are barriers to learning / children who find mathematics difficult

HNPS will have the highest expectations for all children. We will act early to secure the essential knowledge and skills of the least able. In conjunction with the leadership team, notably the Inclusion Manager and Maths Subject Leader, staff will be encouraged to reflect on why these barriers exist in the first place, what can be done to prevent them arising in future. Where gaps need to be closed for individuals or groups, we will run a programme of interventions in the afternoons. The intervention used will depend on the nature of the difficulty for the child/ren. However, our principal interventions are Closing the Gap with Numicon in Key Stage 1 and Catch Up Numeracy in Key Stage 2. The impact of these will  be  monitored and regularly reviewed.

We believe that with high-quality teaching and rigorous assessment, every child can achieve very well.

Leadership

Our Maths Subject Leader must always be an outstanding practitioner in their own right in order to lead by example. To tackle barriers and ensure consistency, they are responsible for:  

  • Monitoring teaching and learning through lesson observations, work and pupil progress reviews  
  • Using the information gathered from data analysis to improve teaching and the curriculum  
  • Robustly challenging weak teaching and identifying what support or development is needed 
  • Mapping interventions and deploying support staff effectively  
  • Assisting with individual and group target setting and ensure progress against these targets is effectively shared with parents  
  • Preparing and organising INSET as necessary

The Maths Subject Leader must also work in partnership with other members of the leadership team, particularly the Inclusion Manager and our governors’ Primary School Committee, in raising standards in Mathematics across our school and maintaining the high profile of mathematics in the School Development Plan.