We follow the National Curriculum programmes of study for Mathematics. Maths is embedded in our school through our Christian values of compassion, endurance and koinonia. We encourage children to be resilient in their learning and to find alternative solutions, as well as working together to make connections to other areas of learning. We share the belief that Mathematics is a creative and highly interconnected disciple that is essential to everyday life and want our children to understand that it is critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary to financial literacy and most forms of employment. As the children continue their journey through our school, they learn the key skills that will enable them to thrive as independent resilient individuals; ones who use Maths to solve problems outside of the classroom.
In Key Stages 1 and 2, we have used the programmes of study to create medium term plans that best support the needs of our children. The expectation is that the majority of pupils will move through these at broadly the same pace. However, decisions about when to progress will always be based on the security of pupils’ understanding and their readiness to progress to the next stage. Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly will be challenged through being offered rich and sophisticated problems to deepen understanding before any acceleration through new content. Those who are not sufficiently fluent with earlier material will consolidate their understanding, including additional practice, before moving on. We are using the DfE's mathematics guidance to ensure they are 'Ready to Progress'.
Our curriculum plans are set out over the three large terms: Autumn, Spring and Summer. They are split into single year groups, mirroring the programmes of study, and include the areas of maths and the objectives and skills that need to be covered within this period. Within these plans, there are specific opportunities for concepts to be revisited on a more regular basis throughout the school year. At St Mary’s, we recognise that our pupils benefit from overlearning key skills and concepts, usually linked to Number and Place Value, and ensure that at the beginning of every ‘long term’, time is allocated to these before moving onto other content. In addition to this, we have identified specific objectives that need to be revisited more frequently, known as ‘on the boil’ skills. These skills and knowledge often underpin other areas of the Maths curriculum and are imperative in being able to confidently make connections to other areas of school and everyday life. Furthermore, these activities allow children to further consolidate prior learning or act as a pre-tutoring task for subsequent learning.
We use maths groups within phases to best support our children. Each phase will focus on a specific area of the curriculum at any one time but these groups allow staff to provide learning opportunities more specific to the needs of the learners. For example, some children may need further consolidation on a concept or skill, whilst others need to deepen their understanding through procedural variation, reasoning or problem solving. These groups, however, remain fluid and can be altered at any point, most notably prior to the changing of a strand, for example from Number to Geometry. Often, staff members design pre-assessments to enable them to best plan to meet the needs of the children and to fully understand each child’s starting point.
Throughout the school, children are encouraged to use a concrete, pictorial and abstract approach, building on prior learning and making connections. Our calculation policy demonstrates ‘steps in learning’ as opposed to specific focuses on year group expectations. Our Calculation Policy explains in more detail the consistent approaches taken to learning.
Number Knowledge sessions
Our daily Number Knowledge sessions, in addition to the daily maths lesson, provide children with opportunities to develop greater fluency when using numbers, and link directly to objectives from the National Curriculum. Our progression document is used to design appropriate tasks, specific to the needs of the learners, which include exploring counting strategies and developing more fluent with known number and multiplication and division facts.
Furthermore, we assess using the National Curriculum objectives. Staff use ongoing formative assessment through Target Tracker and the medium term plans to ensure that content is being covered, in addition to ensuring children are accessing and practising the skills necessary. Summative assessment, again against the National Curriculum objectives, is used three times per year and gives staff a clearer picture of potential gaps so that these can be dealt with in a timely manner.