Mathematics teaches us how to make sense of the world around us through developing a child’s ability to calculate, to reason and to solve problems. It enables children to understand and appreciate relationships and pattern in both number and space in their everyday lives. It is for this reason that maths is given high priority at Denton West End and why we continually review our practice in this subject.
At Denton West End, we use the Inspire Scheme of work as a basis for our lessons in Year 1 through to Year 6. This ensures a consistent teaching approach and effective progression throughout school. We view this scheme as an aspirational curriculum which supports teachers to use a ‘mastery’ approach and to deliver lessons which focus on developing a deeper understanding.
This is supported through the implementation of the CPA (concrete, pictorial, abstract)/connections model. The Inspire scheme itself includes many pictorial images to support the children’s understanding including the use of bar modelling and part whole models. In addition to this, the pupils in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, have access to a wide range of manipulatives and concrete equipment to represent the maths and to support reasoning. These resources are kept in ‘maths packs’ and stored in every classroom. Manipulatives are used for whole class teaching and with groups or individuals who may require additional support or intervention.
Within every classroom, there is a ‘connections model’ maths display. This is a working wall which is created alongside the pupils and which is current to the unit of work and concepts being taught. The working wall display includes relevant images, language, symbols and context. In addition, stem sentences are also displayed for teacher and pupil reference. These are formed at the planning stage and shared with the children. The stem sentences can be taken directly from the Inspire scheme or created based on the key learning which the teacher plans. A stem sentence is a rule or generalisation which enables the children to verbalise their mathematical thinking. In lessons, we repeat these to build confidence and retention.
We view mathematical language as being a key part to developing pupil confidence and understanding. It is seen as an integral part of being able to reason and explain mathematical ideas. For this reason, we have invested in staff development and continued professional development in this area; with a specific focus on technical language for calculation. This has ensured consistency across school and has developed a greater understanding of the structures of calculation. Pupils are often expected to use their knowledge of mathematical language when engaging in focused learning partner talk about their maths learning. Teachers also expect children to use technical language when giving explanations to the class or answering questions in lessons.
differentiation and assessment
At Denton West End, we recognise that not all pupils move through their learning journey at the same pace. Therefore, we use our on-going, formative assessment to adjust lessons according to the needs of the pupils. This may involve highlighting misconceptions, identifying gaps in learning and planning for the whole-class teaching of these, teacher and teaching assistant support during lessons and the use of manipulatives for additional support where necessary.
As part of the mastery approach and in order to assess ‘deeper learning’, teachers and teaching staff have developed the use of higher order questioning to promote and develop the key mathematical skills of problem-solving and reasoning. This questioning allows the teacher to provide challenge for those who are ready to progress and enables the early identification of those who require additional support or intervention.
In addition to the daily maths lessons, we have two to three 20 minute ‘Mighty Maths’ sessions. The focus of these sessions will vary and are planned for based upon the needs of the children and the teacher’s assessment. They will often focus on arithmetic and fluency skills and may include the practise of written methods for calculating and recall of multiplication facts. Every class in Key Stage 2, uses the iPads to access Times Table Rock Stars for one of their Mighty Maths sessions a week. We celebrate the children’s achievements for times tables in special assemblies called ‘Red Carpet Events’. In EYFS and KS1, Mighty Maths sessions are used for implementing the Mastering Number program. The Mastering Number program is a government funded initiative which has the purpose of embedding early maths skills and number facts.
Early Years Foundation Stage
Nursery and Reception classes place a strong emphasis on learning through play in all areas of the curriculum, including mathematics. This is facilitated through continuous provision and maths role play areas which are set up both inside the classroom and in the outdoor learning environment.
Each day, there is a short daily focused learning session either with small groups (in Nursery) or the whole class (in Reception). These are teacher led and include the focused teaching of a mathematical concept. To follow this up, there is either a focused table session or the opportunity to access continuous provision. During continuous provision, the children play independently in role play areas which are set up to promote the use of maths and those concepts which have previously been taught. During this time, the role of the teacher and teaching assistants is to question and promote discussion so that mathematical language can be rehearsed and mathematical learning can be applied and assessed.
Practical resources and equipment underpins learning and allows the pupils to access the maths and to develop a good understanding. This includes mathematical resources such as Numicon and Cuisenaire (number rods). In addition to this, there is a range of resources which can be used outside. These are stored in a ‘maths shed’ and children can access these independently.
Daily counting and singing of songs and rhymes are used to reinforce and consolidate number facts and other mathematical concepts. Teachers also provide real-life problem solving contexts which often involve daily routines e.g. sharing out fruit at snack time.
Key mathematical concepts involving the understanding of number are shown using a variety of models and images, including the ‘part, whole model’ and number lines.
Above all, learning in EYFS is viewed as essential preparation for Year 1, for accessing the National Curriculum and for learning beyond the early years.
Overall, our work with the maths hub and other maths professionals has enabled us to develop our teaching of maths. The maths subject leader and lead teacher have worked closely with all staff to ensure a consistent approach across school. Furthermore, through accessing a wealth of courses and bespoke in-house training, we have enhanced subject knowledge and teacher confidence.
At Denton West End, we are proud of our maths journey so far and we will endeavour to continue to review, refine and build on our teaching of maths now and in the future.
WHAT THE CHILDREN SAY
At Denton West End Primary School, the children's opinions are important to us. We regularly consult with them about their leaning and the curriculum. This is what they have to say about Maths.
EXAMPLES OF WORK
These knowledge organisers show the key learning outcomes for each year group.