“Success in math(s) does not depend on how many answers you know, but by what you do when you don’t know the answer” – Unknown
From budgeting our finances, to telling the time, maths is pivotal to our everyday lives. Maths at Milton St. John’s CE Primary School is about equipping all of our children with the skills they need to solve problems in their everyday lives, both now, and in the future.
Mathematicians at Milton St. John’s will…
- foster a love of thinking mathematically
- initiate, develop, consolidate and advance their numeracy skills
- take organised, logical approaches to challenges
- use creative-thinking across the mathematics curriculum, including with numbers, calculations, shapes, measures and patterns
- develop their reasoning skills
- solve a range of problems, which require the application of the skills and knowledge they have acquired
Our curriculum drivers underpin all we do and are an essential part of our learning. The drivers help our children to ‘RISE’ up and play a vital role in their community; locally, nationally and globally. They are listed below:
- Respect for the opinions and beliefs of others
- Independence & Resilience
- Engagement & Curiosity
We do not believe in a ‘one size fits all’ approach, so our teachers are highly trained in responding to the needs of individuals. They plan carefully tailored work to suit our pupils, using the White Rose scheme as a basis. We aim to pitch work precisely, supporting less-confident mathematicians, whilst extending those who are most highly attaining.
Achieving mastery of a skill can’t be rushed, so we take time to deliver new concepts to the children, ensuring that they master the necessary areas before moving on to new content; this ensures deeper learning. Children’s understanding is secured through the opportunity to apply their knowledge, skills and understanding to a broad range of non-routine problems.
Problem solving is at the very core of our maths lessons, after all, the ability to use and apply maths is fundamental to everyday life, both in childhood and adulthood. We ensure that the children are exposed to familiar and unfamiliar problems to develop their confidence and ability to choose relevant strategies side-by-side.
We believe that children should be encouraged to think analytically and creatively. Teachers promote discussion through rich, open-ended questioning, which promotes higher-order thinking, reasoning and explanation; this articulation consolidates children’s learning and develops the children’s ability to raise questions of their own. Through mathematical talk, children will develop the ability to articulate, discuss and explain their thinking. We will provide the children with the necessary resources to allow the children to access the curriculum and encourage them to use this, where appropriate, to explain their logic and reasoning.
We believe that enjoyment of maths is key to developing confidence in the subject, therefore, we value the impact of practical activities and maths games. We utilise these to develop children’s fluency alongside more formal methods of recitation and questioning. We endeavour to make some cross-curricular links to really enthuse the children and make maths a meaningful experience for them.
We do not ability-group our children, but instead develop pupils’ ability to reflect and self-assess before choosing the appropriate level of challenge. We encourage resiliency, tenacity and a hunger to work at a problem, which may, at first, seem tricky, whilst respecting children’s decisions to re-evaluate their judgement during the lesson.
At Milton St. Johns we firmly believe that every child is a mathematician, and through supportive, engaging and creative teaching, we strive to help children realise this quality in themselves.
Traditionally, Mathematics has been taught by memorising key facts and procedures, which tends to lead to superficial understanding that can easily be forgotten. At Milton St. John’s, we believe that children should be able to select which mathematical approach is most effective in different scenarios.
All pupils can achieve in mathematics! There is no such thing as a ‘Maths person’ (that is the belief that some pupils can do maths and others cannot). A typical Maths lesson will provide the opportunity for all children, regardless of their ability, to work through fluency, reasoning AND problem solving activities.
The children are taught to become competent and independent mathematicians. The ‘mastery approach’ to teaching maths is an underlying principle of our teaching. Instead of learning mathematical procedures by rote, we want pupils to build a deep conceptual understanding of concepts, which will enable them to apply their learning in different situations.
Maths is a journey and long-term goal, achieved through exploration, clarification, practice and application over time. At each stage of learning, children should be able to demonstrate a deep, conceptual understanding of the topic and be able to build on this over time.
There are 3 levels of learning:
Shallow learning: surface, temporary, often lost
Deep learning: it sticks, can be recalled and used
Deepest learning: can be transferred and applied in different contexts
The deep and deepest levels are what we are aiming for by teaching maths using the Mastery approach.
At Milton St. John’s, we recognise that in order for pupils to progress to deeper and more complex problems, children need to be confident and fluent across each yearly objective. We follow the ‘White Rose’ schemes of learning to ensure that the coverage for the year is completed. We use these plans to ensure that all objectives are covered for each year group and that we are planning to the three key principles to deepen children’s understanding.
We use three key principles to deepen pupils’ understanding:
- Conceptual understanding
- Language and communication
- Mathematical thinking
Within the ‘White Rose’ scheme of learning, each National Curriculum objective is broken down into Small Steps, detailing fluency, reasoning and problem solving. Our teachers use this document and supplement it with other useful resources such as Primary Stars, NCETM, Classroom Secrets, Power Maths and Target Your Maths.
Concrete, pictorial, abstract – multiple representations for all pupils
Objects, pictures, words, numbers and symbols are everywhere. The mastery approach incorporates all of these to help children explore and demonstrate mathematical ideas, enrich their learning experience and deepen understanding. Together, these elements help cement knowledge so pupils truly understand what they have learnt.
All pupils, when introduced to a key new concept, should have the opportunity to build competency in this topic by taking this approach. Pupils are encouraged to physically represent mathematical concepts. Objects and pictures are used to demonstrate and visualise abstract ideas, alongside numbers and symbols.
Concrete – children have the opportunity to use concrete objects and manipulatives to help them understand and explain what they are doing.
Pictorial – children then build on this concrete approach by using pictorial representations, which can then be used to reason and solve problems.
Abstract – With the foundations firmly laid, children can move to an abstract approach using numbers and key concepts with confidence.
Through moderation of planning, lessons and books, we can be sure that progress is made across all year groups. If progress is not being made, support is immediate and steps provided to ensure all pupils achieve and make progress.
Summative assessment takes place at the end of each term and children’s progress and attainment is discussed with senior leaders in pupil progress meetings. Formative assessment takes place on a daily basis and teachers adjust planning accordingly to meet the needs of their class. The teaching of mathematics is also monitored by leaders through lesson observations and book scrutinies.
Children will be able to:
- Quickly recall facts and procedures
- Use flexibility and fluidity to move between different contexts and representations of mathematics.
- Recognise relationships and make connections in mathematics
A mathematical concept or skill has been mastered when a child can show it in multiple ways, using the mathematical language to explain their ideas, and can independently apply the concept to new problems in unfamiliar situations.