The basic skills of mathematics are essential for everyday life and vital for understanding the world around us. At Swallownest Primary School we strive for all children to be inquisitive, curious mathematicians who display joined up thinking and can see and articulate connections between different areas of mathematics, the wider curriculum and the world around them. We aim for them to appreciate and enjoy seeing the highly interconnected nature of the discipline to help prepare them for their future and life outside of primary school. We aim for children to be able to look at the patterns that make up our world and develop sophisticated solutions to mathematical problems they encounter.
At Swallownest Primary School, our mathematics curriculum had been developed to ensure children achieve highly in mathematics. Fostering a growth mindset for problem solving is important to us and is explicit in our teaching. We want our children to have the tools of fluent recall of basic facts, proficiency in manipulating number, strategies for problem solving and understanding of different representations to foster a real enjoyment and sense of wonder around the subject of mathematics. We believe all children should see themselves as mathematicians with a desire to share their learning who feel confident to tackle mathematical problems independently.
At Swallownest Primary School, we teach mathematics in line with the statutory requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum. Mathematics is taught daily using the ‘Power Maths’ DfE recommended scheme of learning from EYFS through to Year 6.
‘Power Maths’ follows a mastery approach to the learning of mathematics which sparks curiosity and excitement and nurtures confidence in maths. It is designed to bring all children through the carefully ordered and sequential small steps of the curriculum together. This scheme combines interactive teaching tools, rich and quality workbooks, manipulatives and a wide range of representations as well as embedding a growth mindset approach across all lessons. We follow a daily learning sequence (Power Up, Discover, Share, Think Together, Practice, Reflect) which builds children’s confidence throughout the lesson leading to independent practice in their work book and a reflection at the end of each lesson in years 1-6. For our EYFS learners, this same sequence is followed but across a week for each small step. Teachers all follow this learning sequence, adapting the timings needed for each small step to the needs of their classes sometimes dedicating more time to using manipulatives or thinking together to help children to grasp a mathematical concept. The problems that children work through combine their problem solving and reasoning skills as well as demonstrating their understanding of different representations.
To develop fluency of recall, Swallownest pupils have a daily Maths Meeting session. This is a short 15 minute session which offers children the opportunity for repeated practise of their basic skills, facts and concepts and to develop their mathematical fluency. Children do not learn new mathematical ideas and concepts in these sessions, only revisit content that they have already met to enable them to practise skills, procedures and facts from previous mathematical learning, keeping this fresh and improving recall. In KS1, we have recently embarked upon the Mastering Number Programme to develop children’s basic number sense and develop fluency in subitising and other number facts.
At Swallownest Primary School, it is important for us to develop a growth mindset in each learner. In order to do so, we have developed 5 key growth mindset phrases as a school which we display in our classrooms and promote in our maths lessons:
- I’m going to keep on trying until I get it!
- I’m not going to stop trying because that’s when I stop learning.
- I can’t do this…yet!
- Let me try a different way.
- I may have made a mistake but I can learn from it!
Each half term, we hold a Mission
Impossible maths day wherein each class carries out an open ended task in their maths lesson. Children work in mixed ability pairs to work through the problem together using their growth mindsets to aid them. This develops resilience in problem solving, strategic and logical thinking and learning and the children’s ability to apply what they have been learning. At the end of each session, a Gold Mission Impossible Learner is selected and celebrated in our weekly Gold Assembly.
As part of the mastery approach to learning, intervention for those children who have not grasped a concept is fast and happens prior to the next maths lesson. For those who are working below the expected level for their chronological age, lessons are adapted and previous year group ‘Power Maths’ sessions are delivered where appropriate. Interventions such as FirstClass@Number 1 and FirstClass@Number 2 are delivered by trained Teaching Assistants to close the gap for those children who need to come into line with their year group. Precision teaching interventions are used for fluency of number facts such as number bonds and multiplication tables. At Swallownest, we use Times Tables Rock Stars (KS2) and Numbots (KS1) as engaging, intereactive and competitive home learning activities for children. These help to build children’s basic facts recall. We will often hold both in house and enter nationwide competitions on these platforms which children love and engage well in!
The impact of our carefully crafted Mathematics curriculum is evident in the way children show resilience in their mathematical learning and the confidence children show in the attempting of a range of problems using growth mindsets when approaching trickier problems. It is also shown in the way in which Swallownest learners demonstrate quick recall of facts and procedures. This includes the recollection of times tables and number bonds.
The way children talk about their mathematical learning in pupil voice interviews shows they are keen learners and enjoy discussing the maths they have learnt. Children are developing skills in being articulate and are able to reason verbally, pictorially and in written form. Children are developing the ability to make connections between mathematical topics. Our children are resilient and they make measurable progress against the National Curriculum objectives. Well-planned sequences of learning support pupils to develop and refine their maths skills.
We use both formative assessment in lessons as well as using assessment of book work to inform our teaching and learning sequence. This helps teachers to identify the children who need more support to achieve the intended outcome and who are ready for greater stretch and challenge through planned questioning or additional activities Feedback is given on children’s learning in line with our feedback policy. Small stakes end of unit checks linked to the Power Maths lessons are undertaken at the end of each unit. These inform planning and the maths included in our Maths Meetings. In order to support teacher judgements, termly summative assessments are carried out in relation to all National Curriculum statements for the chronological age of the children. These inform future planning, interventions and Maths Meeting planning.