Our Curriculum - Intent
We aspire for each child to develop a deep interest in, and love for learning so they are equipped with the knowledge and skills they will require to be successful, both now, as children, and in the future. We offer an ambitious mathematics curriculum, which is shaped to reflect the unique needs of our pupils and is aligned with the National Curriculum Programmes of Study. The breadth and depth of the curriculum provides stretch and challenge for all abilities and is sequenced to ensure the progressive development of mathematical concepts, knowledge and skills.
Regular opportunities for retrieval practice enables children to deliberately rehearse newly-acquired skills and knowledge, transfer these across different contexts and identify gaps in their learning, ultimately strengthening long-term memory. We aim for all children to develop secure mathematical fluency, so they are able to demonstrate their learning in multiple ways; communicate solutions using mathematical language and independently apply mathematical concepts to new problems.
Teachers adapt lessons and tailor support to meet individual needs through a range of strategies, including pre-teaching of key skills and vocabulary; breaking learning down into smaller, more manageable chunks; giving pupils choices about their work and providing access to a wide range of practical and visual maths manipulatives. Links are made to maths in everyday situations to make learning more purposeful, relatable and engaging.
Our Curriculum - Implementation
We adopt a mastery approach to the teaching and learning of mathematics. Mastery means being able to use knowledge appropriately, fluently and creatively to apply it to new and unfamiliar situations. Future mathematical learning is built on solid foundations, which do not need to be re-taught meaning that a longer amount of time may be spent on one topic. The large majority of pupils progress through the curriculum at broadly the same pace. Stretch and challenge are achieved through increasing opportunities for pupils to work deeply and broadly within each area of mathematics.
Differentiation is achieved by emphasising deep knowledge for quick graspers and through individual support and timely intervention before the next lesson. Children are provided with models and images to support their understanding, moving to abstract representations when they are ready. Pupils who progress through learning rapidly are challenged to deepen their understanding through reasoning and problem solving. Teachers work with a focus group each day, to provide additional support for children who need to catch up or deepen understanding for those who have grasped the concept quickly.
During focus group support, adults constantly assess next steps and diagnose misconceptions ready for future planning and teaching. Groups are flexible and based upon pupils’ understanding of the current learning in recognition that children grasp areas of maths at different rates. So, for example, a pupil might find learning an aspect of number difficult but may require challenge in geometric learning.
Core facts and strategies are rehearsed through the development of frequent ‘intelligent rehearsal’ (Fluency Feeders). The fluency of number facts and mental calculations is practised weekly through the Cracking Times Tables scheme.
Concrete and pictorial representations are used to explain concepts before children move to the abstract (CPA). Children have access to resources in every lesson as well as visual representations (seeing things in different ways to support variation theory). Some children will spend longer using concrete resources than others.
Emphasis is placed on learning through reasoning, developing multiple strategies and concepts towards understanding. Opportunities for children to practise reasoning skills occur every day. Maths lessons begin with a reasoning starter which is linked to the main learning objective for the lesson. Language such as, ‘The answer is….what is the question?'; sometimes/always/never; true or false and 'prove that’ is used to prompt thinking. Opportunities for reasoning are exploited throughout the lesson, as well as feeding into the developmental marking process to move children’s learning forwards. Strategies such as ‘thinking caps’ are used to promote reasoning skills as well as Inspire (KS1) and Nrich activities.
Mathematics is taught daily and each lesson begins with a short ‘reasoning starter’ challenge for children to solve independently. This provides opportunities for children to retrieve prior learning and apply this to different contexts. New content is introduced to build on prior learning and teachers model strategies and solutions using concrete and pictorial resources, before children move on to explore the learning in an abstract concept.
Children are offered differentiated challenge tasks which reinforce and extend their learning. Teachers make use of a wide range of opportunities to assess understanding, including mini plenaries to enable them to re-shape lessons according to the progress made at each stage and opportunities for quick practice of concepts on individual whiteboards.
Lessons are taught creatively and reinforce and deepen fluency, reasoning and problem-solving skills. Teachers are skilled in using a range of strategies to ensure children remain engaged and enthused in their learning. Different learning styles are accounted for and new content is modelled through auditory, visual and kinaesthetic approaches. The ‘Herts for Learning Essentials Maths Sequences’ scheme provides a scaffold of clear learning sequences to be taught in progressive, logical steps; these continually build upon prior learning, enabling pupil progression. The learning is revisited and reinforced throughout the year to ensure that concepts are mastered, and learning, knowledge and skills become secure.
Rich mathematical talk is given high status and supported by the learning environment and teachers’ questioning. Precise mathematical language is used by adults and children and developed and enhanced through paired talk. Within lessons teachers regularly repeat and highlight key vocabulary and mathematical language. Children have frequent opportunities to practise concepts, rehearse solutions and reason with their peers, as well as engaging in whole class and small group mathematical discussions.
Children are frequently given opportunities to ‘have a go’ at applying their learning in new contexts. Exciting, challenging reasoning and problem-solving tasks are set and children can progress in their learning through systematic trial and error. Rather than being deterred by mistakes, children learn to recognise that they are in fact a useful, positive part of the learning process. Our whole school culture promotes self-challenge, resilience, courage, questioning and deep thinking.
A secure understanding of the benefits of early intervention is embedded throughout the school. Pupil progress meetings take place each term with teachers to evaluate the progress and attainment of all children and identify next steps. Outcomes from the progress meetings and ongoing assessment information are used to allocate additional support, for example target teaching, where required.
Our curriculum is enhanced with opportunities outside of the classroom for children to enrich their mathematics understanding:
- Enterprise Week (annual) - allows children to see how their learning and maths skills can be applied in the ‘real’ world.
- Maths Week (annual) - cross-curricular links including Science, Design & Technology and Art (geometric patterns in Islamic art).
- Outdoor learning - every year group is required to spend time learning maths using our outdoor classroom.
Our Curriculum - Impact
The impact of our curriculum is the measure of how well our intent has been realised. It is demonstrated through the success of our learners and their confidence to demonstrate the knowledge they have retained over time and the strong outcomes for all groups or pupils across the school. Children’s achievements in mathematics are assessed through a variety of ways. Marking and feedback provide ongoing assessment information and children are assessed formally at the end of each term, including at the end of each phase. Children are assessed in their multiplication tables on a weekly basis.
Pupil Voice activities help us to shape the curriculum to the needs and interests of our pupils. Children have expressed that they enjoy having mathematical discussions with their ‘talk partners’, as it helps them to verbalise their strategies (this has proved particularly beneficial for girls and lower ability pupils). Pupil surveys and book looks show that children now feel more confident tackling reasoning-style questions as a direct result of regular exposure to our daily reasoning starters.
We continually evaluate the impact of our mathematics curriculum by assessing evidence that defines a high-quality education, through:
- Judgements which are based upon a triangulation of different monitoring and evaluation activities within school, such as work scrutiny, Pupil Voice discussions, outcomes of assessments and quality of teaching and learning.
- The learning attitudes, engagement and motivation shown by the children.
- Ongoing feedback and assessment, which addresses misconceptions and gaps in learning and informs planning, to ensure that the curriculum effectively meets the needs of all pupils.
- A range of assessment and analysis strategies: timely testing, moderation of work, pupil interviews, use of assessment grids and data tracking systems, to ensure children know what they are meant to know at specific points during their education.
- Evidence from monitoring which shows that children are active in their learning, able to construct their own knowledge and think flexibly and creatively.
- High levels of engagement in home learning.
- Regular monitoring and learning walks have observed that pupils are highly engaged during lessons and are highly motivated in their learning. Children at all levels thrive on challenge.
- Teaching staff attend regular maths training sessions to keep skills and knowledge updated and share best practice across the school.