Mathematics at Hillmorton Primary School
At Hillmorton Primary School we recognise the value of a high-quality mathematics education for its importance both to the individual and to society. We are proud to follow the programme Mathematics Mastery which is premised on a belief that all learners can enjoy and succeed in maths.
Mathematics Mastery is fully aligned to the National Curriculum and the DfE Ready to Progress Criteria. The programme focuses on curriculum design to ensure coherent, sequentially planned learning is built on solid foundations and is challenging for all pupils. Our mathematics curriculum is carefully planned and sequenced so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before and towards its clearly defined end points.
The national curriculum states: mathematics is an interconnected subject in which pupils need to be able to move fluently between representations of mathematical ideas. We ensure our children are provided with purposeful opportunities to consolidate and apply taught maths skills outside our daily maths lessons across the wider curriculum. This in turn ensures our pupils are making connections between taught maths skills with application to real life situations.
Our aims through following the Mathematics Mastery curriculum is for our children to become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, to reason mathematically and to consequently be able to problem solve effectively. We strongly believe that there are different dimensions which need to be mastered in order to effectively problem solve which is significant to the teaching of mathematics.
Here at Hillmorton we have high expectations for staff and pupils to use correct mathematical vocabulary and speak in full sentences. We also encourage all year groups to build a strong conceptual understanding of key concepts through interacting with concrete manipulatives, pictorial representations and the abstract. We provide opportunities for children to apply taught in skills in unfamiliar contexts through varied tasks and through high quality questioning in order to promote mathematical thinking.
Talk is an essential element of every lesson and time is dedicated to developing confidence with specific vocabulary as well as verbal reasoning. We focus on mathematical thinking and reasoning to experience mathematics in full, as it is described in the National Curriculum, learners need to be given opportunities to think mathematically. Throughout the curriculum we choose tasks that require learners to specialise and generalise, to work systematically, to generate their own examples, to classify and to make conjectures. This is aided by the Ideas for Depth which help make these important parts of mathematics more explicit. We focus on problem solving Mathematical problem-solving lies at the heart of the Dimensions of Depth. Teachers promote these within every Mathematics Mastery lesson, allowing access for pupils to become better problem solvers. Task design purposefully incorporates all three Dimensions of Depth across a range of problem types, with the aim that all pupils will be able to solve non-standard problems in unfamiliar contexts. Pupils acquire a rich schema of knowledge – with facts and methods learnt to automaticity - and they gain familiarity with different problem types.
At Hillmorton our mathematics curriculum is cumulative. Concepts that are taught earlier in the curriculum are revisited in the context of a new area of mathematics, enabling learners to make connections between different mathematical concepts. The Mathematics Mastery curriculum is knowledge-rich and precisely defined. The rich and broad body of core knowledge is clearly and meticulously specified in the Programmes of Study for each year group.
In the Mathematics Mastery curriculum, extended time is spent within a single area of mathematics. This allows us as a school to spend more time developing learners’ conceptual understanding and make connections with other areas of mathematics. We focus on understanding, for learners to make sense of a new idea or relationship, they need to incorporate it into their current understanding to connect with ideas and relationships they have encountered previously. The greater their understanding of what has been taught previously, the more sense-making they will be able to do in the future with increasingly complex mathematics.
Tasks are sequenced to help learners build a narrative through different topics. These topics are then sequenced in a logical progression that allows learners to establish connections and draw comparisons. Multiple representations are extendable within and between different areas of mathematics. Using these rich models encourages learners to develop different perspectives on a concept. Tasks are designed so that learners are active participants and construct their own understanding of concepts. We focus on language Verbal and non-verbal communication is part of every sequence of learning in the curriculum including language, signs and symbols. This often starts with more informal language initially, building up to formal and precise mathematical language. Retrieval Retrieving, using and applying concepts regularly, transferring to new contexts helps develop fluency as well as conceptual understanding. Ready to Progress interventions, Maths Meetings, transitions within lessons, Do Now lesson segments and pre and post unit diagnostic quizzes allow pupils more time to practice important facts and methods.
Daily Maths lessons are supplemented by a daily 10-15 minute Maths Meeting session which is used to consolidate key areas of mathematics in each class. Maths Meetings provide an opportunity to teach and revise ‘general knowledge maths’ which may not be explicitly covered during the maths lesson, and also allows the daily integration of maths into the surrounding environment. This means that pupils are practicing concepts and skills on a regular basis, meaning they are continually building on their mastery of these concepts and their fluency within these areas. Every year group aims to support children’s fluency within their year group by facilitating weekly retrieval grids which support children’s retention of taught skills, requiring them to consolidate learning from the previous lesson, unit, term and academic year. We recognise the importance of children needing Quick recollection of strategies and facts to have a secure foundation across all mathematical areas.
At Hillmorton Primary School we aim to celebrate successes in maths through providing certificates for fluency within times tables. We ensure our ‘WOW days’ to introduce each topic incorporate an element of maths in the wider curriculum. We also encourage termly for parents to engage with our workshops to aid their engagement and support of their children’s mathematical journey in line with our Mathematic Mastery core values.
To measure impact we assess the children’s understanding of the underpinning threshold concepts. Their ability to apply these to their learning allows them to access the curriculum with increasing confidence and sound mathematical skills. We ensure we have a secure understanding of our children’s progress through both assessment for learning and formative assessment strategies.
Assessment for learning is continuous throughout the planning, teaching and learning cycle. It is supported by use of the following strategies:
- Observing children at work, individually, in pairs, in a group and in class during whole class teaching.
- Using differentiated, open-ended questions that require children to explain and unpick their understanding.
- Providing effective feedback, including interactive marking through targeted questions where appropriate, to engage children with their learning and to provide opportunities for self-assessment, consolidation, depth and target setting.
Book moderation and the monitoring of outcomes of work, to evaluate the range and balance of work and to ensure that tasks meet the needs of different learners (with the acquisition of the pre-identified key knowledge and key skill development of each topic being evidenced through the outcomes). We also compare work from different year groups and key stages to ensure the threshold concepts are being built upon each year and children have regular opportunities to recall learning from previous taught objectives.
As a school we use the Early Learning Goals in Reception and Sheffield STAT system to assess children’s progress against age related expectations from Years 1 - 6. We utilise the Mathematics Mastery pre-unit and post-unit diagnostic quizzes to anticipate and address misconceptions. There are end of half term, term and year assessments for all year groups to use to monitor children’s progress and understanding. Through analysis of our assessments we can carry out carefully considered interventions for children who need further support including ‘same day intervention’ for children who need extra time to consolidate a particular skill and recap key learning from the lesson that day and also the ‘Ready To Progress’ interventions which draw upon taught unit’s ‘star words’ and ‘talk task’ activities, with video support for delivery with a focus building confidence and competence within addition, subtraction, place value, multiplication and division.
Success in school mathematics often focuses on achievement in summative tests. National tests are an important element; however, success in these is a by-product of the aim: learners enjoying and achieving in mathematics and developing a real interest in the subject. Success for all is about ensuring no learner is left behind as well as ensuring more learners excel in mathematics.