“Success in math does not depend on how many answers you know, but by what you do when you don’t know the answer.” — Unknown
Throughout the maths curriculum at Courtwood our main aim is for children to experience the enjoyment maths can bring and understand how a knowledge of maths can help them in many areas of their life. Through in-depth teaching we want children to adopt a ‘can do’ attitude with maths and foster a positive attitude to the challenges they face in mathematics. We want children to be able to recognise that maths is a life skill and is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment, therefore showing the children that maths provides a foundation for understanding the world.
At Courtwood we have adopted a mastery approach when it comes to teaching mathematics. This approach enables all children to master the mathematics curriculum and draws inspiration from a range of sources. Concepts are taught through manageable small steps which build on skills children have learnt. Our expectation is that most pupils move through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace. Decisions about when to progress will always be based on the security and depth of the pupils’ understanding and their readiness to progress to the next stage. We want all pupils, within the same class, to be studying the same objective at the same time, therefore pupils who grasp concepts rapidly work on further challenge within the learning block rather than be accelerated through new content. To ensure maths is taught to a consistently high level we follow the White Rose scheme of learning. This ensures all maths objectives and domains from the national curriculum are taught in every year group to a high standard.
Our children receive daily one-hour maths lessons, lessons are planned and sequenced so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before. Within every lesson there is clear teaching input followed by students completing a range of fluency, reasoning and problem-solving challenges. Through teaching mistakes and misconceptions children begin to build resilience to the challenges they face within the maths curriculum. To ensure all needs are met teachers use a range of concrete, pictorial and abstract resources which will aid all different styles of learning. The main aim of all lessons is to develop children’s knowledge, understanding and skills, applying these to a variety of contexts. Through this, children are able to see that maths is an interconnected subject and children are able to make rich connections between each domain and objective within the national curriculum – we want children to have the confidence to try new challenges every day by recognising they can use the skills they already have. An important part of the planning process for teachers is to ensure they plan which vocabulary will be explored within their lesson and ensure children begin using the correct vocabulary in day-to-day lessons. We want children to gain a rich vocabulary of mathematical terms through every lesson which they can use to support their problem-solving skills as they progress through their academic journey. To support this, all children are taught and regularly reminded of prefixes and suffixes that appear in the maths curriculum. The prefix/suffix is first introduced in the year group the maths concept occurs, with the vocabulary displayed in the classroom. As children move through the school, they are introduced to the new prefixes and suffixes for their year group, with the previously encountered prefixes and suffixes also displayed. It is our intent that children are supported to build their mathematical and non-mathematical vocabulary banks, by being able to understand the meaning of each prefix and relate it both to other words in maths and across the curriculum, so children can make links and are confident to explore new vocabulary, drawing on their previous understanding. For example, ‘tri’ meaning ‘three’ is introduced in Year 1 when they encounter ‘triangle’, and then supports their understanding of ‘trigonometry’ when they reach Year 6 or beyond at secondary school.
Retrieval is an important part of mathematics at Courtwood and we ensure we give children time to revisit objectives weekly and put the knowledge they have learned into practice within different scenarios. After lunch every day, children complete a Flashback 4 activity. This involves the children completing 4 questions, these questions contain tasks from objectives that they have learned in either the last day, week, month, term or year. This allows children to continue to use the knowledge they have learned and not forget it, whilst giving instant assessment for teachers on which objectives may need to be revisited. Every Friday children receive a Flashback Friday lesson; this is where the teacher teaches an objective from the ‘Ready to Progress Criteria’ published by the government in June 2020. The aim of these lessons is for children to revisit and retrieve the knowledge they have of the most important foundations within their year group. By revising and understanding these objectives children gain confidence and are ready to progress with ease into their next academic year group.
At Courtwood we want all children to have confidence in maths and to be curious whilst always progressing. We understand that success in maths does not come easily to all children and we work hard to ensure those children still have fun in maths whilst also learning new skills. As well as in-class interventions during maths lessons we also have a range of interventions to support the understanding and confidence of children in maths. These include daily precision teaching and pre-teach groups. As a school we also use Third Space Learning, an online tutoring company, where we target specific individuals to engage in 1:1 tutoring twice a week for a 6-week period. The aim of these sessions is for gaps to be closed and children’s confidence and motivation within maths to grow.
We believe that parent involvement is important when it comes to mathematics. It is helpful for parents to understand what their children are being taught in maths, what calculation methods are used within school and how they can help with their children’s progress and confidence. To ensure this is achievable we use My Maths. Every week teachers set tasks on My Maths that are linked to what the children are learning at school. The children can then access the website from home, look at the teaching slides and then complete online activities. This allows parents to see what their child is learning whilst also allowing the children to have extra practise with the objectives they are learning at school.
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