The way Maths is planned and taught is innovative and reflects the school’s drive to be at the forefront of education. When planning, we follow a ‘Teaching for Mastery’ approach which places conceptual understanding at the heart of every lesson. We design lessons which provide ongoing opportunities for our children to demonstrate a depth of learning and we continually encourage our pupils to question their own knowledge and understanding.
The ‘Mastery approach’ to Mathematics is underpinned by the belief that all children can achieve in Maths. It rejects the notion that some people ‘just can’t do Maths’ and is characterised by whole-class teaching, where the focus is on all pupils working together on the same concept, at the same time. Differentiation is not planned for as it used to be. In a Langney Maths lesson you will not see children on the ‘circle table’ adding 1-digit numbers, the ‘triangle table’ adding 2-digit numbers and the ‘square table’ adding 3-digit numbers. What you will see instead, is a classroom in which all children are addressing the same learning objective, with the use of carefully planned resources scaffolding and supporting some children in accessing the learning. Differentiation now takes the form of thoughtful, key questioning; the use of appropriate and deliberate concrete resources and the use of carefully crafted ‘greater depth challenges’ which encourage the children to demonstrate a depth of learning.
In previous years, the children we would describe as ‘rapid graspers’ – those children we would have labelled as ‘high ability’ or ‘naturally-gifted mathematicians’ – would have been rushed through mathematical concepts. In following a mastery approach, the push is not for these children to solve the same type of questions, just with bigger numbers, without ever really grasping a deep understanding of the content they are being taught. Within the mastery approach to the teaching of Mathematics, these ‘rapid graspers’ are exposed to rich, challenging problems, in which they will need to demonstrate their ability to apply their learning to new and unfamiliar contexts. Through these ‘greater depth challenges’, our children are given the opportunity to reason and prove the Maths they are learning. They are given the opportunity to talk about Maths and demonstrate a breadth and depth of learning, something we have not always seen before.
This mastery approach does not ignore children who struggle to learn a concept in Maths. The whole-class teaching of a concept actually supports teachers in narrowing the gap between our lowest and highest attaining children,with the majority of children in a class moving through maths concepts at the same pace. For those children who, despite careful scaffolding in a lesson, still struggle to secure a particular concept, the mastery approach ensures that quick intervention takes place; misconceptions and misunderstandings are addressed immediately in the hope that we keep as many children as possible together on the same objective.
Langney is a centre of excellence for Maths. We provide the highest standard of teaching for our pupils and achieve this by providing our staff with high-quality, subject specific continuing professional development, which is often delivered by the Maths Subject Leader and her team of professional development leads. At Langney, the Maths Subject Leader has been accredited by the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Maths (NCETM) and is a Primary Maths Mastery Specialist Lead Teacher. She has received specific training into ‘Teaching for Mastery’ and has supported local primary schools in developing this approach. This academic year, she will be supported in her role by a team of professional development leads, who she will disseminate information to. The role of these professional development leads, will be to promote ‘Teaching for Mastery’ across Langney and to deliver tailored CPD to teachers to ensure our children experience the highest standards of teaching and learning.
The School’s Context
We aim, by following the mastery approach, to instil confidence in our pupils and their ability to solve maths problems.Our aim is to equip our children with the skills of resilience and determination in the face of all maths challenges.
Overarching objectives/ end points
For our pupils to have the knowledge and skills to apply what they have learnt to everyday life.
To address the specific needs of our pupils by developing positive personal attributes such as resilience, self-confidence and self-esteem.
How is this subject taught?
We endeavour to follow a ‘mastery approach’ to the teaching of Mathematics at Langney, the definition of which is outlined below. To support all teachers with this approach, lessons are planned using Power Maths Mastery materials as a starting point as it provides a clear lesson structure and interactive resources. In addition to this,where it is needed, teachers can build in more steps to address misconceptions and gaps in prior learning.
Maths in Reception
In Reception, Maths is taught through exploration and discovery, where child-centred learning is at the heart of every planned lesson and activity. There are three focused lessons each week, which are teacher-led and focus on a particular area of Maths (e.g. counting, measuring, ordering) During these lessons, the children are introduced to visuals, vocabulary and resources which underpin the new concept they are learning.
Over the course of the week, practical and stimulating activities are set up around the classroom to reflect and promote this specific area of learning; the children manipulate resources and experiment with numbers visually and practically. Throughout the week the teachers and teaching assistants ensure they observe and assess every child in the class engaging independently with these activities.
Children in Reception develop a strong foundation in number because they focus on their understanding of the ‘numberness’ of different values; our Reception children understand what the number 3, for example, means because they experiment with it through different representations (counters, pictures, toys) before they learn how to record it on paper.
Maths in Year 1
In year 1 , Maths lessons follow the structure of:
➢ Starter activity promotes number fluency (counting, number fact recall etc)
➢ Teacher input to class
➢ Plenary (challenge is shared and discussed with the whole class)
As in Reception, resources are used effectively to support children’s concrete understanding of the concepts they come across. Children are exposed to a range of resources so that they learn which resources support their own learning; they develop the skills they need to be able to choose their own resources autonomously. Teachers support children in developing a visual understanding of different concepts - using number lines to add and subtract, for example.
Maths in Years 2 – 6: The Stretch and Fix model
In years 2 - 6, four - out of the five - Maths lessons a week are planned following the ‘Stretch and Fix’ model of teaching. These lessons use the structure of:
➢ Arithmetic starter (Fluency)
➢ Teacher input (15-20 mins)
➢ Children work (15 mins)
➢ ASSEMBLY - Teacher assessment time.
Teachers look at the work the children have completed so far and decide on the individual child’s next steps. There are three possible next steps:
1. Fix – The child needs further input from class teacher or TA to secure understanding of the concept taught. This step is crucial in our mastery approach to Maths, as it allows quick and immediate intervention. During this ‘fixing’ step, a teacher can immediately address a misunderstanding or misconception, rather than letting a day or two pass before having that crucial discussion with a child.
2. Consolidate – The child needs to continue with the work started as more evidence of understanding is needed.
3. Stretch – The child has demonstrated a secure understanding of the concept taught and should take their learning to a greater depth through the ‘Greater Depth Challenge.’ As mentioned above, these challenges provide our children with rich, thoughtful contexts to apply and demonstrate their understanding. During these challenges, our children are given the opportunity to reason about the Maths they have been learning; they are given the opportunity to prove or disprove an idea; they are given the opportunity to demonstrate a breadth and depth of learning.
➢ After assembly, the children return to class and continue with their next steps.
The school has invested in the Power Maths scheme which provides teacher workbooks to support teacher subject knowledge and also interactive resources and textbooks to support children during lessons. The scheme also provides a clear lesson structure for teachers to follow and for the children to be familiar with. The texts books also provide variation of key concepts that can show the same area of maths but in a variety of ways which entice the children to think about the concepts in different ways and in turn deepen their understanding.
Power Maths also provides end of unit checks for each unit taught. Teachers administer these checks at the end of each unit and then use them to assist their final judgement for their summative assessment.
How is this subject assessed?
Maths, across the school, is planned and assessed according to the end of year expectations for each specific year group.
Maths assessment in Reception
In Reception, the EYFS Profile outlines the seven areas of learning which children are observed and assessed against. Within each of the seven areas there are different strands which form the seventeen early learning goals (ELGs). Mathematics is one of the seven areas of learning and it is made up of two ELGs: number and shape, space and measure. In Maths, the children are observed and assessed against these 2 ELGs and, at the end of the year, a judgement is made describing the extent to which a child has met that goal. The three judgements are:
➢ Expected (expected level of development at the end of EYFS – the ELG has been achieved)
➢ Emerging (not yet at the level of development expected at the end of EYFS)
➢ Exceeding (beyond the level of development expected at the end of EYFS)
An ‘expected’ judgement at the end of EYFS means the child has met the ELG. The table below maps out our expectations for our children at the end of each term:
Formative Assessment in Years 1-6
Daily assessments of each maths lesson take place through the use of our formative assessment sheets. These sheets are organised by Maths strand:
➢ Number and Place Value
➢ Addition and Subtraction
➢ Multiplication and Division
➢ Ratio and Proportion (Year 6 only)
➢ Algebra (Year 6 only)
➢ Fractions (including decimals and percentages for Years 4 to 6)
➢ Geometry – Properties of Shape
➢ Geometry – Position and Direction
➢ Statistics (Years 2 to 6)
Within each strand there is an assessment sheet for each end of year expectation (EOYE). On the sheet, the ‘small steps’ of learning are recorded. At the end of a lesson when a small step has been taught, teachers identify those children who are ‘Working Towards’ the construct being taught; those children who have reached the ‘Expected’ level of understanding of the construct and those children who have taken their understanding of the construct to a ‘Greater Depth.’
When a sequence of lessons has been completed and an end of year expectation has been taught in its entirety, teachers use their formative assessment sheets to make an overall judgement on the extent to which a child has met the overall objective. This overall judgement is then recorded on O-Track - our online assessment tracker - to track the progress of our children. From this information, summative judgements in Maths can be made every term.