The Maths Curriculum
'Without mathematics, there’s nothing you can do. Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers.'
- Shakuntala Devi, Indian mathematican, writer and mental calculations expert
At Spinney Hill Primary School, we know that children learn most effectively through a mathematics curriculum which progressively develops children’s knowledge, skills and understanding of number, reasoning and problem solving in real-life and relatable situations. Our maths curriculum sparks children’s curiosity, develops their reasoning and systematically embeds core concepts and knowledge in order that children are prepared for the next stage in their learning and have the skills which will enable them to get on in the wider world of education and employment. Alongside nurturing children’s confidence in maths, our curriculum also challenges children, allowing them to develop their resilience and independence as they think of alternative ways and methods to solve problems through discussion and debate. Teachers know this is best achieved through our inclusive mastery approach: we know that all children can make progress, develop a deeper understanding of concepts and apply skills in different contexts when the ‘big ideas’ are broken down into small, connected steps, and learning supported at all stages through interactive ‘ping-pong’ style teaching, clear representations and the use of manipulatives. Our maths curriculum is enquiry led to ensure the children actively question and communicate their ideas and strategies, thinking critically at every step, and this is supported by purposeful, scaffolded oracy which embeds key mathematical vocabulary and enables children to talk articulately about mathematics and constructively challenge the ideas of others.
We have chosen to use Power Maths as the central driver for our mathematics curriculum because of its strong foundations in developing a mastery of concepts through problem solving and its link to the White Rose Maths which provide teachers with a range of high-quality mathematical resources. Power Maths places enormous emphasis on language development with the expectation that all children can achieve. The scheme serves as the basis for our mathematics policy, covers all the requirements of the national curriculum and segues into the demands of our teaching and learning strategy because it is language rich, enquiry driven and reasoning based. As such, it provides a consistent and coherent approach to the teaching of maths across the EYFS, Key Stage 1 and 2. This ensures children’s knowledge and understanding are developed incrementally and they are prepared for the next stage in their learning. Across F2 and Key Stage 1, children’s learning is supplemented by the Mastering Number program which aims to secure a firm foundation in the number sense of all children.
The structure and delivery of maths lessons is consistent across the school.
Teachers are encouraged to amend lessons and supplement resources depending on the needs of children and groups of learners in their class. However, the ‘ping-pong’ or ‘I, we, you’ approach to teaching, alongside the questioning which develops discussion, reasoning and checks for understanding, the use of scaffolds to structure this and teacher ‘thinking-aloud’ modelling will feature in all lessons. Throughout units of work, mathematical generalisations are developed with the children to embed small steps, ensure retention of key knowledge and understanding, and to aid retrieval. These serve as a key feature of maths working walls in all classrooms as well as serving as a mantra throughout lessons.
Assessment is key to understanding impact and the standards that our children are achieving. Assessment procedures allow us to compare outcomes against all schools nationally at the end of EYFS, KS1 and KS2. We strive for children to reach at least the age appropriate standard and to be in line with or above national expectations. We also strive to ensure that our children’s progress across all year groups is at least good taking into account their different starting points. To gain a broad understanding of all the children’s standards, formative and summative assessments include on-going feedback and checking for understanding within lessons, teacher led marking, completion of unit Learning Journeys, and both unit and termly tests. The information gained from our assessments, including that from ‘live marking’, is used to inform future lessons and planning and ensures that all children develop knowledge and skills at the appropriate pace and any gaps identified are narrowed or eliminated where possible. Retrieval is integral to the children’s retention of knowledge and fluency development and takes place through ‘last year/term/week’ activities, completion of learning journeys and within lessons, for example, revisiting generalisations. Children’s progress is recorded on the school’s Learning Ladders tracking system on an on-going basis and both assessment judgements and work are moderated within school and externally with local schools at key points throughout the year. At Termly pupil progress meetings, the progress and achievement of all pupils is discussed and recognised, time limited interventions put in place where needed. The maths team undertake termly monitoring and evaluation. Learning walks, book sampling, analysis of learning journeys and monitoring of learning environments are carried out by the subject leaders to evaluate the quality of teaching and learning, identify how ready children are for the next stage in their learning and areas in need of development. Subject leaders also conduct pupil interviews to ensure pupils are retaining prior-learning and are making connections between different areas of study.