'We will always have STEM with us. Some things will drop out of the public eye and go away, but there will always be science, engineering, and technology. And there will always, always be mathematics.'
— Katherine Johnson, African-American mathematician
Mathematics is a tool for everyday life. It is a whole network of concepts and relationships which provide a way of viewing and making sense of the world. It is used to analyse and communicate information and ideas and to tackle a range of practical tasks and real life problems. It also provides the materials and means for creating new imaginative worlds to explore.
Using the Programmes of Study from the Mathematics programmes of study: key stages 1 and 2 National curriculum in England it is our aim to ensure children:
- 'become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
- reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
- can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.
At St Richard’s, these skills are embedded within Maths lessons and developed consistently over time. We are committed to ensuring that children are able to recognise the importance of Maths in the wider world and that they are also able to use their mathematical skills and knowledge confidently in their lives in a range of different contexts.
We want all children to enjoy Mathematics and to experience success in the subject, with the ability to reason mathematically. We are committed to developing children’s curiosity about the subject, as well as an appreciation of the beauty and power of Mathematics.
The school has a supportive ethos and our approaches support the children in developing their collaborative and independent skills, as well as empathy and the need to recognise the achievement of others. Students can underperform in Mathematics because they think they cannot do it or are not naturally good at it. The school’s use of Active Learn ‘Abacus’ and supplementary use of White Rose Maths addresses these preconceptions by ensuring that all children experience challenge and success in Mathematics by developing a growth mindset. Regular and ongoing assessment informs teaching, as well as extra support enables the success of each child. These factors ensure that we are able to maintain high standards, with achievement at the end of KS2 well above the national average, as well an increasingly high proportion of children demonstrating greater depth, at the end of each phase.
A review of the teaching of maths at the school, carried out by the Maths Lead, shows that children speak very highly of Maths and are keen to share their work and love of the subject. Children clearly understand how well they are doing in their work, how they are moved on in their learning and how they can use manipulatives to support them in their learning.
The content and principles underpinning the 2014 Mathematics curriculum and the Maths curriculum at St Richard’s reflect those found in high-performing education systems internationally. These principles and features characterise this approach and convey how our curriculum is implemented:
- Teachers reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards in Mathematics.
- The large majority of children progress through the curriculum content at the same pace.
- If a pupil fails to grasp a concept or procedure, this is identified quickly and early support ensures the pupil is ready to move forward with the whole class in the next lesson.
- The structure and connections within the mathematics are emphasised, so that pupils develop deep learning that can be sustained.
- In a typical lesson, pupils sit facing the teacher (at desks or on carpet) and the teacher leads back and forth interaction, including questioning, short tasks, explanation, demonstration, and discussion.
- Practice and consolidation play a central role. Carefully designed variation within this builds fluency and understanding of underlying mathematical concepts.
- Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual and procedural knowledge and assess children regularly to identify those requiring intervention/extra support, so that all children keep up.
- Children use precise mathematical vocabulary with their explanations and their proficiency in articulating mathematical reasoning.
- Key facts such as multiplication tables and addition facts within 10 are learnt to automaticity to avoid cognitive overload in the working memory and enable pupils to focus on new concepts.
To ensure whole consistency and progression, the school uses the Active Learn ‘Abacus’ scheme supplementing the lessons with the White Rose Maths plans. of time spent reinforcing number to build competency.
Lessons are planned to provide plenty of opportunities to build reasoning and problem-solving elements into the curriculum. When introduced to a new concept, children have the opportunity to use concrete objects and manipulatives to help them understand what they are doing. Alongside this, children are, at times, encouraged to use pictorial representations. These representations can then be used to help reason and solve problems. Both concrete and pictorial representations support children’s understanding of abstract methods.
Mathematical topics are taught in strands with number and place value being taught each half term.
The school continues to ensure that staff at all levels understand the pedagogy of the Maths curriculum.