Fell Dyke Primary School

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Our Aim

At Fell Dyke, we follow the ‘teaching for mastery’ approach to maths and have been involved with the Great North Hub workgroups for the last five years. Mastering maths means pupils acquiring a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject. At Fell Dyke, we want all of our children to become confident mathematicians who enjoy maths. We want to ensure that our children leave Fell Dyke with a deep understanding, confidence and competence in maths so that they are not only secondary ready but are equipped with working maths skills for real life. With our teaching approach to maths, we aim to foster a growth mindset where children become resilient learners because they are exposed to a range of different ideas, visuals and methods; questions are open and mistakes are valued.

Curriculum Organisation

The Early Years Foundation Stage is an important stage for laying down an understanding of the fundamentals of maths. Therefore, in addition to maths teaching, children are also immersed in maths through the learning environments. Both nursery and reception have dedicated maths areas in the classroom, but maths is also incorporated into other areas too. For example, counting toy trains in the small world area or measuring ingredients to make play dough in the malleable area. Daily routines such as self-registration, snack time, singing and story time also provide opportunities for maths. In nursery, one group time each day is dedicated to maths. These sessions are very fun and engaging and use lots of number-based songs to support counting and other mathematical concepts. When ready, children will also take part in teacher guided one-to-one or small group sessions additional to this. In reception, a 20-minute daily maths session is taught with the whole class together at the start. This means that all children have daily input from the class teacher where language is modelled clearly, and key concepts are taught with the support of concrete manipulatives and stem sentences. A different group then works with the teacher each day whilst the other children access the enhanced provision which has been set up that week. Some children will work one-to-one with the teacher until they are ready to work in a small group. Teachers use the Birth to Five document and the White Rose scheme of learning to plan teaching and learning opportunities for lessons and enhancements out the classroom provision.

The maths curriculum for Key Stage 1 and 2 is organised into blocks. For each year group, the different areas of maths (such as place value, calculation and measurement) are each covered in one solid block over a number of weeks throughout the year. This is to ensure a secure and deep understanding of the area has been reached by the children before moving on. Whilst this structure means that each area of maths will not be revisited again formally in maths lessons until the following academic year, the children do revisit this learning through varied and frequent practise in a daily ‘flashback’. In years 2 to 6, this involves children revisiting and answering three questions based on the learning from the last lesson, last week and last term. In nursery and reception, the daily ‘flashback’ involves whole class counting along with 2 or 3 additional questions linked to prior learning. This is to ensure that previously learned material is not forgotten and that recently acquired knowledge is activated in order to build strong foundations in the children’s understanding of mathematical concepts and ensure that recall is rapid and accurate.

The order of the blocks of learning in each year group ensures that concepts that rely on the understanding of another are taught in the right order. For example, each year group starts with a block on place value because the understanding of this underpins the understanding of the four operations as well as areas of measure such as length and time. Because of the depth of understanding children achieve over longer blocks of learning, most children are in the position to access the age-appropriate maths curriculum when they move to the next year group. The maths curriculum at Fell Dyke is underpinned by the National Curriculum 2014. The White Rose scheme of learning is used by teachers to help break down the National Curriculum objectives into small steps. In the teaching of new concepts, equipment and manipulatives are used in lessons to ensure that children are exposed to the concrete and pictorial before they are ready to move on to the abstract. The majority of children in each class follow the same year group curriculum. Children are taught by the teacher as a whole class and then often work in mixed-ability pairs to practise a skill or to reason and problem solve. At times, rapid graspers may work with a teacher or another adult on another activity to further strengthen and deepen their knowledge of a concept. Equally, children who are finding a concept difficult, may work with a teacher or another adult to help consolidate the learning through additional practise. This may also happen at another time outside the maths lesson.

As stated in the National Curriculum 2014, “The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are key factors in developing their mathematical vocabulary and presenting a mathematical justification, argument or proof”. As a result, mathematical language is a key focus in maths lessons. Key mathematical vocabulary for each lesson is shared, modelled and children are encouraged to rehearse this vocabulary by chanting, speaking in full sentences and discussing answers with talk partners. Counting is also a feature of each lesson. Whole class counting linked to the learning in the lesson or year group expectations takes place at the start of each lesson to develop fluency.

In addition to the daily maths lesson and flashback, children from reception to year 6 have an additional 10-15 minute maths session focused on developing fluency and automaticity in number facts. In reception and key stage one this takes the form of a daily Mastering Number session. Mastering Number sessions are designed to ensure that pupils develop fluency with, and understanding of, number that is crucial to future success in maths and academic progress more generally. In key stage two there is a daily 10-15 minute multiplication tables session. This is to support children to develop a quick recall of age-related multiplication facts in order to free up working memory and support their success across all areas of maths.

Knowledge, Progress and Assessment

Regular, daily formative assessment carried out by teachers during lessons and via marking informs subsequent planning. For example, whether any further teaching of, or practise of, a skill is needed to ensure children are fluent before moving on to new content. Teacher judgements are moderated with colleagues at least once per term. Towards the end of each term, assessments are also carried out during assessment week. In year 1, teachers use assessment tasks to make judgements on the children’s learning in maths. In years 2-6, children are assessed through summative assessments.