Our Lady’s prides itself in its mathematics curriculum. We have taken the content and principles of ‘Mastery’ taken from the National Curriculum, which reflects the teaching found in high performing education systems internationally, particularly those of east and south-east Asian countries such as Singapore, Japan, South Korea and China and use White Rose Maths in all classes throughout the school.
The approach used in our Maths is built upon Jerome Bruner’s principles of beginning all areas of Maths at a concrete level. All children will use manipulative (tens frame, Dienes …) so that the concepts being taught are understood by all children. From this approach, children will move to pictorial representations of the theme being taught (using part whole or bar models) to lastly to the abstract – the symbols that we see on a daily basis (2 + 4 = 6)
The lessons in school are characterised by the following Principles:
- Teachers reinforce an expectation that all pupils are capable of achieving high standards in mathematics.
- The large majority of pupils progress through the curriculum content at the same pace. Differentiation is achieved by emphasising deep knowledge and through individual support and intervention (some children may use the concrete manipulatives for a longer period of time to understand the concept being taught).
- Teaching is underpinned by methodical curriculum design and supported by carefully crafted lessons and resources to foster deep conceptual and procedural knowledge.
- Practice and consolidation play a central role. Carefully designed variation within this builds fluency and understanding of underlying mathematical concepts in tandem.
- Teachers use precise questioning in class to test knowledge and assess pupils regularly to identify those requiring intervention so that all pupils keep up.
- Children are articulate in explaining and justifying their thinking when answering questions.
- Children have opportunities and are taught to work both collaboratively and independently.
- All lessons in Years 1 to Year 6 begin with five minutes of Fluency built on Variation Theory so as to enable children to become flexible, efficient and accurate with number.
The intention of these approaches is to provide all children with full access to the curriculum, enabling them to achieve confidence and competence – ‘mastery’ – in mathematics, rather than many failing to develop the maths skills they need for the future.
Maths in Early Years and Key Stage 1
We are immensely proud to be working closely with the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. Through the NCETM, children in these year groups are receiving a tailored Mastery Number Programme that we strongly believe will have a direct impact on the children’s understanding of early Number Sense.
The programme develops children’s ability to subitise, gain cardinality knowledge in counting, understand the composition of number, compare and be able to successfully use addition and subtraction facts. It is early days; however, the children are really enjoying the learning that is taking place and there is growing evidence of improvements in their ability to apply this knowledge.