What is Maths Mastery?
The Mastery-learning model forms the basis of our approach to traditional teaching. This means spending greater time going into depth about a subject as opposed to racing through the things that all children should know. Previously, racing through content lead to some children having large gaps in subject knowledge because the concept they had just learnt was either too big or learnt too quickly. As a Primary school, it is our duty to ensure that children have an absolutely solid, concrete understanding of subject knowledge and skills as well as being emotionally resilient for secondary school. It is about deep and sustainable learning for all children.
What Defines Mastery Teaching?
Teaching for mastery is underpinned by 5 key principles:
1. Cohesion: Sufficient time is spent on well planned sequences to ensure that key concepts are developed and deeply embedded before moving on.
2. Representation and structure: Mathematical concepts are explored and understood through strong models and images such as Base 10, 10-grids, Numicon, block modelling, Cuisenaire.
3. Fluency: Factual knowledge (e.g. number bonds and times tables), procedural knowledge (e.g. formal written methods) and conceptual knowledge (e.g. of place value) are taught in a fully integrated way and are all seen as important elements in the learning of mathematics. Children are able to efficiently select the best method from a variety that they have developed to solve problem.
4. Variation: Conceptual variation and procedural variation are used extensively throughout teaching, to present the mathematics in ways that promote deep, sustainable learning. This is especially evident in the practice that children are given in each session.
5. Deep mathematical thinking: The reasoning behind mathematical processes is emphasised. Teacher/pupil interaction explores in detail how answers were obtained, why the method/strategy worked and what might be the most efficient method/strategy.
Maths is all around us. Learning to understand the number system is one of the most important things that any child will do at our school. So much learning depends on a secure grasp of number and we prioritise giving children opportunities for deepening their understanding. Our aim is for all children to be confident mathematicians and resilient problem solvers who are able to access a wide range of mathematical contexts and articulate their reasoning.
Mathematical skills are the strongest predictor of academic success and beyond. Therefore, our intention is to include maths in as much of the curriculum as possible, providing children with opportunities to master their skills in purposeful ways.
We aim to foster a real love of numbers and to establish children as lifelong problem solvers, in a world which is ever changing. We promote both individual depth of knowledge and collaborative, problem solving skills. We set a high profile for maths in our school and everyone across the school community helps promote its importance.
What does it look like at Bisley C of E Primary School?
The mastering of mathematical concepts through a curriculum that prioritises deep, sustainable understanding over 'getting the answer right' is achieved in a number of ways.
· As a school, we follow White Rose Maths which breaks down the curriculum into small steps.
· In our lessons, all children are working to achieve the same age-related expectation learning objective. They all have the same learning intention and access an active and engaging input that includes a range of concrete, pictorial and abstract representations to enable deeper understanding.
Most lessons start with 'a brain sweat' (fluency) and a flashback four.
·Teacher-led discussion is interspersed with short tasks involving pupil to pupil discussion and completion of short activities.
·Children then have the opportunity to engage in discussion, guided learning (where necessary) before participating in independent learning where they can apply their understanding, secure their conceptual understanding and act metacognitively. During this time, adults facilitate learning through questions and sentence stems, as well as live assessment, so that children gain security for themselves in the mathematical learning.
·The whole class is taught mathematics together, with no differentiation by acceleration to new content. The learning needs of individual pupils are addressed through careful scaffolding, skilful questioning and appropriate rapid intervention, in order to provide the necessary support and challenge.
·Formative assessment is carried out throughout the lesson; the teacher regularly checks pupils’ knowledge and understanding and gives verbal feedback accordingly.
Our current whole school drives are on times tables and problem solving. Fluency starters, including times table practice, are included in every maths lesson, and all children have access to the interactive resource ‘Times Table Rock Stars’ where they can compete against other pupils in school. Problem solving has become a discrete weekly lesson in which teachers use ‘low floor, high ceiling’ tasks to cater for all abilities and teach explicit problem solving skills e.g. working systematically, trial and improvement.
Maths in the Early Years
The first few years of a child’s life are especially important for mathematics development. Research shows that early mathematical knowledge predicts later reading ability and general education and social progress. Conversely, children who start behind in mathematics tend to stay behind throughout their whole educational journey.
In our Early Years, the children follow the EYFS curriculum. This entails a lot of 'hands-on' learning but, most importantly, we also plan carefully to ensure the children have concrete and pictorial experiences of number. Our intent is for children to become experts in the numbers 1-20. We want them to be confident with counting but it is also key for later mathematical development that they are beginning to add and subtract as well as show a deep, conceptual understanding of place value. We do this is by using 'Number Talks’ and following White Rose Maths.
There are six key areas of early mathematics learning, which collectively provide a platform for everything our children will encounter as they progress through their maths learning at Bisley Primary School, and beyond.
Six Key Areas of Early Mathematical Learning
Cardinality and Counting
Understanding that the cardinal value of a number refers to the quantity, or ‘howmanyness’ of things it represents
Understanding that comparing numbers involves knowing which numbers are worth more or less than each other
Understanding that one number can be made up from (composed from) two or more smaller numbers
Looking for and finding patterns helps children notice and understand mathematical relationships
Shape and Space
Understanding what happens when shapes move, or combine with other shapes, helps develop wider mathematical thinking
Comparing different aspects such as length, weight and volume, as a preliminary to using units to compare later
We endeavour to foster mathematicians who have solid number sense, are fluent calculators and proficient problem solvers. The impact of our mathematics curriculum is that children understand the relevance of what they are learning in relation to real world concepts.
We have nurtured an environment where maths is fun and it is good to be ‘wrong’ because the journey to finding an answer is most important. Our children have a growth mindset and a ‘have a go’ attitude, choosing the equipment they need to help them along with the strategies they think are best suited to each problem. Children are developing ‘talk for maths’ and are able to reason verbally, pictorially and in written form.
Our Maths Team
Acting STEM and Humanities Faculty Lead
Year 6 Teacher
Maths Mastery Specialist & Year 5 Teacher
These are the dictionaries we use in school. Should you wish to purchase them for home they can be bought at most bookshops and online.