Approaches to Mathematics
At Crofton Junior School, we recognise that Mathematics is essential to everyday life. We aim to provide a high-quality maths education which supports our children in becoming fluent in the fundamentals; being able to reason mathematically and being able to solve a range of increasingly complex problems so that they leave our school equipped with the skills they need in preparation for the next stage of their learning.
It is our intention that children:
develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly;
are able to reason and problem solve by applying maths to a variety of problem-solving tasks and challenges;
develop resilience that enables them to reason and problem solve with increased confidence;
have a passion for maths and enjoy the challenges that they are presented with.
This is implemented by ensuring that there is a progression of skills from Years 3 to 6. Since September, throughout the Autumn term, there has been a focus on a recovery maths curriculum to ensure that children have the essential skills that underpin any new learning, as well as build children’s confidence in maths after six months out of school.
Because mental arithmetic is vital in supporting children to become competent mathematicians, this has, and continues to be, a focus. In each class, weekly arithmetic sessions take place looking at a variety of strategies that can be used to solve different types of questions. Within lessons, there is a focus on developing efficiency within calculations of the four operations. Even though children are taught how to calculate using formal strategies as stated in the National Curriculum, we encourage children to follow this process by asking themselves (in the order that follows): Do I know the answer? Can I work it out in my head? Do I need a jotting? Do I need a formal calculation? The reasoning is that children become competent mathematicians by being able to build on and develop their mental calculation skills rather than resorting to a formal method when it isn’t most efficient.
Additionally, another area that has a great focus is the recall of multiplication and division facts. They are fundamental to most mathematical learning therefore, great emphasis is placed on this area of learning. TTRockstars is a very popular online learning resource for the children to practise recalling multiplication and division facts in a fun and exciting way. Children are rewarded with certificates when they achieve Rock Legend or Rock Hero status, as well as monthly certificates for the Most Improved and Fastest Studio Speed. The National Curriculum states that:
by the end of year 2, children should be able to recall and use multiplication facts for the 2, 5 and 10 multiplication tables;
by the end of year 3, children should be able to recall and use multiplication and division facts for 3, 4 and 8 multiplication tables;
by the end of year 4, children should be able to recall multiplication and division facts for all multiplication tables up to 12 x 12.
This underpins the children’s learning and supports their learning in years 5 and 6, with applying their knowledge of the multiplication and division facts into more complex areas, e.g. multiples, factors, prime numbers, formal multiplication and division, a range of different types of problems.
In class, within units of work, there are three stages: Fluency; Reasoning and Problem solving. Fluency focuses on the skills element where the learning and tasks follow a structured approach using concrete resources to begin to understand the concept. Within this stage, children are then exposed to variations in how the concept is presented and can begin to use more pictorial representations. Once children have a secure understanding of the skill, they progress to reasoning and problem solving tasks which demonstrate a more abstract approach. These tasks are varied and a variety of resources are used to provide opportunities for children to apply their understanding through multi-step problems, link to different areas of maths (cross domain), open-ended investigations and both routine and non-routine problems.
As the National Curriculum aims to develop children's understanding of mathematics, being able to reason, apply skills and problem solve is at the heart of our mathematics curriculum, with opportunities for all children to succeed and excel, in order to achieve their full potential.
Examples of work from across school give an insight into the process we follow in Maths and the progress that children make. Recently, the language used for the tasks has changed to Fluency, Reasoning and Problem solving ensuring a consistent approach across school.