Approaches to Mathematics
At Crofton Junior School, we recognise that Mathematics is essential to everyday life and that children need to be equipped with the skills necessary so that they become competent and inspired mathematicians during their time here. 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 with the skills needed to progress to 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 following the Primary National Curriculum Programmes of Study for Mathematics, 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. Following the disruption to children's learning in school this year 2021/21, elements of the recovery curriculum will continue into the next academic year 2021/22, where some objectives from the previous year group will need to be further consolidated before the teaching of new content.
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.
The Calculation Policies have been created to match the National Curriculum year group expectations. They are used to support teachers when planning and teaching both mental and written strategies. This supports progression and develops children's understanding of the methods. Alongside all methods taught, teachers are encouraged to use resources and the correct language to support the children's conceptual understanding.
Multiplication and division is an area of significant focus from Years 3 to 6. Children need to know and be able to recall fluently multiplication and division facts, which is fundamental to most mathematical learning. Therefore, great emphasis is placed on this area.
The National Curriculum states that:
by the end of year 2 (KS1) , 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.
Year 4 children take part in the Department for Education, Multiplication Test Check, in June, which focuses on the accuracy of recall for a selection of multiplication facts up to 12 x 12.
TTRockstars is a very popular online learning platform for the children to practise recalling these 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:
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.
Outcomes in Maths books demonstrate high-quality learning through a sequence of carefully planned lessons, where children progress through fluency, reasoning and onto problem solving tasks. Work in books reflect the rich, varied tasks that secure conceptual understanding, whilst also providing challenge to further stretch and promote application of different mathematical concepts.
As children progress through the academic year, and through the key stage, books indicate that they are able to apply cross-domain learning, which shows that children are mastering the content previously taught. This shows that the learning is embedded and children are becoming more competent mathematicians. Topic books also evidence appropriate cross-curricular learning, where children apply learning in different contexts, more notably in Science (Data Handling) and Geography (Measurement and Geometry).
Daily, formative assessment allows teachers to evaluate the learning and provide further work as needed, or support a select group of individuals, whilst providing challenge for those children who have developed a secure understanding. The outcomes from Maths lessons inform future planning and teachers revisit areas of learning as needed. This is further supported by the termly summative assessment points using NFER assessments (Arithmetic, Reasoning 1 and Reasoning 2). This provides individual pupil data as well as opportunities to evaluate areas taught and inform future planning on areas which need further consolidation.
The impact of the curriculum is monitored through a combination of discussions with pupils with staff, scrutiny of workbooks and lesson observations, in order to provide a comprehensive understanding of the quality of the curriculum and highlight areas for further development.