At Flora Gardens, we believe that all pupils can achieve in Mathematics. We believe that at each stage of learning, pupils should be able to demonstrate deep, conceptual understanding of a topic and build this over time. We want pupils to be able to not only recall and use the maths taught but to also be able to transfer and apply it in different contexts, being able to reason and problem solve. This deep learning is what we are aiming for by teaching maths using some aspects of the mastery approach.
As detailed in our overall curriculum intent, the teaching of mathematics at Flora Gardens embraces all six of our school values: choose your attitude, respect, adventure, trust, fulfilment and personal well-being. By focussing on these six values at the heart our curriculum we believe our children will be ready to successfully meet the challenges of the next stages of their education.
Our whole school maths curriculum is split into each year group specific units that are taught in a sequence whereby previous learning can be used to support new learning. The sequence in which the units are taught also supports the teaching of, and the children’s ability to create links between different concepts and therefore deepen their understanding.
At Flora Gardens, we follow the Whiterose scheme of learning that is carefully designed to match the national curriculum objectives by splitting them into different units. Each unit is then designed in small, carefully sequenced steps that pupils should aim to master before moving on to the next stage. When designing these small steps, the concepts of mastery underpin the lesson planning to ensure children have a deep conceptual understanding of what is being taught. The objective is explored using a range of representations and structures; fluency is developed as well as the flexibility to move between different contexts; variation is used to develop deep and holistic understanding where children are encouraged to think mathematically throughout.
A typical maths lesson at Flora gardens may begin by activating prior knowledge that children may need to access from their long-term memory to help them to learn the new concept of the day. The lesson will then progress through a number of small steps to develop understanding of what is being taught. These small steps may introduce the concept using a range of representations, may use conceptual and procedural variation to explore the concept further and will encourage the children to respond in complete sentences using the correct mathematical vocabulary. To help this process, all children in KS2 have their own maths journals which provide many opportunities for children to organize and record their understanding of a mathematical concepts as well as using it for defining mathematical terms.
As we believe that all children can achieve in maths you will not see ‘typical differentiation’. Instead you will see support mechanisms put in place to ensure all children can access the lesson and that challenges are put in place to ensure children can deepen their understanding. This can be seen through children having access to a range of resources to help their understanding and also through differentiated work pitched at the correct level for them to develop from and progress further, still meeting the lesson objective.
You will also see daily ‘mental arithmetic’ sessions delivered in school. These daily sessions that last approximately 15 minutes and are aimed at building fluency in mental arithmetic skills. Fluency in mental arithmetic is the ability to perform calculations quickly where pupils can show that they are flexible in their mathematical strategy. These are all skills that we feel are incredibly important in ensuring children are successful in the understanding of mathematics.
Teaching staff and support staff at Flora Gardens use a wide range of formative assessment tools during the lesson to judge the impact that the teaching is having on the children learning. This can be achieved through questioning, closed and open-ended, and marking within the lesson to check for any misconceptions that can be cleared with all pupils.
End of term assessments take place three times a year and are completed at the end of every term to inform the teacher what has been learned and understood by the pupils. Where assessments have shown that understanding may not be as deep, these ideas are covered further in small group intervention sessions.
Teaching and support staff also judge the success of each individual lesson, where it is seen that children have not developed a deep understanding of a concept, they will attend a maths intervention that afternoon. This is a chance for the children to work in a small group to explore the concept further and address any misconceptions that may have arisen during the lesson.