We are Mathematicians!
Mastering maths means acquiring a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject. At any one point in a pupil's journey through school, achieving mastery is taken to mean acquiring a solid enough understanding of the maths that's been taught to enable him/her move on to more advanced material. At Olympus we focus on teaching for mastery, where we combine the five big ideas in teaching mastery (see diagram below) taken from the NCETM to describe the range of elements of classroom practice and school organisation that combine to give pupils the best chances of mastering mathematics.
Across Olympus we all have the same principles and key features for the teaching of mastery:
• 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.
• Teaching is underpinned by methodical curriculum design and supported by carefully crafted lessons and resources to foster deep conceptual and procedural knowledge.
• Ensure pupils have as many opportunities as possible to talk and explain their mathematical thinking, developing a sense of number which will then enable them to reason and make better links.
• 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 conceptual and procedural knowledge, and assess pupils regularly to identify those requiring intervention so that all pupils keep up.
• Reasoning is embedded throughout all aspects of the lesson and within the fluency and problem solving tasks pupils are given to complete.
Our curriculum is driven at Primary by the 2014 National Curriculum for mathematics, the aims of this are to ensure all pupils:
- become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and are able to recall and apply their knowledge rapidly and accurately to problems
- reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
- can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions
Organisation of the primary Curriculum
The new National Curriculum forms the basis for our long term planning: setting out the expectations in each year group, with links made across strands. The medium-term planning organises the topics systematically term by term, with many opportunities for embedding skills with problem solving (See medium term planning for each year group below). Short-term unit plans are prepared for daily teaching. Children are taught in mixed ability classes. The curriculum is taught through the units as follows with all year groups teaching the same units at similar times: Number and place value, addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, fractions, measurement, geometry, statistics.
Medium term planning
As part of our teaching of mathematics at the primary phase we have embedded the CPA (concrete, pictorial, abstract) approach to lessons. (see photos below). All concepts are introduced with concrete resources for children to feel and manipulate. As their conceptual understanding develops, they move towards the pictorial and abstract stages. Children are not pushed to move through these stages until they have shown understanding gained by the teacher through skillful assessment.
The teacher’s role in lessons is to:
• demonstrate a clear modelling
• allow time for discussion and pair work
• provide support and challenge when needed
• present challenge through expert questioning