Maths at Westfield Primary School
We want all pupils to enjoy learning and exploring mathematics, and become confident mathematicians, through a carefully structured mastery approach to the subject. At Westfield, we follow the Statutory Framework for the EYFS and National Curriculum to teach mathematics. This is delivered using Maths No Problem throughout the whole school.
The national curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that 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 the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
• 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. We are adopting a mastery approach to the teaching of mathematics.
This approach focuses on the belief that all pupils can understand and do maths, given enough time. With good teaching, appropriate resources, and a ‘can do’ attitude, all children can enjoy and achieve in maths.
A mastery approach ensures that procedural fluency and conceptual understanding are developed in tandem, as each support the development of the other.
Significant time is spent developing deep knowledge of the key ideas that are needed to underpin future learning. The structure and connections within the mathematics are emphasised, so that pupils develop deep learning that can be sustained.
At Westfield, we introduced Maths No Problem (MNP) in September 2020. This was to support the continuing development of staff subject knowledge and mathematical pedagogy. MNP is one of the NCETM’s recommended textbooks for the teaching of the mastery of mathematics. It is fully aligned with the 2014 National Curriculum.
Maths No Problem adopts a spiral approach to the teaching of mathematics and is based on the Singapore approach to teaching mathematics. It is based upon the theories of Piaget, Dienes, Bruner, Skemp and Vygotsky. The spiral approach develops pupils understanding of concepts and mathematical fluency in a carefully structured progression, which is detailed in the Scheme of Work.
Lessons are built up in small steps, with opportunities for guided and independent learning. It uses the concrete – pictorial – abstract model of developing understanding. The aim is to ensure that all pupils master concepts before moving onto the next part of the curriculum sequence. The use of CPA ensures that all pupils can access the curriculum, including those new to English. Mathematical reasoning is modelled by teachers and pupils are expected to explain their thinking using the correct vocabulary, thereby demonstrating their understanding.
Children are scaffolded in different ways to ensure that they can access age related content. This can include more time spent on developing and deepening an understanding of concepts through concrete and pictorial representations, before moving onto abstract work.
Kagan structures are used in lessons to ensure that all pupils actively participate in their learning. They provide pupils with the opportunity to recall facts, practice concepts and explain their understanding and thinking to others.
The EYFS also use Maths No Problem! as its Scheme of Work, with the aim of developing a secure understanding of early number, which will underpin future learning. The EYFS learning environment is carefully planned to provide children with opportunities to explore mathematical concepts practically, explaining their understanding and thinking to others. There is a focus on securing early mathematical skills and concepts to ensure that children are school ready.
A typical lesson
An in Focus task, where the children are introduced to the concepts included on each lesson and the teacher can assess their understanding before modelling.
This is followed by teacher modelling in the Let’s Learn section of the lesson. Here the C-P-A approach is used to model and develop understanding of new concepts. Learning is presented in small steps to ensure that pupils understand the concept being taught.
Guided practice ensures that children understand their learning before moving onto independent work.
Journalling is a key aspect, where the children show how they have solved a problem (either the in focus task, or a problem similar to the focus task) and explain their problem solving/reasoning.
Each unit of work in MNP ends with a Mind Workout to develop higher order thinking skills and a Review of the unit’s concepts to ensure that pupils have retained their knowledge. This can then be reviewed over time to ensure understanding is embedded and be easily recalled.
Challenges or deepening tasks are provided to deepen understanding and provide opportunities for children to develop their reasoning skills and ability to explain their thinking in different situations.
Review of learning can occur at any point during the lesson through questioning and the use of hinge point questions to assess who might need further support.
The teaching of mathematics a Westfield ensures that skills, knowledge and understanding are built up year upon year and gives pupils the opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge in different situations through variation.
Through our maths curriculum, we hope that children develop as confident mathematicians, who have a positive approach to learning maths and who gain a sense of achievement as they progress through each year. Regular assessments in class and reviews of previous learning enables teachers to assess each pupil’s understanding of the curriculum.
This is supported by termly NFER tests which are used, alongside teacher assessment, to make termly judgments as to where each child is working. These judgements are moderated internally. Gap analysis of NFER tests is used to ensure that any misconceptions in taught content is addressed and progress accelerated where necessary.
End of Key Stage assessments take place in the Summer Term and judgements are moderated both internally and externally.