We love teaching maths and are very proud of the children’s achievements in maths. We are committed to the success of every single child in the school and our Key Stage 2 results regularly put us in the top 10% of schools nationally and consistently above the local authority average.
The National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics
We work closely with the National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics and London Thames MathsHub to benefit from the in depth professional development and resources which they offer. Our staff receive regular high quality training to ensure that they are familiar with the best ways to ensure that all children access the curriculum and attain highly. Mathematics, like reading and writing, is a key life skill which all children can and should be able to master.
At St Mark’s, our belief is that every single child can attain highly in maths. There is no special maths ‘gene’ or talent that makes some children attain highly and others struggle. With the right teaching and support, all children can master and enjoy primary school mathematics!
The National Curriculum 2014 promotes a ‘mastery’ approach to teaching and learning mathematics which we in turn follow. Mastery means seeking to develop a deep understanding of mathematical concepts such that the children can use and apply a concept to solve all kinds of problems related to it. Mastery means deep understanding of maths ideas, not just following rote formulae.
To develop depth of understanding, we try to use the Big Ideas of Mastery. In summary these are:
1. We teach maths in a coherent way - starting with the children already know and progressing through small steps with lots of opportunities to explore, think, reason and succeed. Our teaching is carefully paced and sequenced so that all children can think and understand maths clearly and deeply.
2. We make maths visible. For children to succeed they need to clearly see the underlying structures of maths. We use what is called the Concrete – Pictorial – Abstract (CPA) approach. This is highly successful in areas such as Singapore and Shanghai. It means showing children with physical (concrete) and visual models what a maths idea such as place value, subtraction or ratio really means. When children have a chance to see and touch maths in physical models, they start to develop a depth of understanding. This is supported by consistent, key language and always linked to the abstract approach (mathematical symbols and numbers). Skilfully used, this provides the right support for all children to understand and succeed.
3. We provide plenty of opportunities to think, reason, explain and connect mathematical ideas. This makes maths learning an active and engaging process.
4. We understand the need for fluency with number facts such as addition and subtraction within 10 and 20 and times tables, as well as with procedures such as column multiplication. We use NCETM's Mastering Number resources and the award winning NumberBlocks to support learning in Reception and KS1.
We use a Mastery curriculum designed to teach all concepts in longer blocks of time so that the children have time to understand and learn an idea in all its forms, subtleties and variations. We use the White Rose curriculum, which was originally developed by a government funded maths hub and adapt it to meet the needs of all learners. The curriculum is organised so that we start with the basics and master these before moving on. This curriculum is supported by further materials the National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics (NCETM) You will see that our curriculum puts an equal emphasis on developing fluency (quick recall of facts and concepts) and then applying this to reasoning problems and problem solving.