At St Michael’s Infant School, our overall aim is to equip all of our pupils with the life skills they need to be able to flourish in the real world and promote a love of maths, whilst nurturing their curiosity and creativity. We aim to ensure that, regardless of background and ability, every pupil has a rich and meaningful mathematics education. Both staff and pupils understand the importance of automaticity, fluency and challenge within maths and this is taught through real life contexts to enable pupils to apply their understanding, reason about maths, problem solve and make connections across the subject and the wider curriculum. The aim is for the children to begin to problem solve independently. We believe in a language rich environment, where our pupils are continually immersed in mathematical vocabulary, and our pupils will leave us with the confidence to talk maths, do maths and apply maths to their everyday lives.
The aims of the National Curriculum are to develop fluency and the ability to reason mathematically and solve problems
· Quick and efficient recall of facts
· Quick and efficient recall of procedures
· Flexibility to move between different contexts and representations of mathematics
· Following a line of enquiry
· Conjecturing relationships and generalisations
· Developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
· Applying mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication
· Breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps
· Persevering in seeking solutions
Our Mathematics curriculum is based on White Rose, which is a whole-class mastery programme, designed to spark curiosity and excitement; whilst helping children develop confidence in Mathematics. Teaching sequences are based on the small steps to ensure a good level of coherence, understanding, application of understanding and transference of skills to a range of mathematical problems and contexts. Throughout lessons, children are encouraged to use the readily available resources to support them in solving problems, creating determined, independent learners.
Our maths lessons are based on the principal that all children can achieve, therefore our children are taught in mixed-ability groups, with all children accessing the same learning. This allows all of the children to be exposed to the same content and be offered the same opportunities, rather than placing a cap on children’s learning. Pupils are then given tasks to enrich and stretch this learning in the form of challenges to further challenge pupils working at a greater depth, and those who may need extra support are supported through scaffolding or by requiring teacher/TA support. Our lessons begin each day with four questions taken from the ‘Flashback four’ that offer the opportunity for regular retrieval practice of content that has been covered previously in their schooling, allowing pupils to exercise their working memory and to better retain facts taught previously. The new lesson content is then introduced in the form of small steps and a ping-pong style session, where children are continually demonstrating their understanding. The lessons focus around a ‘Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract’ approach where every step will begin with the use of concrete manipulatives being used throughout explanations to build on each individuals conceptual understanding. The pupils will then begin to answer questions, which offer pictorial representations, or create pictorial representations of a posed problem themselves, before being able to understand and answer questions in abstract form. There are also opportunities for guided practice and independent practice, where children have a large amount of mathematical manipulatives readily available to them to utilise when needed, encouraging their independence. The children complete independent tasks in each lesson, sometimes in practical form and sometimes in written form. The pupils begin their written questions at a level that suits them, the tasks are high ceiling, low entry tasks, meaning that all children are able to access the first questions and they can then go as far through them as they can so the greater depth children can access challenge questions and activities that stretch them further. Teachers mark throughout the lesson so they can provide children with immediate feedback and intervention when needed and TAs are utilised to support these pupils, rather than remaining with a group for the whole lesson. Teachers and TAs will support pupils where needed, but regularly leave and revisit to continually encourage their independence and limit their reliance on adults. Mini plenaries are used effectively to address common misconceptions identified in the lesson to prevent any further misconceptions. All of the children will engage in reasoning and problem solving questions, especially in the plenary of the lesson when a “True or False” question is posed, from White Rose, where children have to discuss why a statement is true or false – they are encouraged to use Mathematical vocabulary in this discussion. The children are also presented regularly with problem-solving questions and challenges, fostering their creativity, as they may find alternative ways of solving mathematical problems, which are often posed in real-life contexts. Teachers actively assess daily through the marking of written work, answers presented on whiteboards, and answers given in discussions and adapt and change their following lesson based on their assessment.
Mathematical assessment is ongoing through every lesson through verbal feedback and class discussion and children’s reports are regularly highlighted when they have met an object from the National Curriculum; these reports are shared with parents on a regular basis, as well as feedback being given at multiple Parents evenings each year. Through verbal feedback and marking, pupils are given detailed responses and immediate intervention to address any misconceptions within a small step; this develops each child individually and provides children with opportunities to understand their own next steps. The Senior Leadership team hold pupil progress meetings each term to monitor each child’s individual learning needs and progress in writing; as well as regularly monitoring books, working walls and weekly plans.