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Mathematics at Great Witley CE Primary School
Our Maths Vision: Maths is for Life
A Great Witley Mathematician can explore and discuss mathematical concepts, which leads to fluency and deep understanding. Mathematical skills are vital for the life opportunities of our children and are essential to everyday life. A high-quality mathematics education therefore provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically and problem-solve, and fosters a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.
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 inquiry, 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.
Our Curriculum Intent:
Our vision and curriculum intent at Great Witley is for all children to learn and enjoy mathematics, equipped with the self-belief they can achieve the goal of having a deep and secure understanding of concepts to enable reasoning and problem-solving in a range of contexts. Furthermore, we see Mathematics as an interconnected subject, in which we intend our pupils to be able to move fluently between representations of mathematical ideas. We intend for all children to believe they can and want to achieve in the subject, where we see mistakes and misconceptions as an essential part of learning and encourage perseverance when seeking solutions so that children experience the beauty, power, and enjoyment of Mathematics.
Our Curriculum Implementation:
To achieve our vision, we have adopted a Teaching for Mastery approach to our mathematics curriculum. Children are guided along a coherent, small-step journey together, using concrete, pictorial, and abstract representations to explore concepts and build connections, with opportunities to both support and challenge mathematical thinking and reasoning. This approach ensures a deep, secure understanding for all and is characterised by the following principles and features:
Our expectation is that the majority of pupils will move through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace. However, teachers make informed decisions about when to progress based on the security of pupils’ understanding and their readiness to progress to the next stage. Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly are constantly challenged by being offered rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration through new content. Those who do not grasp concepts with the necessary security are given a chance to consolidate their understanding, through additional practice and rapid intervention before moving on.
Teaching is underpinned by a methodical curriculum design and supported by carefully crafted lessons and resources to foster deep conceptual and procedural knowledge. Practice and consolidation play a central role. Carefully designed variation within this builds fluency and understanding of underlying mathematical concepts. Teachers use precise questioning and assessment for learning strategies in class to test conceptual and procedural knowledge and assess pupils regularly to identify those requiring intervention and those ready for deeper challenges. These approaches provide all children with full access to the curriculum, enabling them to achieve ‘mastery’ in Mathematics.
Our Curriculum Impact:
At each Key Stage, pupils will have developed a secure and deep understanding of mathematical concepts with sustainable foundations ready to be built on in the next stage of the children’s education and beyond to mirror our vision of ‘Maths is for Life.’ Pupils will be able to apply mathematical knowledge, concepts, and procedures appropriately by developing a detailed knowledge and skillset across the mathematics curriculum and, as a result, achieve well.
What does Mathematics look like at Great Witley?
As outlined in our vision, at the core of our Mathematics teaching is that all children enjoy maths and see its relevance in everyday life, hence our lessons are designed to be interactive, enjoyable, and engaging.
The Foundation Stage:
In the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), we relate the mathematical aspects of the children’s work to the Development Matters statements and the Early Learning Goals (ELG). Mathematics development involves providing children with opportunities to practise and improve their skills in Number and Numerical Patterns (ELGs). In addition, our curriculum includes rich opportunities for children to develop their spatial reasoning skills.
There are two main drivers for our curriculum in EYFS. One is the NCETM’s Mastering Number programme. This project aims to secure firm foundations in the development of good number sense for all children from Reception through to Year 1 and Year 2. The aim over time is that children will leave KS1 with fluency in calculation and confidence and flexibility with number. Children follow the 31-week Mastering Number project fully in Reception. The focus is on subitising (recognising an amount without counting) and developing a deep understanding of numbers up to 10 using a variety of representations, including Numberblocks and Rekenreks.
Early mathematical knowledge is an essential foundation stone of every child’s educational journey and therefore we also use White Rose Maths resources in our EYFS. The programme of study supports specific teaching through small steps with adult-led activities and continuous provision. The focus is on building up the numbers slowly, so children gain a deep understanding of them and how they are composed. However, we do deliberately give opportunities for children to count and discuss larger numbers in routines, such as lining up. Through our well-thought-out EYFS programme of study, the children leave with a secure understanding of the counting principles and how to subitise, thus preparing them well for Key Stage 1 and beyond.
Years 1 to 6
Our mastery approach is supported using the ‘White Rose Maths’ programme across the school, along with a range of other resources to create further challenge and problem solving, such as I See Reasoning and nRich activities. Each Maths lesson is planned to a carefully designed structure that first aims for children to have the opportunity to revisit previously taught content, so that they can make connections, before they explore new concepts under the close supervision of their class teacher, followed by an opportunity for guided practice before independent tasks. This allows for more successful learning, that is connected to previously gained knowledge and avoids misconceptions. Further details about our lesson structure can be found on our website titled – Maths Lesson Structure. Our Skills progression, covered by White Rose Maths resources through Years 1 to 6, can be found on our Maths webpage titled – Maths Progression of Skills.
In our lessons, we do encourage children to use the most efficient method when working. At times, this is using written calculations, which are taught in each year group. At Great Witley, we are aiming for our children to be proficient in reliable and efficient methods, but we also want them to understand the Maths behind the procedure. For more detail on this please see our calculation policy, which outlines the way in which we teach written calculations, based on the approach from White Rose Maths. This is available on the Maths webpage.
Here at Great Witley, we value the importance of our children being fluent in Mathematics extremely highly. Therefore, Children are taught to be fluent in every lesson through opportunities to practice concepts presented in various ways. Variation theory is applied to independent activities to develop conceptual and procedural fluency. In addition, children are taught number facts, table facts, and how to calculate quickly and efficiently by making appropriate choices in daily fluency lessons. In EYFS and Key Stage 1, the mastering number programme is used to teach this fluency. In Key Stage 2 schools follow the Rivers Fluency Progression, which can be found on the Maths Webpage webpage. As mentioned above, Retrieval practice is also built into daily lessons which supports children in building their long-term memory and their level of fluency in recall. Within retrieval practice, children will be exposed to questions related to concepts taught very recently, last week, last term, and last year. Our aim is that children learn key facts with automaticity, knowing more and remembering more.
Problem-solving is at the heart of daily lessons at Great Witley, children are exposed daily to different types of problems as the vehicle for the key learning. Independent activities incorporate problem-solving opportunities and are therefore not perceived as a separate or isolated learning type. Children working at all different levels are given opportunities to problem-solve. It is not a skill that is saved for the rapid graspers within the class. We follow a progression of expectations linked to problem-solving to ensure that children are given the right depth and variety of problem-solving and that different approaches are systematically taught from Key Stage 1 through to Key Stage 2, this can also be found on our Maths webpage.