What is our intent for all children to achieve in this subject?
Number and arithmetic are at the heart of our maths curriculum here at St. Mark’s. We aim for all our children to become familiar with number in a variety of forms from an early age in order to develop confidence and understanding.
Through maths games, activities and ‘playing with number’ our children enjoy the subject and learn key facts, which helps them in many other aspects of the subject. We intend to make lessons varied, practical, engaging and enjoyable, catering for different learning styles and giving children the opportunity to succeed and be challenged at the appropriate level.
By making real-life links and through investigations, children see the value and importance of maths as well as having opportunities to solve problems and try different methods, which aids understanding of the reasoning behind each concept. Mistakes are encouraged, as they build resilience and help us learn. Through our varied curriculum which covers and then re-visits all aspects of maths, our children develop the required knowledge and skills to become confident and determined mathematicians who enjoy the subject and are ready to move onto the challenges of the subject at secondary school.
What Maths looks like in action at St. Mark’s…
Maths is taught daily in each class across the school. Throughout the week, children have opportunities to develop their fluency, reasoning and problem solving skills within the subject. One lesson each week is dedicated purely to number and arithmetic, as this is the key to so much of mathematics. In addition, there are further opportunities each day for quick, fun maths games or activities in each class, or just opportunities to play with and explore number. This helps children increase their competence, confidence and enjoyment of maths. Each class utilises a range of resources and equipment daily in order to cater for and engage all learners. Where possible, real life links are made and opportunities are given within the lesson to challenge children further to extend their knowledge, investigate or solve problems related to the topic.
It is vital that children are exposed to mathematics every day in the early years setting and we place a big emphasis on ‘playing with number’ here at St Mark’s. Children have opportunities to count and experiment with objects in order to build an understanding of numbers to 10 and the relationships between them. They are challenged to spot connections between numbers, to ask questions and to solve simple number problems.
In addition, we look for and explore mathematics in the world around us. For example, finding shapes and comparing distances using mathematical language. By the end of the early years, key mathematical language is embedded and we try to ensure children enjoy the subject due to the range of positive and exciting experiences they’ve had.
Importance of Number and Place Value
Knowledge and confidence with number is the key to almost all aspects of mathematics, so it is crucial for all children to develop a deep understanding of numbers and the relationships between them from an early age.
Children also need secure knowledge of the value of numbers and the individual digits within them. This enables children to solve problems confidently and effectively, developing the ability to apply all four mathematical operations – addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Therefore, there is a large emphasis each year in all classes on number and place value. These are the first topics in the autumn term and are re-visited regularly as required.
We try to make these areas exciting and engaging for all children, with regular challenges and games to encourage increased speed and ensure children enjoy their learning. Interventions in each class target children who need a little more support in securing their knowledge of key number facts. There is also weekly homework which includes revising number bonds or multiplication facts and children are encouraged to practice in fun ways, involving their families at home.
Fluency, Reasoning and Problem Solving
These are the three main aspects of mathematics from the National Curriculum. To begin with, children must become fluent in each area, understanding concepts and being able to answer related questions which gradually increase in difficulty. Once this is embedded, the next step is to apply reasoning – explain logic, identify errors or find relationships using evidence as proof. This serves to deepen understanding. Finally, children move onto problem solving. This includes breaking tasks down and applying their knowledge in order to find solutions to more sophisticated challenges.
Each topic area taught at St Mark’s provides children with opportunities to develop their knowledge and understanding in all three areas. Once children are fluent, they are challenged in different ways to deepen their understanding and ensure they can apply what they’ve learnt to different situations. At each stage, learning is made practical and exciting with lots of resources used. We also make links to real life mathematics, so that children can see the relevance and feel like they are making valid contributions to solve real problems.
What our children say…
“I like that we get to challenge ourselves trying the different coloured tasks if we want to, but we can change our minds too if it gets really hard.” – Trae, Year 5
“The best maths lessons are the ones that are to do with real life, like calculating money or solving a problem like working out how much space there is somewhere.” – Kieran, Year 6
“I like the times tables challenges and maths games. They are fun and make us get quicker.” – Sachin, Year 4
“Maths is my favourite subject. We get to use lots of equipment and sometimes go outside.” – Diya, Year 3
“The quiz helps us to see how we’re doing and choose the task we want to do for the lesson.” – Taisia, Year 4
Well-presented maths work
Fraction work in Year 5, using resources to support their understanding
A maths intervention, learning all about money, expressed in different forms
A Year 2 maths lesson
Successes in 2020/21
- Children and staff at St Mark’s work very hard to cover all aspects of the mathematics curriculum. The quantity of work produced was impressive.
- All children receive plenty of opportunities to apply their knowledge in terms of reasoning and problem solving. They can think mathematically in different ways.
- There is a consistent approach to mathematics across the school, following the White Rose programme in terms of the units taught.
- Following lockdown, we introduced more opportunities to develop fluency in mathematics across the school through increased use of resources and maths games. This has served to increase speed and confidence with number and add more enjoyment to the subject.
- A range of resources are being utilised in all aspects of mathematics to support the children with their understanding, particularly our SEND children and the kinaesthetic learners we have. Increased use of the outdoors too for maths delivery to make the subject exciting and practical.
- Classes took on some real-life maths projects including class 6, who measured, costed and decorated our outdoor gazebo using a range of maths skills.
- Specific ‘number’ lessons taught at least once a week in every class, regardless of the current topic. This has reinforced number knowledge and given greater emphasis to the most important area of maths following lost learning through lockdown.
- Lessons are well differentiated and we introduced a system of fluidity between the different tasks, where children are trained to choose their own activity, then make it more or less challenging depending on how they get on. The children enjoy this and are taking responsibility for their own learning.
- Quizzes are used consistently in every class at the start of each lesson to recap prior learning and establish prior knowledge in order to continually assess and move each individual on with their learning at the appropriate pace.
Next Steps and Action Plan for 2021/22
- Implement and embed the new planning format we’ve introduced to staff. This has served to save time and ensure planning is purposeful and efficient.
- Embed our new assessment systems to ensure continual assessment for learning and enable next steps for each child to be identified, with appropriate support or interventions put in place where required.
- Continue to monitor the subject to ensure that lessons are engaging, challenging and exciting so that children ‘learn more and remember more’.