Mathematics at Seaton St Paul's C of E Junior School
The ‘Intent’ of our mathematics curriculum has been derived from the aims of National Curriculum for Mathematics:
• Fluency: 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;
• Reasoning: reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language;
• Problem Solving: 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.
Through our curriculum design, we ensure that all children can develop the mathematical skills and knowledge needed to become successful citizens of the world.
Our teaching and learning approach is based on Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) and on Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction.
Within maths lessons, we are teaching all children to have a deep and secure understanding of the concepts that they are being taught. In order to do this, our curriculum is designed to reduce cognitive load by ensuring we structure and design learning journeys in small coherent steps, which organically allows opportunity for the promotion of retention. This allows for an inclusive learning environment where all children are supported to transfer learning from short-term to long-term memory.
Our priority as a school is to ensure that all children are offered access to appropriate, age related curriculum content, regardless of background or needs. Differentiation for learners is highly reactive and responsive to the needs of children at any particular moment in time and in any particular lesson. With this approach, children receive varying levels of support from lesson to lesson and no child is pigeonholed into a preconceived learning group. Challenge is for everyone and not the reserve of the children previously known as ‘higher attaining’. This approach reflects the deep belief that all our children are capable of grasping the learning if we put in place strategies to allow them to do so.
Differentiation is likely to appear very subtle. Scaffolding is the key tool which teachers will use to ensure that all pupils can make progress through the learning point based on their individual starting points. Varied use of practical resources/models and images, plus questioning that requires deeper reasoning, are used to ensure that all children are supported/challenged appropriately. This is underpinned by Rosenshine’s second, third and fifth Principles of Instruction which state that adults should, “provide models: providing students with models and worked examples can help them to learn to solve problems faster”; “ask a large number of questions and check the responses of all students: questions help students practise new information and connect new material to their prior learning” and “guide student practice: successful teachers spend more time guiding students’ practice of new material”. Practice and consolidation play a central role in pupils transferring learning from their short-term to long-term memory.
We are aware that some children will have gaps in their pre-requisite knowledge. Consequently, in lessons, teachers use precise and purposeful questioning to check conceptual and procedural knowledge. They formatively assess in order to identify pupils who require workshops, meaning that all pupils keep up. Workshops are focused on ensuring that pupils are helped to keep up by revisiting concepts and/or being provided with prior learning in advance of lessons. Where children have vulnerability factors, other targeted/specialist intervention is provided by skilled practitioners.
Throughout our maths teaching, teachers assess the impact of what has been learnt through classroom feedback and marking of work. They then adjust the next lessons appropriately where needed. All lessons are deliberately tailored to the needs of the class and the small steps are adjusted as appropriate to help reduce the cognitive load placed on the children. Workshops are planned in regularly to help children narrow gaps in their existing subject knowledge. Workshops are not only used to consolidate learning but also to preteach individuals on the next steps being taught.
Purposefully designed assessments are used at the end of a block to assess children’s understanding and to identify strengths and weaknesses. The rationale behind using assessments at the end of each learning journey is that we assess what has been taught to give an accurate picture of children’s attainment and progress. Information gathered from these assessments is then used to plan subsequent maths lessons and intervention support for children who may need support in particular areas of maths. In addition to this, White Rose Maths end of term assessments are used at key points throughout the year to give a snap-shot picture of children’s overall maths development. Results here are analysed and teachers use this analysis to identify key gaps within domains that have been taught and implement interventions to address them.