Maths at DWJS: Vision and Intent
The 2014 national curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:
- become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics;
- are able to reason mathematically;
- can solve problems by applying their mathematics.
Mathematics is a key life skill, equipping pupils with a uniquely powerful set of tools to understand the world, make positive changes and access opportunities for a successful future and career. These tools include logical reasoning, problem-solving skills and the ability to think in abstract ways. At Darrick Wood Junior School, we strive to challenge every child and inspire excitement when a pupil solves a problem for the first time, discovers a more efficient solution to that problem or connections between concepts, or is able to unpick their mistake. Our aim is that children understand the importance of maths in the wider world and that they are able to use their understanding from visual representation and calculations skills in a range of different contexts. We are committed to ensuring that all children enjoy mathematics and experience success in the subject, using the language of maths with confidence, so that they have a positive attitude towards maths and self-belief in their mathematical ability throughout their time at DWJS and as they move on to secondary school.
Curriculum Overview: Implementation
At DWJS, the content and principles underpinning the 2014 Mathematics curriculum are delivered through a “mastery” approach as found in high-performing systems internationally, particularly those of east and south-east Asian countries such as Singapore, Japan, South Korea and China. Training opportunities are continually provided to teaching staff to develop practice.
To ensure whole consistency and progression, the school uses the White Rose Maths scheme as a planning overview covering the following topics:
- Number – place value
- Number – addition and subtraction
- Number – multiplication and division
- Number – fractions
The sequencing of topics in each year group allows for the acquisition of calculation skills across the four operations early in Autumn term which are then applied in later units. This allows for the opportunity to review concepts and skills taught in the Spring and Summer term.
The White Rose Small steps provide specific learning objectives and resources which can be supplemented by teachers using other relevant teaching and learning resources, such as Target Your Maths books for further fluency and Twinkl diving deep materials to stretch reasoning. Most lessons will begin with a short recap of questions which assess understanding of required calculation skills before teachers then modelling small steps followed by guided practice. This cycle of modelling is repeated so that pupils can then confidently apply the learning independently and scaffolds are gradually removed. Alongside the skills, teachers are modelling the use of mathematical vocabulary and the effective use of manipulatives and visual representations. Teachers use careful questions to draw out children’s discussions and their reasoning. Independent learning tasks provide the means for all children to develop their fluency further before progressing to reasoning related questions at their level of understanding. During independent learning, the teacher will use their time in two ways: to circulate the room, assessing learning and providing feedback to individuals or groups, and to work with pre-selected focus groups, either to offer support or provide challenge.
Differentiation in Maths is used to facilitate progression so that the majority of children progress through the curriculum content at the same pace. All children are given the opportunity to develop their calculation fluency, reasoning and problem solving within the lesson, reinforcing the high expectations of all pupils. Although the ‘top’ set in each year group may progress to reasoning and problem solving tasks at a quicker pace, all children (across the ‘top’ and ‘parallel’ groups) have daily access to manipulatives (double-sided counters, multilink cubes and place value charts) to support a deep understanding of the structure and patterns in number. Teachers should use precise questioning in class to test conceptual and procedural knowledge and assess children regularly to identify those who need support within the lesson, such as a focus group, or intervention where available.
As of 2021/22 academic year onwards, schools in England are required to administer an online multiplication tables check (MTC) to year 4 pupils. The purpose of the MTC is to determine whether pupils can recall their times tables fluently, which is essential for future success in mathematics. To support the children with their multiplication practice we use ‘Times Table Rockstars’ as an online and fun learning platform. All year groups have regular times table practise in addition to daily maths lessons. In Years 3 and 4 these are daily, with teachers supporting a group, whereas in Years 5 and 6 sessions are twice a week with teachers teaching groups identified by half termly times assessments.
Throughout each lesson, formative assessment takes place and feedback is given to the pupils to ensure they are meeting the specific learning objective through verbal opportunities within the lesson and marking after the lesson. Teachers then use this assessment to inform their planning. The provision of maths at Darrick Wood Junior School is monitored across the academic year through book-looks, learning walks and lesson observations. All year groups follow a testing calendar in which summative assessments (provided by PiXL and previous SATs papers) are given on a termly basis. Analysis of assessment outcomes is used to identify gaps across the year group and among individuals/groups in particular topics. This is then addressed by the teacher during lessons or through intervention. A combination of teacher judgement through formative assessment and outcomes from summative attainment are used to determine the children’s progress and attainment. These factors ensure that we are able to maintain high standards, with achievement at the end of KS2 above the national average and a high proportion of children demonstrating greater depth within each year group.
The expectation is that the majority of pupils will move through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace. However, decisions about when to progress should always be based on the security of pupils’ understanding and their readiness to progress to the next stage. Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly should be challenged through being offered rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration through new content. Those who are not sufficiently fluent with earlier material should consolidate their understanding, including through additional practice, before moving on.