Maths at Southfield
“Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.” Albert Einstein
Maths is all around us. It is the building block essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology, engineering, arts and even sports. At Southfield Junior School, we are committed to ensuring that children are able to recognise the importance of mathematics in the wider world and that they are also able to use their mathematical skills and knowledge confidently in their lives in a range of different contexts.
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 enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
- be able to solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of problems with increasing sophistication, including in unfamiliar contexts and to model real-life scenarios
We work closely with schools in our partnership to ensure a seamless transition from one Key Stage to the next. Our programme of study is organised carefully so that children can build on their skills and knowledge. Children are equipped to make rich connections across mathematical ideas to develop fluency, mathematical reasoning and competence in solving problems. At Southfield Junior School, our carefully planned curriculum provides children with the opportunity to apply their mathematical knowledge in all other subject areas.
Our programme of study is taught in manageable steps which allows pupils to progress through the curriculum at the same pace and also allows, where possible, children to make accelerated progress. Children revisit previously learned knowledge, concepts and procedures to make sure that their mathematical knowledge becomes deeply embedded, increasing their maths confidence. Those pupils behind age-related expectations are provided with the opportunities to learn the mathematical knowledge and skills that are necessary to catch up with their peers.
We have high expectations of all pupils and aim for them to achieve high standards in maths. At Southfield Junior School, children study mathematics daily covering a broad and balanced curriculum which includes elements of number, calculation, geometry, measures and statistics. Alongside daily maths lessons, children engage in a 20 minute ‘maths on track’ session where they can practise, refine and consolidate their prior learning. Due to the interconnected nature of mathematics, we aim to teach maths, not only discretely, but in a cross curricular manner through skilfully designed curriculum themes. We focus not only on the mathematical methods but also on the importance of understanding and using mathematical vocabulary.
Our mathematics programme of study is carefully organised so that there is a clear progression of skills across the year groups. With the support of ‘CanDo’ maths, the curriculum has been broken down into small, clear, manageable steps that allow teachers to deliver a personalised approach to mathematics that suits the needs of the children in their class. It also enables children to build on existing knowledge and to develop a greater mathematical understanding.
Through practical and challenging maths lessons, we encourage children to take risks, ask questions, verbalise their reasoning and learn from misconceptions. Each lesson begins with a line of enquiry or a mathematical problem linked to the year group’s termly theme. A typical maths lesson at Southfield Junior School follows the structure outlined below.
Teach it: Teachers model new learning and children explore this through practical resources and pictorial representations.
Practise it: Children independently apply their learning to a set of questions that are progressive in challenge and difficulty. These are used to inform the children’s next steps within the lesson and to allocate them one of three differentiated fluency-based challenges (1*/2*/3*). Do it: Children complete their fluency-based activity which is directly linked to their success in the ‘practise it’ section of the lesson. Here, teachers and learning support assistants are used to either further support or to challenge children.
Secure it: At this point in the lesson, children focus on ‘what it is not’- an active argument that focuses on misconceptions and allows the children to apply their reasoning skills by using their mathematical knowledge and vocabulary to justify, convince and explain.
Deepen it: Children solve problems, they apply their learning to unfamiliar contexts and make connections.
Challenges are planned for at each stage of a lesson and teachers selectively choose key questions that will deepen children’s understanding and knowledge. Teaching at Southfield Junior School is responsive; pupils’ difficulties and misconceptions are identified through immediate assessment and if necessary, planning is adapted and additional lessons are planned for, allowing teachers to deliver a curriculum that is based on the needs of the children. In addition to this, a targeted support session may be held to pre-teach or reinforce the concept outside of the maths lesson.
From the 2019/20 academic year onwards, schools in England will be 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. It will help schools to identify pupils who have not yet mastered their times tables, so that additional support can be provided.
To support the children with their multiplication practice we use ‘Times Table Rockstars’ as an online and fun learning platform which also offers resources to be used in the classroom.
Children are expected to practise the recall of multiplication and division facts daily. The National Curriculum states that children should be fluent in the following:
Year 3: multiplication and division facts for the 3, 4 and 8 times tables
Year 4: multiplication and division facts for the 6, 7, 9 and 12 times tables
Year 5/6: multiplication and division facts for multiplication tables up to 12x12
Lower Key Stage 2
The National Curriculum (2014) states that:
The principal focus of mathematics teaching in lower key stage 2 is to ensure that pupils become increasingly fluent with whole numbers and the four operations, including number facts and the concept of place value. This should ensure that pupils develop efficient written and mental methods and perform calculations accurately with increasingly large whole numbers.
At this stage, pupils should develop their ability to solve a range of problems, including with simple fractions and decimal place value. Teaching should also ensure that pupils draw with increasing accuracy and develop mathematical reasoning so they can analyse shapes and their properties, and confidently describe the relationships between them. It should ensure that they can use measuring instruments with accuracy and make connections between measure and number.
By the end of year 4, pupils should have memorised their multiplication tables up to and including the 12-multiplication table and show precision and fluency in their work.
Pupils should read and spell mathematical vocabulary correctly and confidently, using their growing word reading knowledge and their knowledge of spelling.
Upper Key Stage 2
The National Curriculum (2014) states that:
The principal focus of mathematics teaching in upper key stage 2 is to ensure that pupils extend their understanding of the number system and place value to include larger integers. This should develop the connections that pupils make between multiplication and division with fractions, decimals, percentages and ratio.
At this stage, pupils should develop their ability to solve a wider range of problems, including increasingly complex properties of numbers and arithmetic, and problems demanding efficient written and mental methods of calculation. With this foundation in arithmetic, pupils are introduced to the language of algebra as a means for solving a variety of problems. Teaching in geometry and measures should consolidate and extend knowledge developed in number. Teaching should also ensure that pupils classify shapes with increasingly complex geometric properties and that they learn the vocabulary they need to describe them.
By the end of year 6, pupils should be fluent in written methods for all four operations, including long multiplication and division, and in working with fractions, decimals and percentages.
Pupils should read, spell and pronounce mathematical vocabulary correctly.
Throughout each lesson, formative assessment takes place and feedback is given to the children verbally, through marking and next step tasks to ensure they are meeting the specific learning objective. Teachers then use this assessment to inform their planning and ensure they are providing a mathematics curriculum that will allow each child to progress. The teaching of maths is also monitored on a regular basis through book-looks, planning, pupil voice and learning walks.
The impact of our curriculum on pupils’ development of mathematical knowledge and skills is measured formatively and summatively. Three times a year, the children complete a summative assessment which is used by teachers to determine progress and attainment. Data from both formative and summative assessments are collected by class teachers and used to identify common gaps in the children’s learning against national averages. These are then addressed in our ‘Maths on Track’ sessions and help identify those who need further support and intervention.
The Role of the Curriculum Team
Our school’s maths curriculum team is responsible for collating whole-school data and identifying trends in areas for development. Through coaching and CPD we provide teachers with a toolkit to address misconceptions and close the gaps in children’s learning. Frequent moderation is used to ensure that teacher judgements are consistent and secure. The leaders in mathematics continually ask questions about what initiatives are having a positive impact, what could be improved and what strategies need to be implemented in order to achieve greater success.
The Role of the Phase Leaders
The curriculum team is further supported by our phase leaders who are responsible for monitoring the teaching of, and outcomes for mathematics across the school. It is the phase leader’s responsibility to identify good practise and decide how to disseminate this to all members of staff. Through coaching and CPD they support the development of teaching which in turn helps to raise mathematical standards across the school. These standards are monitored through frequent moderations which are overseen by the phase leaders. It is also the responsibility of the phase leader to develop the curriculum team’s ability to analyse data and to then use this to identify trends and gaps in the children’s learning. They work closely with our inclusion team to develop, adapt, and change mathematical interventions and to continually assess their effectiveness. The information that is collated through book and planning looks, learning walks, moderations and assessments is reported to the wider leadership team.
The Role of the Senior Leadership Team
The senior leadership team then uses this information to work with the phase leaders to continually improve teaching, learning and outcomes in maths. They are also responsible for organising CPD that is relevant to the Academy Improvement Plan and that will address a common need amongst staff. The senior leadership team not only monitors the standards in mathematics, but also the effectiveness of the phase leaders to ensure that teaching and learning across both Lower and Upper Key Stage 2 is of a high standard and that the outcomes in mathematics are improving. It is also the responsibility of the Head of School to report this information to governors.
The impact of these factors and of our maths curriculum is that children make good progress in mathematics. They are equipped to meet age-related expectations, use mathematical language accurately and confidently and can apply their knowledge, understanding and skills in a variety of contexts. Children are given the opportunity to develop their collaborative and independent skills, become fluent in the recall of key facts, can reason well and are experienced problem solvers. Upon completion of Year 6, our curriculum enables pupils to be fully prepared and equipped to successfully continue their mathematical learning journey at secondary school and in their later lives.