At Thorney Close Primary School, we’ve embraced the new approach to deepening children’s understanding of Maths developed by the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM).The basis of our mathematics teaching is now derived from the NCETM Curriculum Prioritisation documents.
This curriculum is ambitious and inclusive; tailored through the creative use of resources, it supports and challenges to meet the needs of all learners. Through coherent planning, the use of representations to help children see the structure of Maths, the development of fluency and 'going deeper' in order to think like mathematicians, we ensure our Maths curriculum equips children with skills and knowledge that they can use throughout their future lives.
We share the belief that mathematics is a creative and highly inter-connected discipline that has been developed over centuries, providing the solution to some of history’s most intriguing problems. It is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary in most forms of employment. By providing a high-quality mathematics education at Thorney Close Primary School, we give all pupils a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject. We endeavour to ensure that all our children develop a positive and enthusiastic attitude towards mathematics that will stay with them throughout their lives.
How we Teach Maths at Thorney Close Primary School
In line with the 2014 National Curriculum for Mathematics, Thorney Close Primary School 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 have conceptual understanding and are able to recall and apply their knowledge rapidly and accurately to problems
- reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, 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.
Mathematics is a diverse subject in which pupils need to be able to confidently move fluently between mathematical ideas. The programmes of study are, by necessity, organised into distinct areas, but pupils will make rich connections across mathematical ideas to develop fluency, mathematical reasoning and competence in solving increasingly sophisticated problems. They will also apply their mathematical knowledge to science and other subjects. Our aim is for children to develop the necessary skills to become deep thinkers, acquiring mathematical skills that can be recalled quickly and applied in a range of contexts.
The expectation is that the majority of pupils will move through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace – becoming masters in each key concept as they do. However, decisions about when to progress will always be based on the security of pupils’ understanding and their readiness to progress to the next stage. Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly will be challenged through being offered rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration through new content. At Thorney Close we are committed to ensuring that all pupils achieve mastery in the key concepts of mathematics in order to make progress and avoid gaps in their understanding that provide barriers to learning as they move through education.
By the end of each Phase and Key stage at Thorney Close Primary School, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the key facts, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study.
At Thorney Close Primary School, we understand the importance of early mathematical understanding. From the moment they step into our Early Years provision, they are given the opportunity to explore different mathematical concepts both independently through continuous provision, and also during whole class and group teaching.
Children in Nursery have a short daily Maths teaching session, during which they begin to develop their understanding of simple mathematical concepts such as counting to 10, maintaining 1 to 1 correspondence, the initial steps of subitising as well as beginning to recognise and describe simple 2d and 3d shapes and use the correct vocabulary when describing the size of items. Children are taught these concepts using physical resources, pictorial resources, songs, games and role-play. There is no focus activity linked to these sessions.
In Reception, children have a three part lesson from Autumn 1. Each lesson starts by recapping initial mathematical elements taught in Nursery before moving on to the Early Learning Goals expectations and the objectives suggested in The Development Matters documents. This lesson structure enables teachers to secure a good balance between whole class work, group teaching and individual practice. It also enables teachers to establish regular routines, thereby maximising teaching time. It supports assessment on a daily basis, as well as individual feedback to children, ensuring that children receive immediate intervention as required during the supported focus activity.
In both Nursery and Reception, the independent activities in the continuous provision areas link to the focus for the week. In addition to these planned independent activities, children also have the opportunity to self-select Maths resources to consolidate their learning during child-initiated activities. We recognise the importance of play-based learning and therefore encourage children to develop their understanding during their play. Such opportunities are provided in both the inside and outside environments. Regular observations and assessments help to ensure that children who need additional intervention are identified and supported by appropriate interventions.
Year 1 and 2
The most important focus of mathematics teaching in Years 1 and 2 at Thorney Close Primary School is to ensure that pupils develop confidence and mental fluency with whole numbers, counting and place value. This involves working with numerals, words and the four operations, including with practical resources (e.g. objects and measuring tools).
At this stage, pupils at Thorney Close Primary School will develop their ability to recognise, describe, draw, compare and sort different shapes. They are taught to use the appropriate related vocabulary and use a range of measures to describe different quantities such as length, mass, capacity/volume, time and money.
By the end of Year 2, pupils should also know the number bonds to 20 and be precise in using and understanding place value to find bonds within 100. There is an emphasis on practice at this early stage to aid fluency. In addition, they should be able to read and spell mathematical vocabulary at a level consistent with their increasing word reading and spelling knowledge in Phase 1.
Below are links to the Year 1 and Year 2 Long term plans which our teachers use to support the progression of fluency, reasoning and problem solving at Thorney Close:
Year 3 and 4
The main focus of mathematics teaching in Years 3 and 4 at Thorney Close Primary School 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 at Thorney Close Primary School will develop their ability to solve a range of problems, including with simple fractions and decimal place value. Activities and teaching will ensure that pupils can draw with increasing accuracy, develop mathematical reasoning so they can analyse shapes and their properties and confidently describe the relationships between them. This should ensure that children can use measuring instruments with accuracy and make connections between measure and number.
By the end of Year 4, pupils at Thorney Close Primary School should have memorised their multiplication tables up to and including 12 and show precision and fluency in their work. In addition, pupils should read and spell mathematical vocabulary correctly and confidently, using their growing word reading and spelling knowledge.
Below are links to the Year 3 and Year 4 Long term plans which our teachers use to support the progression of fluency, reasoning and problem solving at Thorney Close:
Year 5 and 6
The principal focus of mathematics teaching in Years 5 and 6 at Thorney Close Primary School is to ensure that pupils extend their understanding of the number system and place value to include larger integers. This should develop the connections between multiplication and division with fractions, decimals, percentages and ratio.
At this stage, pupils at Thorney Close Primary School develop their ability to solve a wider range of problems, including increasingly complex properties of numbers and arithmetic, and problem.
How we Evaluate Learning
- Learners who can clearly explain their reasoning and justify their thought processes
- Quick recall of facts and procedures
- The flexibility and fluidity to move between different contexts and representations of mathematics.
- The ability to recognise relationships and make connections in mathematics.
- Happy, confident, articulate and autonomous learners with a life-long passion for learning
At Thorney Close Primary School, we believe a mathematical concept or skill has been mastered when a child can show it in multiple ways, using the mathematical language to explain their ideas, and can independently apply the concept to new problems in unfamiliar situations.
Assessment is woven into Maths lessons so that teachers have a clear idea of what has been mastered and what each child’s next steps are. However, we also complete pre- and post-block assessments designed in line with NCETM Curriculum Prioritisation and Ready to Progress documentation to ensure our teaching supports the children's needs. We also complete termly summative assessment to inform our assessment of children's progress in the long term. Planning is responsive – teachers plan to meet children’s gaps on a daily, weekly and termly basis. All assessment is low-stakes and takes place as a normal part of the maths lesson routine. Children have access to any equipment that may help them to be successful and are encouraged to self-select what they need. In this way, pupils are taught to be reflective and are involved in seeing their progress and their next steps.