At Blackpool, we believe that Maths is essential to everyday life, critical to Science, Technology and Engineering and necessary for financial Literacy and most forms of employment. A high-quality Maths Education provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject. Pupils develop their use of mathematical vocabulary and use this to explain their thinking and reasoning and are expected to ask questions to further their learning. We want to ensure that our pupils achieve a deep understanding of mathematics without any pre-conceived ideas being placed on a child’s ability. Fundamental to our philosophy about mathematics is the belief that all children can achieve in Maths. Our hope is that pupils will leave Blackpool with the ambition for life-long learning within the discipline as well as the skills to access further mathematical concepts when they move on to secondary school and beyond.
At Blackpool, we regard a mathematician as someone who:
Is curious in all aspects of life
Enjoys the state of not yet knowing the resolution
Ask their own questions
Can spot patterns
Can reflect and notice
Tries to disprove ideas
Argues with their own thinking
Teaching for Mastery
Here at Blackpool, we have looked to implement a mastery curriculum within mathematics. We believe that the principles of a mastery curriculum enable Blackpool to achieve the aims of the 2014 National Curriculum. The key principles to our approach consist of:
Believing that all children can learn all mathematical content through a coherently sequenced curriculum which enables children appropriate time to for mathematical concepts to mature.
Understanding concepts deeply, recognising that there is no limit to the depth of knowledge a pupil can learn about a concept.
Knowing and ensuring children have a secure understanding of pre-requisite knowledge before moving on to later concepts.
Allowing children to make connections within and across year group content.
Pupils recognising that their own effort matters.
What does this look like in practice?
Teaching a new concept will begin with a hook. This may be in the form or a recap of prior knowledge, application to real life, a problem which may be initially difficult to solve, however may be solved by the end of the teaching sequence or a prior test question.
Concepts are planned into small, progressive steps which draw upon wider connections within the mathematics curriculum. Prior learning is explicitly linked to new learning to further enhance coherence.
Teachers plan together in order to develop understanding of the mathematical journey, professionally questioning decisions regarding coherence (representation use/order of learning/consistent vocabulary use).
Throughout the planning process, misconceptions are discussed and deliberately planned into sequences to promote mathematical reasoning by pupils.
Teachers are expected to know why they have chosen particular questions within their lessons and how these support concept development or mathematical thinking.
Explicit sessions focussed on number/multiplication facts as well as calculations are taught to develop both accuracy and efficiency.
Prior to teaching new content, prior content is made explicit in a recap which is then linked to new learning.
Retrieval opportunities are found across all learning. This may be at the beginning of a lesson through our retrieval grids or through prior concepts being built into questions during a pupil’s independent practice.
Lessons will include short episodes of teaching followed by opportunities for students to ‘do’ within a guided environment. These are known as learning opportunities.
Opportunities for children to dive deeper into content are provided.
Depth of understanding is promoted through high levels of discussion within the classroom, ensuring children articulate their mathematical thinking as well as considering alternative approaches towards a problem.
A range of Independent Practice opportunities are provided for a specific purpose through the phased learning. (i.e. fluency practice – to secure a concept, deliberate practice – to support mathematical thinking, purposeful practice – to secure a concept through an open problem).
Teachers use a range of questions to promote mathematical thinking. This may be in the form of verbal discussion ‘What do you notice?’ ‘What is the same? What is different?’ or through more formal written questions such as Same Surface Different Deep questions or utilising Variation Theory through Deliberate Practice)
A series of pre-requisite assessments and end of block assessments are used in order to ensure all children are keeping up with the content.
Rigorous formative assessment is in place within lessons to ensure all children keep up within the lesson. Should a child not keep up with the lesson’s content, immediate intervention opportunities across the school are in place to enable the child to be ready for the next lesson.
Where pre-requisite or End of Block assessment identifies any gaps, teachers cater for this in their planning by either: planning a longer learning sequence to ensure pre-requisite understanding is secured or lesson time is made available post block for teachers to work with pupils who need further support to keep up, whilst children who are ready to progress spend time deepening understanding or previously taught content.
Whole School Practices
Underpinning our whole school practice is the belief that all children can achieve in mathematics
All staff understand the importance of recognising a child’s pre-requisite understanding and building from this.
Teachers are expected to assess formatively within each lesson, ensuring all children have kept up with the learning.
Specifically planned in ‘catch up’ time is available every day.
Where possible, teachers may decide to pre-teach in order to build pupil’s confidence for the lesson ahead.
Staff understand that developing concepts often requires additional practice. Therefore recording of work is simply to allow the teacher to understand whether a child has grasped a concept.
Feedback for learning takes place within the lessons verbally or through immediate intervention.
It is ensured that SEND children have an ambitious curriculum. Where a SEND pupil is maintaining pace with the class’s learning journey, they would continue with appropriate in class support where necessary.
Should a child be significantly behind the class’s curriculum, small group work outside of the lesson would take place to allow the pupil to move on from their starting point. This teaching would take place by a highly-trained teaching assistant where the focus would be aiming for the child to meet each year’s ‘ready to progress’ criteria.