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 aspire for our children to be:
Curious in all aspects of life
Enjoy the state of not yet knowing the resolution
Ask their own questions
Reflective and notice
Try to disprove ideas
Argue 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 include using manipulatives to represent the maths, verbally rehearsing the language to explain or opportunities to take part in a range of practice activities.
Opportunities for all 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, intelligent practice – to support mathematical thinking and make connections, as well as purposeful practice – to secure practice of 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 Intelligent 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, rapid 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.
Teachers build in catch up opportunities to ensure children are ready to access the next step.
Where necessary, 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.
Maths Policy Appendix
Below is an overview of the topics taught over the course of each year group. You can also find reference to the key indicators that we use in school to support our understanding for whether your child is meeting the Age-Related Expectation.
Maths in the Early Years
Children’s understanding of number during preschool is consistently associated with their mathematical achievement in primary and secondary school. Mathematical achievement in turn is consistently found to be the strongest predictor of children’s overall school achievement and their success in entering the workforce.
(Early Intervention Foundation, 2018)
We are due to publish our EYFS curriculum shortly - watch out for this!
If you are due to start school in September, please look at the resources below for how you can make a start at home in preparation for September.
Calculation and Representation Guidance
We are continuing to develop our Calculation and Representation Guidance that teachers use as a guide to support them in allowing children to make sense of the mathematical concepts taught. This can also be a useful document for parents should they wish to support their child from home, ensuring consistency with how concepts are taught using representations that are familiar to the children.
*Further guidance around Multiplication/Division and Fractions still to come.
A key feature of our mathematics curriculum is the need to ensure all children have a secure, rapid recall of number facts which will go on to support them with their later mathematics. Whilst we have a systematic strategy for this to be taught during the school day, we are also lucky enough to have access to two great resources to support this: Times Tables Rockstars and Numbots. Children will have their own individual login which will carry through their time at Blackpool and using a short, frequent approach to practice will have a huge impact upon your child's learning. Both resources can be accessed through the internet via the website or their app companions. Further guidance around how these can be used at home will be released at the beginning of each school year by the different units.
Please find links below to the website and some helpful parent guides for TTR and Numbots.
This is what our children say about Maths in our school...