At St Michael’s we believe a high-quality mathematics education provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.
The national curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:
• become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, using 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
• 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 an interconnected subject in which pupils need to be able to move fluently between representations of mathematical ideas. The programmes of study are, by necessity, organised into apparently distinct domains, however pupils will make connections across mathematical ideas to develop fluency, mathematical reasoning and competence in solving increasingly sophisticated problems, and have opportunities to apply these to other curriculum subjects.
Pupils study mathematics daily covering a broad and balanced mathematical curriculum, covering, number, calculation, geometry, measures and statistics. Through the White Rose Mathematics scheme, the children are taught mathematical methods and mathematical vocabulary, using Maths Mastery to broaden and deepen their mathematical understanding. They will develop their ability to use this knowledge through our focus on fluency, problem solving and reasoning. Pupils in Key Stag 2 also have regular multiplication practice using ‘Times Table Rockstars’, an online, fun, learning platform.
Mastering Number at Reception and KS1
Mastering Number programme at reception and KS1 aims to secure firm foundations in the development of good number sense for all children from Reception through to Year 1 and Year 2. The aim over time is that children will leave KS1 with fluency in calculation and a confidence and flexibility with number. Attention will be given to key knowledge and understanding needed in Reception classes, and progression through KS1 to support success in the future.
White Rose Mathematics: Maths Mastery in Key Stage 1 and 2
What does mastery mathematics mean?
A mathematical concept or skill has been mastered when a pupil can represent it in multiple ways, has the mathematical language to communicate related ideas, and can independently apply the concept to new problems in unfamiliar situations. Mastery is a long-term goal, achieved through exploration, clarification, practice and application over time. At each stage of learning, pupils will build a deep, conceptual understanding, rather than just being taught to memorise key facts and procedures, which can easily be forgotten.
A Focus on depth: Deepening understanding before accelerating content coverage
All pupils benefit from deepening their conceptual understanding of mathematics, regardless of whether they’ve previously struggled or excelled. Pupils will be given time to fully understand, explore and apply ideas, rather than accelerate through new topics. This approach enables pupils to truly grasp a concept. The challenge comes from investigating it in new, alternative and more complex ways.
Multiple representations for all
Objects, pictures, words, numbers and symbols are everywhere. The mastery approach to mathematics incorporates all of these to help pupils explore and demonstrate mathematical ideas, enrich their learning experience and deepen understanding. We use the following steps:
• Concrete – Students should have the opportunity to use concrete objects and manipulatives to help them understand and explain what they are doing.
• Pictorial – Students should then build on this concrete approach by using pictorial representations. These representations can then be used to reason and solve problems.
• Abstract – With the foundations firmly laid, students should be able to move to an abstract approach using numbers and key concepts with confidence.
Together, these elements help cement knowledge so pupils truly understand what they’ve learnt.
Fluency, reasoning and problem solving
Mathematical problem solving is at the heart of our approach. Pupils are encouraged to identify, understand and apply relevant mathematical principles and make connections between different ideas. This builds the skills needed to tackle new problems, rather than simply repeating routines without a secure understanding. Mathematical concepts are explored in a variety of representations and problem-solving contexts to give pupils a richer and deeper learning experience. Pupils combine different concepts to solve complex problems, and apply knowledge to real-life situations.
The way pupils speak and write about mathematics transforms their learning. Maths Mastery uses a carefully sequenced, structured approach to introduce and reinforce mathematical vocabulary. Pupils explain the mathematics in full sentences. We teach our pupils to be able to say what the answer is and explain how they know it’s right. This is key to building mathematical language and reasoning skills.
We teach our pupils to be able to recall and apply mathematical knowledge both rapidly and accurately – however, fluency should not be confused with memorisation. As well as fluency of facts and procedures, pupils will be taught to move confidently between contexts and representations, recognising relationships and making connections in mathematics.
Number at the heart
Number is at the heart of our Mastery approach to learning. At St Michael’s, we believe it is important that pupils secure this key foundation of mathematics before being introduced to more difficult concepts. By doing so, we allow pupils to explore mathematical ideas in greater detail, securing a deeper understanding.