“From starting points which are below average, pupils make outstanding progress and reach high standards.” Ofsted March 2014.
Here at St George’s, we understand that mathematics is a creative and highly inter-connected area of the curriculum, which is essential for everyday life. We believe a high quality, contextualised mathematics education provides children with a foundation for understanding the world and strengthens their ability to reason mathematically. Above all we want our children to foster a love of mathematics and an ability to show resilience and apply the skills learnt in the real world.
In recent years, we have adopted many aspects of the ‘Shanghai’ style of teaching mathematics and we were selected as a lead school in the Shanghai Research Project. As a result of this work, we have refined our school’s calculation policy so that the children are taught precise written and mental methods for each of the four number operations.
In the Foundation Stage, the focus is the recognition, formation and in-depth knowledge and understanding of numbers from 0-20. The children work with resources including tens frames and Numicon daily to ensure that their number fluency is to a high standard. Additionally, the children are taught real-life contextualised mathematics such as simple problem solving, days of the week, months of the year and shape recognition.
In Phase One, our aim is to focus extensively on number and the ability to apply that knowledge to a wide range of contexts. When teaching, we use a three-step approach that is kinaesthetic (practical), visual and abstract. Lessons are delivered to mixed-ability classes where the expectation is that the majority of children will progress through the curriculum at the same pace, however children who grasp concepts rapidly are challenged through rich and sophisticated problems. Children who may struggle with their learning will be supported through carefully differentiated tasks and additional adult support. In Phase One, there is a heavy emphasis on number fluency and arithmetic. We believe that children must have a secure understanding of number to be able to thrive when solving more sophisticated problems in a range of contexts within the Phase Two curriculum.
In Phase Two, each year group is split into three sets based on confidence and attainment in their knowledge and understanding of the curriculum. This ensures that each child is taught at a suitable pace and level of challenge. Using the secure number fluency achieved in Phase One, children will then apply this knowledge and understanding to the more complex and challenging FDP (fractions, decimals and percentages), shape, measures and statistics questions. There is a greater focus on problem solving in Phase Two as children progress through their yearly curriculum objectives.
By the end of Year Four, children are expected to know their multiplication tables from 1×1 to 12×12. Alongside the knowledge of rules and related facts; songs, traditional chanting and online games, our children love testing their multiplication skills on the Times Tables Rockstars website. We have purchased a whole-school subscription to the website to ensure that that every child has their own log-in to access and compete against their peers, and teachers, to answer the questions presented to them as quickly and as accurately as possible.
In addition to daily numeracy lessons, there are numerous interventions put into place such as: Morning Maths, pre-tutoring, close the gap marking and catch-up groups to ensure that every child is supported appropriately.