Margaret Wix Primary School
Excellence, Creativity, Individuality!
At Margaret Wix Primary School, we strive for all pupils to develop enthusiasm for learning so that they are fully engaged in mathematics and acquire the knowledge and skills that they will require to be successful both now, and in the future. We follow the National Curriculum Programmes of Study; the breadth and depth of the curriculum provides support and challenge for all children. Additionally, we utilise Herts Essential Maths to make certain that learning is carefully sequenced, ensuring progression in knowledge, skills and mathematical concepts.
Varied and frequent practice in the fundamentals of mathematics provides pupils with opportunities to regularly rehearse core knowledge and skills as well as those that are newly-acquired. We aim for pupils’ long term memories to be strengthened through daily fluency practice. This in turn will develop pupils’ mathematical fluency, ensuring that they are able to apply their knowledge and understanding in different contexts, move fluently between different representations of mathematical ideas and make links between different areas of mathematics.
Lessons are adapted to ensure that all pupils can access learning and individual needs are met through a range of strategies including pre-teaching of skills and vocabulary as well as targeted precision teaching. We are acutely aware that pupils have missed learning in recent years, resulting in the need to urgently re-visit certain areas of the mathematics curriculum. Our aim is to support all pupils to reach their full potential in mathematics by utilising the concrete-pictorial-abstract (CPA) approach and making links to maths in real-life contexts in order to make it more purposeful and engaging. Pupils are also given the opportunity to take ownership of their own learning, often selecting their own level of challenge. In order for this to be successful, we endeavour to instil a growth mindset in all pupils using our school learning powers of curiosity, resilience, self-belief and respect for others.
We endeavour for children to regularly be provided with cross-curricular opportunities that include mathematics. Children have chances to develop their reading skills in maths lessons by reading problems and using the correct strategies to tackle unfamiliar words. Mathematical vocabulary is taught, displayed and referred to in lessons. Application of mathematics in other subjects is encouraged such as through collecting, analysing and presenting data in science.
The Margaret Wix community is diverse and we understand the vital need for representation within our teaching. We ensure diversity across the curriculum: careful thought and planning has gone into selecting whose stories we tell and how they are told. Our curriculum has been re-examined and we have endeavoured to reduce the western bias. We strive to ensure that BAME pupils see themselves reflected in our curriculum, all year round. We call our personalised curriculum ‘The Wix Way’. In mathematics, this includes learning about the Islamic origins of algebra, exploring Mayan counting systems and how they are different to our own base-ten system, and finding out about culturally diverse mathematicians.
Maths at Margaret Wix is taught using a mastery approach. This means that the majority of pupils progress through the curriculum at broadly the same pace. Scaffolds are in place to support pupils where required, whilst others are challenged through increased breadth and depth. Mastery also means being able to use knowledge flexibly and creatively, applying it to new, and unfamiliar problems. We make certain that rich and relevant links are made between areas of mathematics and help to ensure pupils have a secure understanding of an objective before moving on.
Differentiation involves ensuring timely support or additional challenging tasks are provided. Pupils have access to a range of concrete resources that can be manipulated in order to build understanding. A variety of models and pictorial representations are used to support pupils in understanding more abstract concepts and representations. Class teachers and support staff work with children who may need additional support or with those for whom further challenge is required. Deeper understanding is gained through pupils being tasked with solving more complex reasoning and problem solving questions.
The concrete-pictorial-abstract approach (CPA) to the teaching of mathematics means that children have access to physical resources in every lesson as well a range of visual representations. All pupils are able to access these resources.
We believe that rapid recall of key number facts, and the ability to manipulate numbers and calculate mentally using core strategies, is necessary for pupils to confidently and competently access other areas of the mathematics curriculum. Consistent, daily rehearsal of areas of fluency is the most effective way of pupils to achieve this and, as a result, we have implemented daily ‘Maths Meetings’ that allow children to progressively build upon these key skills. The use of Times Table Rockstars both within school and at home enables pupils to practise recalling key number facts in an engaging way.
Children are given opportunities to practise their reasoning skills daily. Maths lessons include investigative and problem solving opportunities and children are encouraged to use mathematical vocabulary to explain their understanding. The use of talk partners in every class ensures that children have frequent opportunities to reason and practise using mathematical vocabulary with their peers. Questions such as, ‘Is… always/sometimes/never true?’, ‘If…is the answer, what is the question?’ and ‘How many ways can you…?’ are utilised within lessons, as well as in developmental marking. Teachers model reasoning language and accurate use of mathematical vocabulary in order to prove answers and show a depth of understanding. Sentence stems are displayed in classrooms and are used to support children’s reasoning.
Mathematics is taught daily from Early Years to Year 6. Lessons are carefully sequenced to ensure children have opportunities to retrieve and build upon prior learning before applying it to different contexts. The use of Herts Essential Maths makes sure that teachers have logically and clearly sequenced lessons, ensuring suitable progression. New content is introduced using the CPA approach with teachers modelling strategies and solutions before pupils are given opportunities to apply their knowledge and understanding independently. Teachers utilise a variety of assessment for learning strategies, including questioning and mini-plenaries, to ensure they can quickly and effectively intervene and re-shape lessons where necessary.
Adults continually assess and identify misconceptions that need to be addressed before new content can be taught. These assessments are both formative and summative in nature. Teachers use same-day intervention to target pupils who need additional support with a particular concept. Summative assessments often inform pupil progress discussions with senior leaders. Targeted, precision teaching is then arranged, based on progress and attainment data.
The mathematics curriculum at Margaret Wix is enhanced with opportunities for children to enrich their mathematical understanding outside of the classroom:
Outdoor learning – all year groups have access to outdoor learning spaces that can be utilised in mathematics teaching.
Enterprise week – year 6 pupils learn about ‘real life’ financial maths and have the opportunity to set up their own small business.
Maths week – this annual event allows pupils to explore cross-curricular links, such as maths through stories, science and art.
The impact of the mathematics curriculum at Margaret Wix is demonstrated in the success of pupils and their confidence in demonstrating the knowledge and understanding they have gained in the subject. Achievements in mathematics are assessed in a variety of ways, including ongoing marking and feedback in pupil books, termly diagnostic assessments and weekly times table practice, as well as end of key stage outcomes.
Pupil voice activities provide leaders with understanding of how the children feel about their learning and allows children the opportunity to reflect upon their learning, sharing this with staff.
The impact of our mathematics curriculum is continually evaluated by:
Our year 3 maths challenge team WON the Hertfordshire maths challenge heats, coming first out of 200 schools with an amazing score of 193 out of 200. The grand finals were certainly more challenging, but they persevered and only narrowly missed out on a top three finish. We are so proud of our amazing year 3 mathematicians!