At GEMS Didcot Primary Academy, mathematics is recognised as a key life skill. We firmly believe that embedding the core skills in mathematics alongside providing the practical activities, which enable pupils to apply their skills, provides the firm foundations for developing mathematical understanding and confidence in the subject.
The teaching of mathematics is given a high priority as it teaches pupils to make sense of the world through developing their ability to see patterns, to calculate and to reason and tackle mathematical challenges.
We use the evidence based ‘Teaching for mastery’ approach which is encouraged by the NCETM (National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics https://www.ncetm.org.uk/ ) and the DfE.
Teaching for mastery has five big ideas at its heart:
Making connections between new concepts and those that have already been understood and ensuring that all steps in learning are small steps enabling children to build their confidence and understanding.
Visual representations and practical resources are used in lessons to make the structure of the mathematical concepts understandable and explainable by the children. The aim being that children will develop a deeper understanding of what is actually happening rather than just learning a process.
Mathematical discussions are a key part of developing confidence in maths so talking and explaining is expected in all lessons. If taught ideas are to be understood deeply, they must be thought about, reasoned with and discussed with others.
Quick and efficient recall of facts and procedures and the flexibility to move between different contexts and representations of mathematics is vital.
Varying the way a concept is initially presented to children, by giving examples that display a concept as well as those that don’t display it. Also, carefully varying practice questions so that mechanical repetition is avoided, and thinking is encouraged.
Teachers plan for their year group using White Rose small steps, designed to ensure progression in mathematical concepts. Teaching is blocked to allow pupils to gain a deeper understanding and to make connections between mathematical ideas.
Lessons are planned to include visual models including bar models and practical resources which underpin the concepts being taught. Pupils are encouraged to talk about and explain their reasoning as part of the lesson and to solve problems using their newly acquired knowledge.
Teachers provide feedback to pupils during lessons and through marking their books. Pupils are expected to respond to marking where necessary, which develops the dialogue between the pupil and the teacher.
We believe in the importance of ‘keep up, not catch up’. Children who find new concepts challenging are given the opportunity for rapid intervention through ‘mop up’ sessions. During these sessions, misconceptions are addressed to enable the children to access the learning in the next maths lesson.
Children will be asked to use online learning platforms, DoodleMaths and Times Table Rockstars to consolidate their learning. Class pages of the website are updated weekly to keep parents informed of the concepts that children are currently learning.
Workshops are run in school so that parents can meet and discuss new concepts and teaching methods enabling the schools and parents to work together to support the learning of mathematics. If you have been unable to attend the meetings, please find the Powerpoint slides and handouts below: