Our intent in mathematics is to inspire our learners with a love of the subject! We promote it as a creative subject with the ability to problem-solve at its heart. We aim to provide our learners with depth of understanding (not shortcuts) and life-long learning skills - achieved through the development of number sense and the expectation to communicate their reasoning at every possible opportunity. Our consistent promotion of a growth mindset means that we believe success in mathematics is possible for every child.
To achieve our intentions, our maths curriculum is based around a number of ‘key features’ which include:
- Robust long-term planning with a carefully designed awareness of progression. Long-term planning is designed to realise the aims of the national curriculum and is generated through our school partnership with Mathematics Mastery (in Reception and KS1) and another high-quality provider (White Rose) in KS2
- High-quality question prompts (with an emphasis on working through fewer – carefully selected -questions in greater depth).
- Lessons which promote talk and the acquisition of language. This includes encouraging children to reflect on their own strengths and weaknesses and to continuously assess the merits of strategies they might be using. The use of pair-work activities and explanations to the class (with appropriate use of language) is a regular feature of lessons.
- Teaching strategies that promote reasoning and the challenging of others’ reasoning. These include the inclusion of concrete and pictorial representations as well as challenging learners about their understanding of what an abstract number within a problem represents (or why they have taken a given step within their approach to solving a problem).
- An understanding that knowledge precedes skill and, therefore, the importance of acquiring secure number facts. These are acquired, initially, through concrete and pictorial understanding and then practiced to acquire the necessary fluency that will free up learners’ working memories.
Over time, we expect children to build confidence in maths, as communicators and – most importantly – as learners. We hope that our approach towards teaching and learning in mathematics proves to children that the subject is not about the memorization of abstract facts and rules that must be applied in an equally abstract way. Instead, our approach places an emphasis on learning itself and the importance of effort and reasoning in the process of acquiring knowledge and skill. We believe our approach enables children to secure a base of knowledge and skills that will enable them to proceed with confidence in the next stage of their education.
Mathematics at BPPS
Children at BPPS love maths … and so do the teachers! We see maths as a creative subject where children are supported and challenged to think imaginatively; our staff are committed to developing each child’s deeper understanding of how maths works so that they can enjoy using it as a life-long tool!
We plan lessons using the Programmes of Study from the new National Curriculum (2014) and place great emphasis on three key areas:
Mental Maths Skills
Our key aim here is to develop a child’s ‘number sense’ so that they can not only recall key facts (e.g. times tables or number bonds) but, crucially, develop the skills to manipulate this knowledge and become more fluent mathematicians. We help children build a wide range of mental strategies and encourage them to make use of these wherever possible (written methods are, of course, also taught and come surprisingly easily when mental skills are secure!)
Our aim is for there to be lots of talking in our maths lessons! Children are given opportunities and a wide range of prompts to discuss problems in pairs and then present solutions or difficulties to the class. In doing so, classes are able to explore the reasoning behind others’ ways – reasoning being the essential element to attaining greater depth in the subject.
Children are provided with a wide variety of problems to tackle throughout our curriculum. ‘Real-Life’, more ‘abstract’ and sometimes ‘self-generated’ problems are taken on. As with mental skills, children are helped to develop a number of different, and transferrable, strategies to approach different types of problem. As problems become harder, children are then challenged to develop and demonstrate another essential life-long skill: resilience!