Mathematics at Orchard Meadow
The belief at Orchard Meadow Primary School is that all children can achieve competence in mathematics by building fluency, a deep conceptual understanding as well as a varied procedural understanding so as to equip them with the skills and knowledge to achieve their aspirations. This means Orchard Meadow mathematics values the depth of a concept to ensure a secure knowledge of mathematics.
To this end, we have adopted the mastery approach in the teaching and learning of mathematics. Our aim is that pupils at Orchard Meadow are able to access age-appropriate ideas and do not see gaps open in their learning over time. Integral to this is the school’s vision for mathematics which, ‘…rejects the idea that a large proportion of people ‘just can’t do maths,’’ [and aligns with the] ‘belief that by working hard at maths they can succeed.’ NCETM – ‘The Essence of Maths Teaching for Mastery’ (2016).
In order for children to have deep knowledge, recall and opportunities to access long and short term memory is practiced across the school. This consolidation allows for problem solving to be accessed in a myriad of different ways including through real life contexts.
Inclusivity and Diversity
Our aim is to improve the mathematical outcomes for all pupils. To this end, we recognise that some pupils may need additional support in class and teachers, with the support of the maths lead and Senco, strive to understand the learning needs of all pupils. In lessons, all children will work on the same topic, with adjustments made where needed so that all children can be successful. Adjustments may include...
- Explicit encouragement or questioning
- Provision of concrete/visual and related materials generally additional to regular classroom needs
- Review of work from previous years or the use of smaller steps to support learning
- the use of a learning partner
- pre teaching of vocabulary/concepts
- use of working walls
- use of stem sentences
Implementing our vision
The content and principles underpinning the 2014 Mathematics curriculum and the Maths curriculum at Orchard Meadow reflect those found in high-performing education systems internationally, particularly those of east and south-east Asian countries such as Singapore, Japan, South Korea and China. These principles and features characterise this approach and convey how our curriculum is implemented:
- Teachers reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards in Mathematics.
- The large majority of children progress through the curriculum content at the same pace.
- Differentiation is achieved by emphasising deep knowledge and through individual support and intervention.
- Teaching is underpinned by methodical curriculum design and supported by carefully crafted lessons and resources to foster deep conceptual and procedural knowledge.
- Practice and consolidation play a central role. Carefully designed variation within this builds fluency and understanding of underlying mathematical concepts. These take the form of Maths Meetings – 15 minutes of daily maths recall in every class.
- Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual and procedural knowledge and assess children regularly to identify those requiring intervention, so that all children keep up.
Our Early Years use the White Rose Reception Scheme of Learning supported by the United Learning early years curriculum.
We follow the White Rose Maths framework to ensure that the progression of lessons are built upon the prior knowledge of the children. This framework is supported by other resources such as the United Learning curriculum, NCETM, DfE and Power Maths framework. However, teacher knowledge of the children and their needs dictates the selection of resources of which their children will make the most progress and deepen their understanding of concepts.
This is done by using well considered small steps of learning supported by concrete and pictorial representations as well a carefully thought out variations between different representations. This will build the confidence and the independence of all children in school and give them the power to take control over their learning. Furthermore, all staff explicitly embed a growth mindset approach in all children so that they learn to persevere and complete problems as well as building a shared learning approach.
All children sit in mixed ability groups and pairings as this allows for vital discussion of questions, sharing of ideas and develops the accurate use of maths vocabulary. This is supported by the teacher as vocabulary is taught explicitly and it is demanded that every child answer question in full sentences. Maths talk is an essential part of every lesson as it allows for misconceptions to be raised, but also to grow children’s confidence and reduce anxiety when faced with an unfamiliar question.
Misconceptions are also corrected though daily scoop and boost time after maths lessons to ensure that all learners are ‘keeping up’ with the learning. This time also allows for learners who have understood a topic to go deeper with their understanding.
During these times, we understand that children have missed crucial parts of their learning and we understand how critical it is for all children to achieve in maths. Therefore, we have chosen to support the progression of lessons following the DfE mathematics catchup guidance document in tandem with our own developed
Marking – We follow the school marking policy and NCETM guidance published in April 2016. Children’s work is marked with a purple pen with the learning intent or WALT being highlighted green for successful, amber if partially met or not at all if not met. A comment will only be made if this is necessary to move learning forward. The most valuable feedback will be given immediately, during lessons. Immediate feedback is shown in books by the letters VF, as per the school marking policy.
In terms of assessment, and in order for the mastery approach to work, we understand the particular need for children to achieve key objectives for their current stage of learning. Such assessment links with day-to-day Assessment for Learning, which informs teachers about the elements of learning pupils need to develop further. In lessons, teachers use precise questioning to check conceptual and procedural knowledge. They formatively assess how misconceptions can be used as growth points in learning, whilst also diagnosing who requires intervention, meaning that all children are expected to ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch-up.’ Assessment gathering is kept meaningful and is viewed as a diagnostic tool whereby collated information is used purposefully when planning pupils’ next-steps. More summative assessments are used such as the Rising Stars PUMA tests which inform teacher practice. Also, the NCETM maths assessments are used to demonstrate if a unit has been completed or if further gap filling is required for a topic.
It should be noted that varied use of practical resources, structures and representations, plus questioning that requires deeper reasoning is used to ensure all children are supported/challenged appropriately. A progression in key representations and structures, leading to understanding of sometimes complex and abstract concepts, has been defined and is exemplified in the school’s calculation policy. This in turn supports the delivery of consistent approaches and equity of access for learners.
For further information please feel free to contact Mr Rory Gratwohl (Assistant Head Teacher and Maths Leader).