Mathematics is a creative and highly inter-connected discipline that has been developed over centuries, providing the solution to some of history’s most intriguing problems. It is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment.
A high-quality mathematics education provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject. At Crosby Ravensworth Primary school, we follow the national curriculum for mathematics, which aims to ensure that all pupils:
All pupils at Crosby Ravensworth from Reception upwards are taught core mental maths skills in discrete sessions each morning through Maths Mastery (Class 1) and 'Big Maths' (Class 2). These core skills are applied in the daily maths lessons which follow.
The school embraced a mastery approach in 2019 for its pupils in Early Years and Key Stage 1, following the White Rose scheme. The Maths coordinator is a Primary Mastery Specialist who has has supported other schools. A trial period of the full mastery approach in Class 2 (using White Rose) proved counter-productive at meeting the needs of our mixed-age Key Stage 2 class. With this in mind, Class 2 follows the Busy Ants scheme which is well suited to mixed-age teaching and the school calculation policy has been re-drafted to bridge gaps between the contrasting schemes of work. The Class 2 teachers have also been trained to build upon the concrete and pictorial methods used in the lower school as the children work towards more abstract methods of calculation in the upper school.
The large majority of children progress through the curriculum content at the same pace. Those that require extra support may receive intervention classes to secure key knowledge. Significant time is spent developing deep knowledge of the key ideas that are needed to underpin future learning. This ensures that all can master concepts before moving to the next part of the curriculum sequence, allowing no pupil to be left behind. 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.
White Rose (Class 1)
The White Rose curriculum is a cumulative curriculum, so that once a topic is covered, it is met many times again in other contexts. For example, place value is revisited in addition and subtraction and multiplication and division. The curriculum recognises the importance of children’s conceptual understanding of number. It is therefore designed to ensure that time is invested in reinforcing this to build competency. Lessons are planned to provide plenty of opportunities to build reasoning and problem-solving elements into the curriculum. When introduced to a new concept, children have the opportunity to use concrete objects and manipulatives to help them understand what they are doing. Alongside this, children are encouraged to use pictorial representations. These representations can then be used to help reason and solve problems. Both concrete and pictorial representations support children’s understanding of abstract methods.
Mathematical topics are taught in blocks, to enable the achievement of mastery over time. These teaching blocks are broken down into smaller steps, to help children understand concepts better. This approach means that children do not cover too many concepts at once which can lead to cognitive overload.
Each lesson phase provides the means for children to achieve greater depth, with children who are quick to grasp new content, being offered rich and sophisticated problems, within the lesson as appropriate.
Busy Ants (Class 2)
To ensure full topic coverage of Key Stage 2, the school uses Collins, Busy Ants Maths Scheme which provides continuity and progression and allows the class teacher and teaching assistant to work together to support pupils in each year group concurrently within our mixed-age Key Stage 2 class. Basic maths skills are taught daily and include fluency, reasoning and problem solving. Lessons are differentiated to ensure that there is appropriate challenge for all learners, including the more able. Any misconceptions are quickly addressed through interventions and weekly homework is provided for each year group which matches the topics taught in class. Children in Class 2 also practice recall of multiplication tables through weekly tests and use of the online platform, Times Table Rockstars.
The school has a supportive ethos and our approaches supports the children in developing their collaborative and independent skills, as well as empathy and the need to recognise the achievement of others. Students can underperform in mathematics because they think they cannot do it or are not naturally good at it. The school’s use of White Rose Maths and Busy Ants addresses these preconceptions by ensuring that all children experience challenge and success in maths by developing a growth mindset.
Regular and ongoing assessment is recorded on our formative assessment grids (FAGs). This informs our teaching, as well as intervention, to support and enable the success of each child. These factors ensure that we are able to maintain high standards, benchmarking achievement at the end of KS2 with the national average.