We believe that there is more to mathematics than just learning key skills and practising these in class – using and applying their knowledge must be at the heart of our curriculum. Children should be given the opportunity to work like a mathematician and make good progress during their time at Thomas A Becket. Mathematics is an essential part of everyday life and as such it is essential we strive to enthuse and motivate our children to develop a love of the subject. We aim to make maths fun and teach it in many practical ways, that allow the children to develop the number and problem solving skills that they can apply with confidence and independence within ‘real life’ situations.
Each child should be given every opportunity to improve and progress their knowledge, understanding and skills in all aspects of maths. They should know what they are able to do well and how they can improve their skills further. Through direction from adults working with the child, and discussions with their peers, we believe that every child will have the potential to do their best and show the progress expected of them.
The school’s planning for mathematics is based on the 2014 National Curriculum for mathematics teaching from year 3 to year 6. Building on what pupils have learnt and can do at Key Stage 1, our aim is to prepare the children for the next stages of their education and life beyond.
The national curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:
In years 4, 5 and 6 mathematics lessons are timetabled five days a week and the children are grouped into ability sets. The organisation of sets is different in each year group as it depends on the needs of the children. In year 3 the children are taught maths in their own class until later in the Autumn term when we move into sets. Teachers plan together to ensure the pitch of lessons is appropriate and challenging. Homework is set every week and builds on the learning in class. Where possible the maths planning is linked to topics.
It is essential that pupils make connections with prior learning so that pupils are better placed to apply that learning to the new situation. This skill will ensure pupils confidence in maths grows and when children feel confident in a subject they make progress.
The principal focus of mathematics teaching in lower key stage 2 is to ensure that pupils become increasingly fluent with whole numbers and the four operations, including number facts and the concept of place value. This should ensure that pupils develop efficient written and mental methods and perform calculations accurately with increasingly large whole numbers. At this stage, pupils should develop their ability to solve a range of problems, including with simple fractions and decimal place value. Teaching should also ensure that pupils draw with increasing accuracy and develop mathematical reasoning so they can analyse shapes and their properties, and confidently describe the relationships between them. It should ensure that they can use measuring instruments with accuracy and make connections between measure and number. By the end of year 4, pupils should have memorised their multiplication tables up to and including the 12 multiplication table and show precision and fluency in their work. Pupils should read and spell mathematical vocabulary correctly and confidently, using their growing word reading knowledge and their knowledge of spelling.
The principal focus of mathematics teaching in upper key stage 2 is to ensure that pupils extend their understanding of the number system and place value to include larger integers. This should develop the connections that pupils make between multiplication and division with fractions, decimals, percentages and ratio. At this stage, pupils should develop their ability to solve a wider range of problems, including increasingly complex properties of numbers and arithmetic, and problems demanding efficient written and mental methods of calculation. With this foundation in arithmetic, pupils are introduced to the language of algebra as a means for solving a variety of problems. Teaching in geometry and measures should consolidate and extend knowledge developed in number. Teaching should also ensure that pupils classify shapes with increasingly complex geometric properties and that they learn the vocabulary they need to describe them. By the end of year 6, pupils should be fluent in written methods for all four operations, including long multiplication and division, and in working with fractions, decimals and percentages. Pupils should read, spell and pronounce mathematical vocabulary correctly.
Numeracy is the development and application of mathematics across the curriculum and in real life situations. Skills in numeracy should help children to make informed and responsible choices and decisions throughout their lives.
Throughout the school, children will engage in a wide range of purposeful activities which involve them in different modes of mathematical learning, including playing, exploring and investigating, doing and observing, talking and listening, asking questions, reflecting, drafting, reading and recording.
We are now taking more and more opportunities to allow the children to use our excellent computing resources to enhance the development of skills in mathematics.
We use assessment in maths regularly and effectively to inform our planning and teaching. We actively encourage self and peer assessment of work and understanding by pupils.
Ongoing marking and feedback from adults plays an important role in assessment:
During the academic year pupils periodically take formal assessments in maths, these are made up of two written maths papers and an arithmetic test. These assessments provide the school with information that informs teacher judgements. In addition, teachers gives assessments of each child in their class based on the ongoing assessments made on a day-today basis of the pupil’s work.
We have a number of opportunities for our more able mathematicians to take part in maths challenges while in years 4, 5 and 6. These are hosted by Christ’s Hospital and Windlesham School.
Maths is incorporated into our theme work, when appropriate, through in class maths activities and a number of these activities are based around pictures.
In addition maths is a part of every day life at Thomas A Becket and can be seen in Science, PE, Nutrition and Design Technology lessons across the school.
Websites & other links to extend and further learning at home include:
‘Having opportunities to work independently has helped me get better at maths’ (Year 4 pupil)
‘It’s nice when the teachers boost my confidence and tell me how well I’m doing.’ (Year 6 Pupil)
‘We’ve learnt different methods to solve problems & this helps me in maths.’ (Year 6 Pupil)
‘I really like the new arithmetic practice that we do because it gives me the chance to show just what I can really do!’ (Year 5 Pupil)