Maths at Iver Heath infant School and Nursery
Our school is committed to providing all pupils with the best possible learning opportunities, using teaching strategies which are proven to be effective and evidence based. As a result of a long and careful selection process, in which a number of different options were evaluated, we decided to adopt the Mastery Maths approach, working with White Rose Maths!
Staff support and training
The Mastery Maths approach to teaching is different to the way teachers in England have traditionally taught, and therefore a comprehensive package of staff support has been put in place to ensure successful implementation. This includes:
- A full day’s training on Bar Modelling which is a strategy used throughout the school in mastery maths (attended by teachers and support staff)
- Two twilight training sessions with a Specialist Maths teacher (attended by teachers and support staff)
- Access to White Rose Maths planning resources
- On-going CPD and personalised support to address issues as they arise
What Maths looks like in the Early Years.
The Early Years is a time for exploration and investigation in maths. Children develop their understanding through a rich variety of activities both self-selected and adult led. The environment promotes mathematical thinking and is enhanced by a large selection of equipment and resources such as numicom, number bags, sorting sets etc.
- The Early years classes are beginning to implement mastery maths strategies via the White Rose and GLOW planning tools. The language of mastery maths is introduced through adult led activities.
- Each Early Years class has a designated Maths Zone where children can self-select maths activities.
- Mathematical learning may take place anywhere within the classes both inside and out.
- In Nursery the daily Happy Learner groups will have a maths focus at least once a week.
- In Reception classes there is a daily maths session which can involve whole class or small group work.
- The children are taught via practical activities which are planned both to engage and to progress the learning.
- The children use concrete apparatus to embed concepts which can later be used in a more pictorial, symbolic or abstract situation.
- Staff enabling play will be modelling and enhancing mathematical language and mathematical strategies throughout the day.
- Problem solving and reasoning is an intrinsic part of everyday Early Years’ life.
- In Reception the children are taking ‘maths bags’ home weekly to further support their mathematical learning. These have practical and fun activities for children and their parents to do together.
What a typical maths lesson might look like in Key Stage 1
- A longer time spent on fewer topics to ensure learning is securely embedded
- A strong focus on number, deepening knowledge, applying skills and developing reasoning
- Each topic covered in greater depth, using a variety of problems, contexts and representations
- The whole class working together on the same material.
- Differentiation which is less obvious than in the past and does not take the form of different work for different groups of children
- All pupils having access to concrete resources alongside pictorial and abstract representations. Lessons start with a practical exploration using concrete resources, which sets the scene for the learning in the rest of the lesson
- Use of carefully planned variation to enable pupils to benefit from making links within and between their learning
- Every opportunity taken to draw out pupils’ reasoning, allowing them to spot patterns and develop mathematical generalisations
- Maths Books activities which consolidate pupil understanding and allow them to put into practice what they have learned. This is then extended and deepened through Star Challenges.
How we support pupils facing difficulties
White Rose Maths provides a carefully structured journey through the learning which, when combined with the emphasis on the use of concrete apparatus and pictorial representations, minimises the number of children who develop misconceptions or have difficulties with understanding. However, some children will need additional support. Teachers will identify those children who need intervention before the next lesson to ensure they have understood yesterday’s content before moving on to today. Where the class teacher anticipates some pupils will face difficulties with a concept, they may choose to pre-teach the concept so that when the children are taught the concept with their peers, they are able to keep up with the rest of the class. Our aim is for pupils to keep up not catch up.
How we support the learning of “more-able” pupils
Questioning in lessons is carefully designed to draw out pupil reasoning. This enables those pupils previously referred to as “more able” to really unpick their understanding and move beyond “I just knew it”. Star Challenges are planned to extend and deepen the learning of pupils. This might be through exploring different ways to solve the same problem, responding to or creating their own generalisations, providing them with questions where there is no clear signpost so they have to devise their own strategies to tackle them effectively, or explaining ideas or misconceptions that have arisen. There are many ways of doing this but we challenge pupils by deepening their understanding and ability to apply this in a range of contexts, rather than pushing them on to new content ahead of their peers.
Recording attainment and progress
At the end of each lesson teachers record those pupils who need additional support. This information, along with the work in Maths Books and Star Challenge books, is used to inform assessments recorded by teachers onto the Iver Heath Learning Ladders. Summative assessments are also carried out termly to support teacher judgements. The information recorded on the Iver Heath Learning Ladders is then used by school leaders to monitor pupil attainment and progress.
As stated above, the implementation of Mastery Maths is a journey upon which we have all embarked. In the words of the African proverb, if we want to go fast, we go alone but if we want to go far we go together. This applies equally to pupils and staff.
8th November 2017