Subject Leader: Mrs Corbiere
There have been a series of updates to maths over the last year to ensure that we are meeting the expectations of the new mathematical curriculum. The calculation policy has been refined to ensure that there is progression in the four methods and enable children to be Secondary Ready. Children will be encouraged to work through the stages of methods at their own pace and could be at different stages in different methods. The school will aim to get children to stage 6 in all of the methods before they begin their next stage of education, but we fully accept that some children will have preferred methods that they prefer to work with. The children will be able to use these methods as long ass they are 100% accurate when using them.
Below is a parent friendly overview of the methods your child will be taught in school. Again, this is a working document and will be refined and reviewed at the end of the academic year.
Here is a copy of the national curriculum for maths so that you can see what your child will be expected to know by the end of each year group.
How do we teach maths?
Over the last few months, the school has made changes in the way we teach maths.
One of the ways in which we have changed maths is that we have introduced an Arithmetic part to the maths lesson. This is aimed at improving the basic skills of pupils and improving their rapid recall of number facts by applying a range of mental strategies to help. The children learn a strategy throughout the week based on their gaps. The teacher models the strategy, the children complete a range of questions and then the teacher checks that they can apply/ recall it by asking quick fire questions. The children understand the importance of these sessions and know that they help them with their maths lessons.
The school are currently developing a mastery approach to the teaching of maths. This involves the children being exposed to teaching that develops a deep understanding of mathematical concepts through the use of practical apparatus and uses visual representations to support them (CPA model of teaching). The children are encouraged to think deeply about concepts and make connections which is guided by the teachers. The learning is interlinked across the learning journey and they see the concepts in a variety of contexts (conceptual variation) which enable children to 'master' their mathematical thinking. Where differentiation is needed, the children can select their level based on their confidence in the concept. They can select red, amber, green (hardest) and then complete. a further challenge. Every lesson will have a challenge question that provides a deepening activity for the children so it can provoke deeper thinking or encourage them to apply their learning. We are encouraging children to challenge themselves within lessons as we feel that it is important for children to get things wrong in order to learn from their mistakes.
Over the last year, we have been working on providing children with more problem solving/reasoning activities in their learning as this encourages them to apply their learning across a range of contexts. It also encourages the children to reason with number which is a key driver in the maths curriculum. The children are also encouraged to explain how they have calculated the answers to some questions as this also encourages the children to further deepen their understanding.
Children are encouraged to correct their mathematical errors using a green pen. The green pen shows the teacher that the children have responded to their marking and corrected the errors they have made. Sometimes prompts will be given to aid the corrections, they may be pulled together into a group if children have similar misconceptions or the children may simply have made errors in their calculations so they can put it right independently. If children have no corrections to complete or they finish their corrections, they complete the marking slip that has a deepening activity to move their learning forward. The children complete their green pen edits before the next maths lesson eg at the start of the day or at the start of the maths lesson.
You may have heard announcements about the Multiplication Tables Check coming in for year 4 children. Here’s what you need to know:
- We love maths at our school. It’s an awesome subject to learn and to teach.
- Maths is a big subject and we appreciate there’s more to it than times tables and there’s more to times tables than learning them off by heart. However, a lot of the rich, interesting maths is all about the multiplicative relationships and these are hard to fully grasp without fluent recall of the tables. For that reason, learning the tables is fundamental – they are a key facilitator to the maths that sits on top. We’ve always believed that as a school.
- We’re not worried about the checks and this wasn’t a surprise. In fact, we’re in favour of the checks because it’s always good to sharpen practice across the education sector and this is a useful lever to get schools to do that. We’re already in a good place with learning the tables and the expectations are in line with the National Curriculum so it’s business as usual for us.
- The checks will not be compulsory until 2020 so current year 2s will be the first cohort to do them when they’re in year 4. We have the option of volunteering the current year 3s to do the checks in 2019.
- They will be done at some point during the year, most likely within a week-long window towards the end of the year.
- The results of the test are not published publicly, they’re not going to end up on a league table and they’re not to worry about. There’s no pass or fail, there’s just a score out of 25 marks (or 20). They’re not to be used to compare children, they’re for us to reflect on so that we make the most of our provision. We’re actually looking forward to seeing how well we do.
- The checks consist of 25 questions (possibly only 20, depending on government trials later this year). The questions will only be multiplication and they will go up to 12×12. There’s nothing novel about the questions and they don’t require problem solving so there’s nothing to trip them up.
- The checks are all about remembering the multiplication facts. That doesn’t mean we’ll forget all about the concepts, patterns, structures and relationships in multiplication. We’re going to be learning those too, partly because they go hand in hand with excellent recall.
- There are concerns shared in the public domain that this is “yet another test”. The government has been careful to call it a “check” and that’s important. It signals their intention to keep it low-stakes and we should remember that the data could prove useful to us.
- Given that the questions are relatively simple, age appropriate and the length of the check, which is carried out on a computer, is under 5 minutes, we don’t think the checks are onerous.
- Tests in themselves don’t cause anxiety. It’s the perceived cost of not doing well. For that reason, we will actively downplay the checks with the pupils. The only thing that will stress the children is if we repeatedly refer to the checks in class or at home, even casually in front of them when they’re not supposed to be listening.
- So we will not ever be saying “Remember you’ve got the multiplication checks next year.” Or “We must practice because you’ve got the checks coming up.” We just won’t mention them. Please be supportive of that and refrain from referring to the checks at home too.
- As far as they’re concerned, when it comes to the day itself, they’re going to have the computers or tablets out so it will just seem like the teachers have chosen to do something slightly different today.
- You may notice us taking even more initiative when it comes to learning the tables with more options for home learning. If you are practising with your child, remember you’re practising for the benefit of their wider maths education, not for them to get a high score on the tests. So please enjoy the opportunity to work with your child and remember to hold back on comments about the checks.
- Please be supportive of our approach in parent-parent communication channels. It’s important that we get behind the checks for the benefit of all our children.
The school currently subscribe to the website Times Table Rockstars which is an online game that helps children remember their times tables. All children in the school have login details for this website and can all play games set at their level (Garage) and enter the school leader board by playing the Studio section by recalling division and multiplication facts up to 12 by 12. All the children thoroughly enjoy playing this and all compete to win a weekly certificate in Special Mentions. The children in school complete times table rehearsal four times a week where they have to recall 60 specific questions related to a time table or times tables in under three minutes. They are then awarded a status eg Rock God to show how quick they are with the aim being able to recall all 60 questions in under 1 minute.
We know our children will see it as a challenge and will strive to do their best and achieve their true potential.
Click on the image below and this will take you to the TTRockstars website.
Below is a link to a brand new maths website that the Local Authority have launched for children, staff and parents to access. It has exciting activities, challenges and useful documents for children, staff and parents. It also has useful support materials for parents to use to help their children in school. Please could you encourage your children to access it and have a play.
Click on the picture below to take you to the exciting new page.
Here are a few other websites and APPS that will help children learn their times tables in a fun and exciting way.
Some recommended free apps can be found at:
Some websites that include a variety of games that will help children rehearse their times tables.