Our mathematics teaching at Micheldever Primary School aims to develop the children’s skills in three main areas. These are:
Fluency – The children are taught to become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics through increasingly complex problems over time which allows them to be able to recall and apply knowledge with speed and accuracy.
Reasoning – To be able to use generalisations and relations to reason about mathematical concepts.
Problem Solving – To be able to apply skills learnt to solve problems of increasing complexity.
Whilst the majority of pupils move through the programmes of study at the same pace, pupils who grasp concepts readily are challenged through richer and more sophisticated problems before any acceleration. This enables them to embed key mathematical principals and allows them a deeper knowledge and understanding of maths.
Certain principles and features characterise this approach:
Teachers reinforce an expectation that all pupils are capable of achieving high standards in mathematics.
The large majority of pupils 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 in tandem.
Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual and procedural knowledge, and assess pupils regularly to identify those requiring intervention so that all pupils keep up.
The intention of these approaches is to provide all children with full access to the curriculum, enabling them to achieve confidence and competence – ‘mastery’ – in mathematics, in order to develop the maths skills they need for the future.
The essential idea behind mastery is that all children need a deep understanding of the mathematics they are learning so that future mathematical learning is built on solid foundations which do not need to be re-taught.
A pupil really understands a mathematical concept, idea or technique if they can: describe it in their own words; represent it in a variety of ways; see connections with other facts and ideas; recognise it in new situations and contexts and make use of it in various ways, including new situations.
A pupil who has mastered the idea in greater depth can: solve problems of greater complexity (where the approach is not immediately obvious), showing creativity and imagination and independently explore and investigate mathematical contexts and structures, communicate results and generalise the mathematics.
We find that this approach equips children well for later learning and later life as well as instilling a love of number and mathematics and indeed learning itself.