Mathematics at Brightwell
"We are Mathematicians"
At Brightwell School, we want every child to enjoy learning maths. We know that to enjoy a subject, a child has to feel confident and know that they have the necessary skills to add, subtract, divide, multiply and solve number problems. Of course, maths is not just about number. Children learn to recognise and explain patterns, interpret graphs and timetables, construct shapes and understand their properties.
Mathematics is a vital part of everyday life and, with this is mind, our maths teaching is underpinned by the belief that all children need a deep understanding of the mathematics they are learning. This is what we mean by Mastery; there is one set of mathematical concepts for all. We ensure all pupils have access to these concepts and the rich connections between them. Mastery is, therefore, the aim for all children, hence we have an ambitious, connected maths curriculum for all, which develops our pupils into mathematical thinkers.
Mastery is a continuum; we believe mastery is only going to be achieved when more time is spent on key concepts that are revisited and reviewed. This allows for the development of depth and sufficient practice to embed learning.
Devoting time to key concepts enables us to:
- Represent concepts in lots of different ways (multiple representations).
- Teach the processes, then allow the children to apply their knowledge, increasingly rapidly and accurately.
- Commit key facts to children’s long term memory and consolidate key skills through practice.
Therefore, at an age appropriate level, we expect the vast majority of our children to be able to:
- Use mathematical concepts, facts and procedures appropriately, flexibly and fluently
- Have a sufficient depth of knowledge and understanding to reason and explain mathematical concepts and procedures and use them to solve a variety of problems.
- Recall key number facts e.g. number bonds and times tables with speed and accuracy and use them to calculate and work out unknown facts.
How we ensure challenge
We ensure that the majority of pupils will move through the curriculum at broadly the same pace. However, based on good Assessment for Learning, our teachers make decisions about when to progress children, based on the security of pupils’ understanding and their readiness to progress to the next stage. Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly are challenged by going deeper, being offered rich and more sophisticated problems before any acceleration through new content. Differentiation still takes place, although, it will often be through the same concept, posing different questions and problems for ‘rapid graspers’ to extend their thinking. Mastery strategies such as ‘Prove it; Compare; True or False are used.
Deepening through differentiation is important in all year groups, but of paramount importance in our mixed age classes. Those who are not sufficiently fluent with earlier material, consolidate their understanding, including through additional practice, before moving on.
How we ensure a well-sequenced, progressive curriculum
We teach the National Curriculum 2014. Pupils gain understanding of the mathematics relevant to their year group so that is it built upon in subsequent years.
Our long term map, using White Rose Maths, outlines in year groups / phases when mathematical knowledge, in unit blocks of work, will be taught and revisited. This is the basis for our well sequenced and progressive curriculum.
Our Calculation Policy outlines in more detail which concepts and procedures / strategies will be introduced and then developed.
Our weekly planning is based on White Rose Maths which is tailored to the needs of our children. We use many concrete resources throughout the school to ensure children are exposed to multiple representations of a concept and additional resources are sourced where appropriate, particularly to consolidate calculation skills and promote fluency.
Whilst we teach maths in progressive distinct domains (units of work) we recognise that maths is an interconnected subject. Therefore, we encourage children to make connections across mathematical ideas to develop fluency, mathematical reasoning and competence in solving increasingly sophisticated problems, especially in our Big Maths sessions. Children also apply their mathematical knowledge across the curriculum, and particularly in science and through our annual STEM week.
Progression maps can be accessed here
- Basic maths skills are taught daily for 45-60 minutes, focusing on key mathematical skills including place value, the four operations and fractions.
- A range of reasoning resources is used to challenge all children and give them the opportunity to reason with their understanding.
- Every second Friday sees some classes engaged in ‘Big Maths’. These sessions focus on one key problem-solving skill per term: working systematically; working backwards; trial and improvement; number patterns; reasoning and convincing; and visualising.
- Children are taught through targeted differentiated small group and mixed ability whole class lessons.
- Lessons use a Concrete, Pictorial and Abstract approach to guide children through their understanding of mathematical processes.
- Consolidation lessons are used to revisit previous learning and ensure maths skills are embedded.
- Where possible, links are made with other subjects across the curriculum.
As a result of our maths teaching at Brightwell you will see:
- Engaged children who are all challenged.
- Confident children who can all talk about maths and their learning and the links between mathematical topics.
- Lessons that use a variety of resources to support learning.
- Different representations of mathematical concepts.
- Learning that is tracked and monitored to ensure all children make good progress.
From the beginning of EYFS, we prioritise the five principles of counting:
- The one-to-one principle: A child knows that we only count each item once.
- The stable order principle: A child knows that the order of the number names always stays the same. We always count by saying one, two, three, four, five….in that order.
- The cardinal principle: A child knows that the number they attach to the last object they count gives the answer to the question how many….?
- The abstraction principle: A child knows that we can count anything – they do not all need to be the same type of object.
- The order irrelevance principle: A child knows that we count a group of objects in any order and in any arrangement and we will still get the same number.
We also prioritise:
- Subitising: the ability to recognise how many there are in a small group of objects without counting them. This allows children to see that numbers can be represented in different ways.
- Unitising: one object can have a value of more than one (equivalence). e.g. using base 10 equipment, Numicon, coins.
By the end of EYFS, we expect the vast majority of our children to achieve the ELGs in Number and Numerical Patterns:
Number ELG: Have a deep understanding of number to 10, including the composition of each number; subitise (recognise quantities without counting) up to 5; automatically recall (without reference to rhymes, counting or other aids) number bonds up to 5 (including subtraction facts) and some number bonds to 10, including double facts
Numerical patterns ELG: Verbally count beyond 20, recognising the pattern of the counting system; compare quantities up to 10 in different contexts, recognising when one quantity is greater than, less than or the same as the other quantity; explore and represent patterns within numbers up to 10, including evens and odds, double facts and how quantities can be distributed equally.
Please see our Curriculum Overviews on the class pages for further details of what the children are learning.