A high-quality mathematics education … provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject. (National Curriculum)
At Springfield, we believe in the power of maths to change our children’s lives. Being a confident mathematician enables children to navigate and solve real-life problems. We are committed to equipping all of our pupils with the necessary knowledge and understanding to succeed in the next phase of their mathematics education and beyond. We have designed our maths curriculum with our children’s long-term futures in mind and know that we are laying the foundations they will need in future employment and as financially literate citizens.
As teachers who are passionate about maths, we want our children to know that the maths they learn inside and outside of the classroom has the potential unlock doors in their futures as scientists, engineers and designers. We also believe that, like a love of literature, a love of maths – its patterns and its power – is a fundamental right for all children. We are unwaveringly ambitious for all pupils in our maths curriculum.
When children leave us to take their next steps as mathematicians, we ensure that they are confident in the three strands of reasoning, fluency and problem solving.
At Springfield, we follow a mastery approach to teaching Maths. Mastering maths means all pupils acquiring a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject. Maths is taught in mixed attainment groups. The mastery approach means no child is left behind. Responsive teaching and flexible grouping ensures that all children receive the support they need to succeed and all children experience meaningful challenge.
We follow the National Curriculum for maths and use high-quality resources from the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) to sequence learning so that learning builds logically and progressively from the starting points in our EYFS to ambitious end points at the end of Key Stage 2. Each strand of learning follows a clear and coherent sequence of small steps to secure mastery.
At each stage of our maths curriculum, children use manipulatives like diennes and place value counters to gain a deep understanding of numbers, mathematical operations and processes. In each phase, teachers use carefully-selected visual representations (models and images) to ensure children develop deep and flexible conceptual understanding.
We place a high emphasis on high-quality talk and articulation in our maths curriculum. Precise mathematical vocabulary is taught explicitly in line with definitions provided in the NCETM glossary and children are scaffolded to think and reason using high-quality sentence stems.
Lesson design in maths aligns with Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction. Following high-quality modelling and explanation, children engage with generative learning tasks with appropriate levels of scaffolding which are faded over time. Teachers use ongoing assessment for learning to respond to misconceptions and errors and to ensure children obtain a high success rate in independent learning before exploring new challenges.
Our curriculum design also ensures children develop fluency and automaticity in important number facts. We know that rapid recall of things like times tables and number bonds empowers children to calculate accurately and efficiently and to solve a rich range of problems. All lessons involve a focus on being fluent mathematicians. Fluency practice is varied and engaging. Children complete ‘beat its’ to recall key facts or use mini-white boards to complete a quick-fire round
Alongside learning key number facts, children learn to reason about their maths. This involves partner talk and having to justify answers using mathematical vocabulary. Being able to say why an answer or method is correct or incorrect shows mastery of an area of maths. It also enables children to better notice and self-correct when they are not on track. Reasoning also involves pattern spotting and looking for rules and connections. Children are encouraged to look for patterns and links, find mistakes, make generalisations and solve questions in more than one way. Questions and conjectures are celebrated and explored together to work towards a shared understanding.
Problem solving is an element in all units of maths. Children are given opportunities to apply calculation strategies to real-life problems. Discussion is a key element of problem solving; tackling a problem in different ways is celebrated. Children learn to think creatively and know that there is no ‘one correct way’ to represent or solve a problem. As mathematicians they must draw on all of their knowledge and skills to decide how best to get started and what to do if their first try does not work. Through problem solving children therefore develop flexible thinking and resilience: the problems are not supposed to feel easy to solve but they certainly feel satisfying when a solution is finally reached.
Opportunities to retrieve and review previous steps of learning is built into our curriculum design. Regular ‘review it’ tasks assess what has stuck in children’s long-term memories and expose what may require additional explanation or practice. All new learning is explicitly linked to previous steps – aided by the clarity in the small-steps model – so that children make meaningful connections and develop secure schema.
Assessment and Responsive Teaching
Assessment is woven into maths lessons so that teachers have a clear idea of what has been mastered and what each child’s next steps are. Planning is responsive – teachers plan to meet children’s gaps on a daily, weekly and termly basis. Children may complete a ‘Beat it’ to assess their fluency in a key skill (for example to be able to multiply and divide by 10). This will take no longer than 5 minutes and children are often able to self-assess to get instant feedback. ‘Review its’ are used to revisit learning from previous weeks or terms to ensure that it has ‘stuck’. As well as formative assessment mechanisms, termly summative assessments inform planning and enable leaders to analyse and respond to emerging trends.
To find out more about the units of learning in each year group, take a look at our maths subject overview: Maths at Springfield
Seeing maths as part of every day life is a great way for children to see the relevance of their maths lessons. Some key ways to support your child are listed below:
Encouraging your child to learn to tell the time (on both digital and analogue clocks) provides them with an invaluable life skill. Discussing journey details and looking at bus and train timetables helps children to see the value of good time-keeping. Which train must they catch to be on time.
With the increase in contactless payment devices, our children are handling less and less real money. Knowing the values of coins and how much change they should expect when paying with cash will empower your child to feel confident budgeting and spending money. Estimating how much several items will cost by rounding their values will help children to stay in budget. If I only have £5.00 I can only buy five 99p lollies as 99p is nearly £1.00.
Cooking and baking is a hugely enjoyable way to get children confident estimating mass and volume. Feeling the mass of flour in a bag will give children a sense of what a kilogram means and make a connection between 500g and 0.5kg being half of this amount. Reading the volume of milk from a jug will help children to read scales. Mixing ingredients together is the beginning of understanding ratio and proportion in Upper KS2: if I need 200g of flour for 4 cupcakes, then I will need 400g for 8 cupcakes as both amounts have been doubled.
Shapes surround us and sometimes we don’t even notice. Spotting squares, triangles, rectangles and other polygons in real life can help to strengthen your child’s ability to identify shapes. Counting or calculating how many tiles are on a bathroom wall shows them how area is applied to real life. Measuring their own height in metres and centimetres and comparing it with your height will have them calculating the difference in a meaningful and motivating context: only 1.5m until I’m your height mum!
Underlying a real love of maths is a confidence in calculating fluently. When children are freed up by knowing their times tables or number bonds, they can spend more time spotting patterns and exploring. Some key areas of number fluency are:
To see how you can help too, please use the following links: