Maths at St Bernadette’s

At St Bernadette’s we realise that using and understanding Maths is essential to everyday life. It has a high priority in our curriculum and is taught daily.

 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.

The national curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
  • reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
  • can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and nonroutine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.

Mathematics is an interconnected subject in which pupils need to be able to move fluently between representations of mathematical ideas. The programmes of study are, by necessity, organised into apparently distinct domains, but pupils should make rich connections across mathematical ideas to develop fluency, mathematical reasoning and competence in solving increasingly sophisticated problems. They should also apply their mathematical knowledge to science and other subjects.

The expectation is that the majority of pupils will move through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace. However, decisions about when to progress should always be based on the security of pupils’ understanding and their readiness to progress to the next stage.

Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly are challenged through being offered rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration through new content. Those who are not sufficiently fluent with earlier material will consolidate their understanding, including through additional practice, before moving on.

Maths and ICT (Information Communication Technology)

 At St Bernadette’s, calculators are not used as a substitute for good written and mental arithmetic. They are only  introduced near the end of key stage 2 to support pupils’ conceptual understanding and exploration of more complex number problems, if written Mathematics – key stages 1 and 2  and mental arithmetic are secure.

At St Bernadette’s, teachers use their judgement about when ICT tools should be used.

Maths and Spoken Language

The national curriculum for mathematics reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically.

The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are key factors in developing their mathematical vocabulary and presenting a mathematical justification, argument or proof. They must be assisted in making their thinking clear to themselves as well as others and teachers should ensure that pupils build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy their misconceptions.

How we teach Maths at St Bernadette’s

We are continually reviewing our maths provision to ensure our children receive the best teaching possible. We have  recently moved to a CPA approach to teaching Maths- concrete, pictorial, abstract (see our calculation policy) and this will be evident in all the children’s work. Children need to work practically in the first instance then as they become more confident, they will move to their own representations and jottings to support their learning.

Mental recall is vital in improving fluency for our children so we spend a lot of time in practising and rehearsing key number bonds/facts. This is an area where parents can really help us at home in practising with their child.

We use very practical resources in EYFS then move on to Numicon, Dienes, cubes etc in Years 1-3 particularly. Once the children are confident with their place value and can work quickly and effectively with practical resources, they are then encouraged to use jottings and pictorial representations to support their learning.

In our Reception Class- Topaz Class- we follow the Early Years Curriculum. Much emphasis is placed on subitising, mathematical language and finding patterns. Children work with numbers up to ten and find lots of different ways to make these numbers.

The activities are practical and play based, with continuous provision giving lots of opportunities for daily maths work. The children also have maths focussed teacher led input. As with all subjects in EYFS, there is a lot of modelling and play partner work.

In Years 1 & 2- Ruby Class- the children gradually move on to more formal learning and bigger numbers. A great deal of emphasis is placed on understanding place value up to 3 digits. Once children are able to work with smaller numbers and recognise the value of each digit, they will be working on fluency in the rules of number before we expose them to ever increasing reasoning and problem solving tasks. Towards the end of Year 2, children will sit a maths test and the results will be reported back to you.

In Years 3 & 4- Emerald Class- once the children are confident with 3 digit numbers, they will progress to larger numbers and increasingly complex calculations, involving exchanging and moving from pictorial representations to expanded methods in the four rules. Once they are can do this effectively, we begin to look at the more formal, short methods towards the end of Year 4. Towards the end of Year 4, the children will sit an online Times Tables test and results will be reported back to you.

In Years 5 & 6, we are expecting that the children are now fluent and able to work with increasingly large numbers and decimal fractions. In addition to daily maths lessons, the children also have the opportunity to further extend fluency and effective methods of calculating through additional afternoon arithmetic sessions. Towards the end of Year 6, children will sit 2 maths tests and results will be reported back to you.

As a school, a large emphasis is placed on a full understanding of number and place value and you will see this in our long term plan. We also ensure that we give appropriate weighting to other areas of maths such as geometry, statistics and measure. In each of these areas, we provide concrete resources to support the children before we move to more pictorial then abstract approaches.

In ALL areas of maths, we provide a great deal of reasoning and problem solving opportunities- this extends and broadens understanding before moving to increasingly complex tasks. If a child can explain their reasoning, can explain which method has been chosen and how it works, they are showing a full understanding and becoming fluent and effective mathematicians, which is what we strive for all our pupils.

We have adapted and developed a new long term plan (June 23) which is on our website. This shows the approximate order in which we teach and the time weightings for each aspect of maths. As we are a mixed year setting, there will be times when children in the same class but in different year groups are taught different aspects of maths. This may be in the same classroom or in different rooms in the school.

We have based our long and medium term planning on the White Rose programme but this is only a base. We use a range of written resources to support our maths teaching including NRich to further extend reasoning and problem solving.