Subject Leader: Mr Minett
Maths at Caedmon
At Caedmon we see Maths as essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment. A high-quality mathematics education therefore provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.
The intent of the mathematical strategy adopted at Caedmon is to expose all children to mathematically rich learning environments that support children in developing and applying their mathematical understandings to real life problems and contexts. The children at Caedmon describe maths lessons as fun, enjoyable and challenging with lessons ‘making us think’. Children also recognise that maths lessons ‘prepare us for future jobs and careers in the work place’ and ‘help us to learn skills for our lives’.
The strategy in school is centred on developing a strong and reliable core of foundational mathematical fluency knowledge beginning in EYFS through allowing children opportunities to experience and explore maths in the world around them through explorative investigation and experimentation. The curriculum intent is firmly rooted in children establishing concrete understandings of mathematical properties, relationships and more importantly the connections between each aspect of their learning within the maths curriculum.
Throughout school the intent is to develop confident and resilient mathematicians who are able to accurately draw upon a range of resources and strategies to represent mathematical understandings in different ways through the use of concrete manipulatives, pictorial representations and abstract mathematical methods. Our intention is to expose all children to high quality mathematical vocabulary to further their understandings and their ability to discuss their understandings of maths in order to tackle word-based problem solving and reasoning activities. At Caedmon our goal is to develop mathematically independent and resilient children who are able to confidently demonstrate a deep, conceptual cumulative understanding of mathematics, challenge and question one another’s understandings and inquisitively and enthusiastically investigate the different areas of the maths curriculum.
At Caedmon we implement White Rose Maths to help ensure full coverage of the curriculum over the academic year. This helps inform teachers with their planning, resourcing and assessment, as well as breaking the curriculum down into smaller, manageable steps that all pupils can work on each and every lesson. However, rather than focus exclusively on a scheme, we try to adapt our lessons and resources to be as personalised and as contextualised as we possibly can, with the children’s voice and interests at the heart of this. We do this by using staff and pupils as examples in our questioning, current events and interests to form activities and the use of staff emojis to act as visuals to motivate pupils.
Fluency, problem solving and reasoning are the building blocks behind the way we construct lessons and try to blend a combination of these 3 features over the academic year. Those pupils that need more support will receive additional help in class time or after a lesson as part of a first response intervention. Those children that need more challenge are given rich tasks to further deepen their knowledge to gain a more profound understanding. The school’s most recent Ofsted quotes “Pupils’ workbooks show that, in mathematics, they are frequently challenged to solve tricky problems and to explain their mathematical reasoning.” Although teachers will form targeted support groups in lesson time, mixed ability partners are encouraged to enable peer support and discussion.
At Caedmon we want to create a learning environment where children feel safe to explore and express their ideas. The initial first stage of a lesson is crucial for this and we want pupils to investigate and explore concepts collaboratively. Group and pair discussions are always encouraged, while teachers are there to facilitate and model this. Pupils are encouraged to express their mathematical thinking with a variety of manipulatives or models to help ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’.
However, pupil discussion would not be as efficient without the application and understanding of mathematical vocabulary. Vocabulary is a key component to the way maths is formed at Caedmon Primary School and we dedicate time in every lesson ensuring this is learnt. Teachers will explain and model mathematical vocabulary and how pupils can use this in their group discussions and vocalising answers. Pupils are encouraged to be resourceful and can access mathematical vocabulary at all times during a lesson, using the ‘maths mouth’ vocabulary display in every classroom.
Pupils who have an excellent grasp of number make better mathematicians. Spending longer on mastering key topics throughout the year will help build a pupil’s confidence and help secure understanding. It is essential topics are constantly revisited and not left once being directly taught in class. To achieve this, daily maths meetings are delivered in the form of a ‘Rapid Rewind’. This consists of a 10-minute session where children will be given 4 questions based on what was taught: last lesson, last week, last month and last term.
The school continually tries to improve its implementation of a mastery approach, as well as embedding new systems and resources. To support this, the school works in collaboration with the Great North Maths Hub and Gateshead CCIG Schools (Cross Cluster Improvement Group). The impact of this has helped the school witnessing and sharing good practice as it continues to strive to help every pupil reach their maximum potential.
Pupils can underperform in Maths because they feel they are not naturally good at the subject or think they cannot do it. Caedmon has a supportive and nurturing ethos and focus on effort and achievements of children individually as opposed to outcome. We focus on collaborative discussions and teamwork to embed exploration starters, where pupils can share success, challenge and address misconceptions together, helping develop a growth mindset for maths.
Regular and ongoing assessment informs teaching, as well as interventions, booster classes and adult support to enable success for each and every child. These factors ensure as a school, high standards are maintained and achievement is continually celebrated from EYFS, to KS1 and the end of KS2.
During discussions with pupils, children were very positive about maths. They understood the importance of the subject and could often relate it to real life contexts and the significance it has as a life skill during and after school. Pupils spoke of the importance of showing resilience when working with different maths challenges, but appreciated the togetherness when learning as a class, always feeling supported by staff or their peers. Pupils commented on the helpfulness of different visual representations or use of concrete resources, especially using them during the beginning of lessons when exploring activities together.