The 2014 National Curriculum for Maths aims to ensure that all children:
- become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics
- are able to reason mathematically
- can solve problems by applying their mathematics
At Ambleside, these skills are embedded within maths lessons and developed consistently over time. We are committed to ensuring that children are able to recognise the importance of maths in the wider world and that they are also able to use their mathematical skills and knowledge confidently in their lives in a range of different contexts.
We want all children to enjoy mathematics and to experience success in the subject, with the ability to reason mathematically. We are committed to developing children’s curiosity about the subject, as well as an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics.
We teach our maths curriculum through a mastery approach, which has been designed to give every child, from EYFS to year 6, a deep and conceptual understanding. Concepts are taught in small connected and structured steps, so that children are consistently building upon their previous knowledge. We ensure that maths is taught across our curriculum, so that our children develop as confident mathematicians and can apply their knowledge and skills in other contexts.
The school embraced a mastery approach in 2019. Teaching for mastery’s five big ideas are as follows: fluency, mathematical thinking, representation and structure and variation; coherence (small steps) are a running thread throughout. Therefore, as a school we ensure we teach in small steps to allow a strong and secure understanding of mathematical concepts that children can confidently reason and problem solve with accordingly. All year groups have at least a lesson of mathematics every day.
Maths is a core subject in the National Curriculum and at Ambleside our mastery approach follows the DfE Mathematics National Curriculum programmes of study and the Early Years Foundation Stage guidance. We use the White Rose Maths scheme of work for teaching maths across Early Years and Key Stage 1 and lessons are taught in single age classes. In Key Stage 2, Hamilton Trust is used as a starting point for planning (alongside White Rose Maths) as it is designed with mixed age groups in mind.
The large majority of children progress through the curriculum content at the same pace. Significant time is spent developing deep knowledge of the key ideas that are needed to underpin future learning. This ensures that all can master concepts before moving to the next part of the curriculum sequence, allowing no pupil to be left behind.
The structure and connections within the mathematics are emphasised, so that pupils develop deep learning that can be sustained.
Lesson design identifies the new maths that is to be taught, the key points, the difficult points and a carefully sequenced journey through the learning. In a typical lesson, pupils sit facing the teacher and the teacher leads back and forth interaction, including questioning, short tasks, explanation, demonstration, and discussion.
Practise and consolidation play a central role. Carefully designed variation within this builds fluency and understanding of underlying mathematical concepts.
Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual and procedural knowledge and assess children regularly to identify those requiring intervention, so that all children keep up.
Children’s explanations and their proficiency in articulating mathematical reasoning, with the precise use of mathematical vocabulary.
To ensure whole consistency and progression, the school uses the nationally recognised White Rose Maths scheme. The White Rose curriculum is a cumulative curriculum, so that once a topic is covered, it is met many times again in other contexts. For example, place value is revisited in addition and subtraction and multiplication and division. The curriculum recognises the importance of children’s conceptual understanding of number. It is therefore designed to ensure that time is invested in reinforcing this to build competency.
Lessons are planned to provide plenty of opportunities to build reasoning and problem-solving elements into the curriculum. When introduced to a new concept, children have the opportunity to use concrete objects and manipulatives to help them understand what they are doing. Alongside this, children are encouraged to use pictorial representations. These representations can then be used to help reason and solve problems. Both concrete and pictorial representations support children’s understanding of abstract methods.
Mathematical topics are taught in blocks, to enable the achievement of mastery over time. These teaching blocks are broken down into smaller steps, to help children understand concepts better. This approach means that children do not cover too many concepts at once which can lead to cognitive overload.
Each lesson phase provides the means for children to achieve greater depth, with children who are quick to grasp new content, being offered rich and sophisticated problems, within the lesson as appropriate.
The school has a supportive ethos and our approaches supports the children in developing their collaborative and independent skills, as well as empathy and the need to recognise the achievement of others. Students can underperform in mathematics because they think they cannot do it or are not naturally good at it. The school’s use of White Rose Maths addresses these preconceptions by ensuring that all children experience challenge and success in maths by developing a growth mindset.
Regular and ongoing assessment informs teaching, as well as intervention, to support and enable the success of each child. These factors ensure that we are able to maintain high standards, with achievement at the end of KS2 in line with the national average, including those working at greater depth.