At Lawnside, it is our intention to enable all pupils to meet their maximum potential in Mathematics and become fluent, resilient and independent-thinking mathematicians with the power to reason and deploy their learning in new contexts.
To meet this intention, we employ a Mastery approach to Mathematics. We teach mathematics to whole classes and all children are encouraged to believe that by working hard, persevering and adopting a positive mindset focused on resilience and growth they can succeed in Maths.
The key elements of a Mastery approach are essential in meeting our intent:
- Maths teaching for mastery rejects the idea that a large proportion of people ‘just can’t do maths’.
- All pupils are encouraged by the belief that by working hard at maths they can succeed.
- Pupils are taught through whole-class interactive teaching, where the focus is on all pupils working together on the same lesson content at the same time, as happens in Shanghai and several other regions that teach maths successfully. This ensures that all can master concepts before moving to the next part of the curriculum sequence, allowing no pupil to be left behind.
- If a pupil fails to grasp a concept or procedure, this is identified quickly and early intervention ensures the pupil is ready to move forward with the whole class in the next lesson.
- Lesson design identifies the new mathematics 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.
- Procedural fluency and conceptual understanding are developed in tandem because each supports the development of the other.
- It is recognised that practice is a vital part of learning, but the practice used is intelligent practice that both reinforces pupils’ procedural fluency and develops their conceptual understanding.
- Significant time is spent developing deep knowledge of the key ideas that are needed to underpin future learning. The structure and connections within the mathematics are emphasised, so that pupils develop deep learning that can be sustained.
- Key facts such as multiplication tables and addition facts within 10 are learnt to automaticity to avoid cognitive overload in the working memory and enable pupils to focus on new concepts.
We believe that our intent can be met through our Maths curriculum. This is carefully structured to ensure that pupils have the opportunity to meet all national Curriculum objectives during their time at Lawnside. The timing, order and duration of the learning are deliberately chosen to allow longer time to be spent on topics allowing all pupils the chance to develop deep and meaningful mastery of concept. Our intention is to provide a cumulative Maths curriculum where knowledge and skills are gained, retained and connections are strengthened in future terms and years.
The big ideas of Teaching for Maths Mastery are central to the choices we have made to meet our intent:
- representation and structure;
- mathematical thinking;
- variation and
- coherence through small steps
To help fulfil our intent, each Lawnside year group follows a careful journey using Power Maths.
At the heart of Power Maths is a clearly structured teaching and learning process that helps make certain that every child masters each maths concept securely and deeply. For each year group, the curriculum is broken down into core concepts, taught in units. A unit divides into smaller learning steps – lessons. Step by step, strong foundations of cumulative knowledge and understanding are built.
(Power Maths, Pearson)
In planning for each lesson, teachers identify the incremental key learning points (micro-steps) that will be required and decide the order in which to expose the pupils to each key learning point in a carefully ordered episodic fashion during each small step lesson. Potential misconceptions are also thought through during the planning stage and incorporated into the lesson as opportunities for learning. Key vocabulary that will occur during the block is predicted in advance so that the correct terminology can be taught, repeated, moved into active use and contextualized. Planning also deliberately builds in opportunities to expose the underlying structure of the mathematics that allow generalisations to be formulated from reasoning about specific cases.
Lesson delivery involves an initial task; teacher structuring using appropriate representations (concrete, pictorial and abstract) and class recording of the learning; application of the learning with incremental addition of key learning points before pupils have the chance to apply the accumulated learning independently.
Reasoning skills such as pattern spotting, identifying what is the same and what is different, forming conjectures and providing convincing evidence and proof that support mathematical thinking are always promoted in a Lawnside Maths lesson.
Further challenge, extension and deeper thinking tasks are made available to pupils who complete work and challenge will always be present in lessons through the teacher questioning; promoting mathematical thinking and connections; developing reasoning skills and moving from the specific to the general.
At Lawnside, we know that number fluency requires continuous practice. Becoming fluent with number facts helps to avoid cognitive overload as mathematical concepts and contexts become more intricate. As well as including specific number fluency lessons in our curriculum blocks, we also use key points of the school day to allow practice of number bonds and multiplication facts in the form of puzzles, word problems and drills.
As a result, we have developed pupils who are enthusiastic mathematicians who enjoy showcasing their developing reasoning and problem solving skills. They are confident to take risks in their maths and love to discuss and share their ideas to prove their answers.