Our vision is for all pupils to be confident about their mathematical ability and understanding. We want them to be able to: reason about their maths; develop their conceptual understanding, problem solving and fluency; become ‘deep thinkers’ where they acquire maths skills that can be recalled quickly and transferred and applied in different contexts and develop their mathematical curiosity so that they appreciate the beauty and power of mathematics.
At Clifton Primary School we have adopted a maths scheme called Power Maths to support our teaching of maths.
This is an exciting whole class mastery approach, which has been recommended by the DfE that works for every child. Mastery maths aims for children to acquire a long-term, deep, confident and adaptable understanding of maths concepts. It is based upon the concrete, pictorial and abstract approach.
Every lesson is divided into sections that involve plenty of discovery, sharing, collaboration, practice and reflection. Children are encouraged to solve problems each day through the use of concrete resources, pictorial representations and abstract thinking.
At the heart of this programme is the idea that all children can achieve and be successful mathematicians with the right growth mindset. The whole class works on the same content and no child is left behind.
The Concrete, Pictorial and Abstract Approach CPA
The Concrete Pictorial Abstract (CPA) approach is a system of learning that uses physical and visual aids to build a child’s understanding of abstract topics.
When they are comfortable solving problems with physical aids, they are given problems with pictures – usually pictorial representations of the concrete objects they were using.
Then they are asked to solve problems where they only have the abstract i.e. numbers or other symbols. Building these steps across a lesson can help pupils better understand the relationship between numbers and the real world, and therefore helps secure their understanding of the mathematical concept they are learning.
The philosophy behind Power Maths is that being successful in maths is not just about rote-learning procedures and methods, but is instead about problem solving, thinking and discussing. Many people feel they were taught maths in a way that was about memorising formulas and calculation methods, then having to apply them without any real understanding of what or how these methods actually work. Power Maths includes practice questions to help children develop fluent recall and develop their conceptual understanding.
Power Maths uses growth mindset characters to prompt, encourage and question children. They spark curiosity, engage reasoning, secure understanding and deepen learning for all.
We have adopted these characters within school as our characteristics of a mathematician. Keep an eye out for our characters all around our school environment.
Throughout each lesson formative assessment takes place and feedback is given to the children through marking and next step tasks to ensure they are meeting the specific learning objective. Teacher’s then use this assessment to influence their planning and ensure they are providing a mathematics curriculum that will allow each child to progress. The teaching of maths is also monitored on a termly basis through book scrutinies, learning walks and lesson observations. Each term children from Year 2 and above complete a summative assessment to help them to develop their testing approach and demonstrate their understanding of the topics covered. Key Stage 1 use a combination of observations, informal questioning and SATs papers (Year 2) whilst Key Stage 2 use NFER tests and SATs papers (Year 6.) The results from both the formative assessment and summative assessment are then used to determine children’s progress and attainment.
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 should be challenged through being offered rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration through new content. Those who are not sufficiently fluent with earlier material should consolidate their understanding, through additional practice, before moving on.
Fluency and Understanding in Number
At Clifton Primary School, we strive for our children to be successful and proficient mathematicians. The reason for this is simple: Maths is all around us and we use it in our everyday lives. We use maths when we are baking, when shopping, whilst driving, when solving problems. We use maths when we are drawing, when building, whilst waiting for the bus and when going on holiday. We even use maths when we don’t even realise it. Therefore it is essential that we enable our children to be successful in this subject.
How do we help our pupils to become successful mathematicians?
In order for a child to be successful (either personally or academically) they must practise. This is true of any mathematician. Frequent practise will enable children to have a secure understanding and enable them to recall facts quickly and fluently so that they can apply them in many different contexts.
In light of this, we do daily arithmetic sessions so children become fluent in number. The aim of these sessions is to enable children to practise number facts in order to improve the speed of their recall. We believe that over learning number facts will also enable our children to be secure enough to apply their knowledge in a range of contexts.
These sessions usually last for 10 minutes a day and take place before the maths lesson. They involve singing and chanting number facts, rapid recall of number bonds or times tables and arithmetic questions in line with their year group expectations.
How can you help your child to become fluent mathematicians?
When it comes to times tables, speed AND accuracy are important – the more facts your child remembers, the easier it is for them to do harder calculations. Times Table Rock Stars is a fun and challenging programme designed to help students master the times tables! To be a Times Table Rock Star you need to answer any multiplication fact up to 12×12 in less than 3 seconds!
Encourage them to practise their number facts in fun and practical ways. For example, counting pairs of socks, playing games with dice where they have to use the number bonds, sing number songs (a range of which can be found on U Tube) or play ICT games on the internet such as ‘Hit the Button’. See the list of online resources on our website. We also use Mathletics.
Success is different for every child. For some, it’s getting to the top of the class; for others, it’s finding an answer on their own. Mathletics provides a safe, encouraging learning environment that provides the right level of challenge to help your child grow, gain confidence, and achieve their best.