At Alderton Infant School we recognise the importance of mathematics as it enables pupils to access the wider world. Mathematics is an interconnected subject and we aim to develop a deep conceptual understanding and mastery of mathematical concepts which they can apply in problem-solving and practical tasks. An important element of this is learning and memorising key number facts such as number bonds, step counting and related multiplication and division facts. We enhance our mathematics provision by providing opportunities for pupils to use and apply these learned skills in other areas of the curriculum. Our lessons are focussed on developing the ‘Dimensions of Depth’, which are interdependent and, together, make effective maths lessons:
Language and Communication
Mathematics has a precise formal language, which is distinct from everyday language. At Alderton we explicitly teach accurate mathematical language through the sharing of key vocabulary and opportunities to rehearse the use of this language in full sentences to ensure pupils have the language required to be competent and confident mathematicians. We expect pupils to respond to questions, justify choices and explain their thinking. We wish to ensure all pupils have the confidence to develop their reasoning skills through the skilful use of challenging, open-ended questions and investigations.
We have embedded the development of Concrete, Pictorial and Abstract representations in our planning and policies which enables pupils to make explicit links and connections in their learning as they progress throughout the school. This approach allows pupils to deepen their understanding by representing concepts using objects and pictures and, more abstractly, with words and symbols. We expect pupils to use appropriate pictorial and concrete representations as scaffolds for explanations of their mathematical thinking. We ensure conceptual variation is used to explore the different representations of the same mathematical idea which promotes connections between areas of mathematics and allows pupils to make sense of increasingly complex problems.
We encourage pupils to approach problems in an organised and systematic way. Pupils are asked to deepen their understanding by giving an example or conjecturing about what they notice. Over time pupils will forge connections between different mathematical ideas, and will begin to identify familiar structures and patterns in unfamiliar contexts and problems. We ask pupils to evaluate their work and their understanding with the expectation that they will become increasingly proficient at solving problems over time.
We have adopted a curriculum which;
- covers the National Curriculum for Key Stage One and Early Years Statutory Framework for our Reception pupils but also details the skills, knowledge and understanding we wish pupils to develop in both the long term and medium term plan for each year group.
- is sequential and is designed to build on previous learning towards a clear end point.
- blocked into areas of learning which are revisited over time to help achieve ‘mastery’.
- for Key Stage One, blocked Place Value and Addition and Subtraction in the beginning of the Autumn term so pupils have a strong basis for later concepts such as multiplication and division.
- for Reception pupils start with early number skills. Mathematics is often separated into concepts and specific vocabulary as an approach to support all learners
Early Years Foundation Stage
- Planning delivers content from the Statutory Framework and takes into consideration pupils' varied starting points upon joining our school.
- Reception pupils are taught mathematics daily for approximately 15 minutes. The children then have an independent task related to the objective of the day. Teachers also work with any pupils requiring additional support throughout the day.
- Our curriculum also provides rich opportunities for children to develop their spatial reasoning skills across all areas of mathematics including shape, space and measure. A shape or concept is taught per week e.g. side, circle, face, cube, longer, as this allows pupils to learn the vocabulary and definition and apply this to their learning.
- Pupils are taught through direct instruction, play and exploration activities as well as adult led follow up activities to ensure the concept has been learned and applied. Throughout our mathematics provision pupils are encouraged to look for patterns and relationships and spot connections.
Early Years Foundation Stage: End of Year Assessment
At the end of Reception teachers will assess children against the Early Learning Goals of Number and Numerical Patterns respectively. This includes if they can count confidently and have a deep understanding of the numbers to 10, the relationships between them and the patterns within those numbers. We also provide opportunities for pupils to verbally count beyond 20, compare quantities up to 10 and explore and represent patterns within numbers up to 10.
Key Stage One
In Years One and Two Mathematics is taught 5 times a week.
We follow the National Curriculum Programmes of Study which comprises the following strands:
- Number- place value, addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, fractions
- Geometry- properties of shapes, position and direction
In Year 2 lessons are typically 1 hour in duration.
In Year 1 lessons are typically 45 minutes with the opportunity for mathematical activities linked to the objective to be explored in continuous provision.
Key Stage 1: Assessment
Pupils in Year Two are assessed against the Teacher Assessment Framework as ‘Working Towards’ ‘Working At’ or ‘Greater Depth’.
How we teach mathematics at Alderton Infant School
- We have developed a Calculation Policy and Part-Part Whole policy which allows for staff to develop consistency in teaching of mathematics across the school which allows pupils to develop necessary strategies to calculate effectively.
- Pupils are taught using a ‘mastery’ approach which ensures the majority of pupils ‘stay together’ and planning includes opportunities for pupils who have grasped a mathematical concept to be exposed to varied fluency activities which develop their understanding through rich and sophisticated problems rather than being accelerated through new content.
- Planning includes Greater Depth opportunities which may encourage them to reason more precisely, deal with more complex problems, suggest multiple strategies and approaches to solving calculations, and compare different approaches, taking efficiency into account.
- We have a commitment to providing an accessible curriculum and to develop each child as a learner. We aim to close gaps in attainment by being ambitious for our most vulnerable pupils and removing barriers so they can achieve their best.
Across the school:
- Pupils have access to concrete manipulatives. Concrete, Pictorial and Abstract representations are included in teaching and modelling of problems for pupils where relevant to their age and stage of development as outlined in our policies.
- Staff have high expectations for all pupils and in each lesson they explicitly share and revisit the Learning Objective and Success Criteria.
- In Reception this is given verbally in process steps for the pupils. Teachers and teaching assistants will mark against this for their own records.
- In Key Stage One the Success Criteria is broken down into ‘Bronze’, ‘Silver’ and ‘Gold’ level challenge in each lesson as these mark small succinct steps for success. Pupils are encouraged to ‘go for gold’ as this is typically a Mastery or Greater Depth level challenge.
- Quality first teaching is used to ensure pupils achieve the learning objective, this includes using differentiation to scaffold pupils. The majority of pupils should progress through the programme of study at broadly the same pace however this is based on the security of understanding and readiness. Teachers will use their teacher assessment and adjust learning accordingly, this could be through remodelling and addressing misconceptions in the lesson, through use of adult deployment or through intensive intervention. Where appropriate teachers may make changes to the sequence of lessons to ensure each pupil is able to access the next lesson in the sequence provided they plan for progression towards the end objective. Pupils who grasp concepts readily should be challenged through rich problems which should be detailed in planning.
- The SENCo (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) has a key role in tracking vulnerable pupils and working with teaching staff to remove barriers for pupils' learning as well as coordinating specialists and outside support in a timely way.
- Subject leaders will work together to identify cross curricular links in which pupils can reinforce knowledge, understanding and practical skills which are both relevant and purposeful.
- Parents are invited to attend a Mathematics workshop in both the Autumn and Spring Term which gives an outline as to the purpose of our curriculum, including the core principles which make up our dimensions of depth. The parents learn about the learning taking place in school, the expectations upon the pupils in meeting the curriculum and also have the opportunity to explore manipulatives and strategies their children will be using in line with our Calculation Policy and Curriculum documents. The session typically lasts an hour and demonstrates the standard of work and advises parents of the typical misconceptions and difficulties pupils may face and some possible solutions to these. This information is also shared via email to all parents in that year group.
- Parents are also invited to attend Parent mornings which run one morning a week from 8:45-8:55. In Key Stage One Mathematics meetings are held every other week. In Reception these are run every third week. The intended outcome is for pupils to share and consolidate their learning as well as allowing parents to see the practical and current practises of the school so they can support their child at home
- In Reception homework is discussion based which encourages and supports parents to discuss mathematical concepts with their children.
- In Key Stage One homework is set weekly from Education City which reflects that week’s learning and allows for consolidation.
- Each year group also send home look notices each week which tell parents the key vocabulary their children will be using in mathematics.
- Learning is a change to long term memory and pupil conferencing is used to ascertain what is learned by pupils away from the point of teaching. It is also evident in pupils applying their learning to new contexts.
- In daily teaching formative assessment and verbal feedback is used in lessons against the Learning Objective and Success Criteria to let the pupils know how well they are achieving and their next steps for success. Teachers will use this information to inform future planning and identify target pupils for scaffolding and intervention.
- Teachers are asked where appropriate to keep practical session notes and relevant observations either in mathematics folders or on Target Tracker. This can involve both formative and summative forms of assessment.
- In Year Two teachers will use past SATs papers as a summative approach to assessment of what has been learned so far as well as to develop the pupils testing approach in preparation for the Summer term.
Data and Moderation
- Reception pupils will be ‘baselined’ in Autumn 1 and input onto Target Tracker using teacher assessment. This information will be used to identify trends and gaps in learning by Mathematics Lead and shared with Reception staff.
- Each term Teachers meet in Year Group Teams to discuss pupil progress and outcomes. They use an evidence base of books, practical session notes and observations, both written and anecdotal. Data is entered onto Target Tracker in relation to pupils overall progress and attainment against age related expectations. The mathematics subject leader may attend for part or whole of these discussions as necessary.
- At each half term interval in between data submission as detailed above teachers also conduct a brief step judgement if they believe each pupil is ‘on track’ with their progress ‘above’ or ‘below’. This indicator should be used to identify focus pupils for the upcoming half term to ensure they make good or better progress.
- Additional moderation opportunities include those hosted by the Epping Forest Schools Partnership Trust. Cross phase moderation, including with Alderton Junior School to moderate Year Two and Year Three pupils.
- Pupils on the SEND register have current provision for mathematics on EduKey software if this is an area of need as set out by class teachers. The SENCo (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) has responsibility for tracking these pupils and checking provision maps.
- The Head Teacher and Senior Leadership Team review steps data and conduct pupil progress reviews termly with each year group to identify target pupils for progress and attainment purposes.
The role of the Mathematics Lead
- To ensure the curriculum progression document is being used effectively and ensure 100% curriculum coverage which can be done through planning and book looks.
- To quality assure data and judgements which can be done through pupil conferencing and assessment away from the point of teaching.
- To observe the quality of teaching by conductive learning and climate walks.
- To ensure consistency across classes and year groups.
- To use data and pupil responses to identify overall trends and areas to address.
- To ensure staff are adequately prepared to teach the curriculum and are aware of how to deliver learning based on our school policies, to support staff to remove barriers for pupils, where appropriate signpost staff to suitable CPD opportunities
- To attend termly subject leader meetings for Epping Forest Schools Partnership Trust and to continue to update subject knowledge in light of advancements in the teaching of mathematics.