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 Willow Wood Primary School, 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.
The content and principles underpinning the 2014 Mathematics curriculum and the Maths curriculum at Willow Wood Primary School reflect those found in high-performing education systems internationally, particularly those of east and south-east Asian countries such as Singapore, Japan, South Korea and China. These principles and features characterise this approach and convey how our curriculum is implemented:
- Teachers reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards in Mathematics.
- The large majority of children progress through the curriculum content at the same pace.
- Differentiation is available for children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) to ensure that they are able to make progress from their individual starting points.
- Teaching is underpinned by methodical and repetitive curriculum design and supported by carefully crafted lessons and resources to foster deep conceptual and procedural knowledge.
- Practice 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.
- Daily fluency practice through our ‘Early Bird’ sessions allow children to repeat and revisit core basic skills.
To ensure that there is consistency and progression across school, the school has its own curriculum design based on Brunner’s spiral curriculum and Ebbinghaus’ ‘forgetting curve’. Our Maths curriculum has been carefully planned out to ensure coverage of all concepts across the year with core skills, such as place value, being repeated each half term to ensure that these skills are embedded in everything the children do. Throughout each lesson and concept being taught, problem-solving activities are used to prompt discussion and reasoning, as well as promoting an awareness of maths in relatable real-life contexts that link to other areas of learning. In KS1, these problems are almost always presented with objects (concrete manipulatives) for children to use. Children may also use manipulatives in KS2. Teachers use careful questions to draw out children’s discussions and their reasoning. The class teacher then leads children through strategies for solving the problems, including those already discussed. Independent work provides the means for all children to develop their fluency further, before progressing to more complex related problems. Mathematical concepts are taught in blocks, to enable the achievement of ‘mastery’ over time. Each lesson phase provides the means to achieve greater depth, with more able children being offered rich and sophisticated problems, as well as exploratory, investigative tasks, within the lesson as appropriate.
The school has a supportive ethos and our approaches support the children in developing their collaborative and independent skills, as well as empathy and the need to recognise the achievement of others. Children can underperform in Mathematics because they think they can’t do it or are not naturally good at it. Our Building Learning Powers (BLP words) addresses these preconceptions by ensuring that all children experience challenge and success in Mathematics by developing a positive growth mindset. Regular and ongoing assessment informs teaching, as well as intervention, to support and enable the success of each child. Children learn the possibilities for careers in mathematics, as a result of our participation in the North East LEP Careers pilot, ensuring that children have access to positive role models within the field of mathematics and engineering from the immediate and wider local community.