At Abel Smith School we recognise that mathematics is an important life skill as well as fundamental to the vast majority of career pathways. In light of this, it is our intent that we provide a high-quality mathematical education which will ensure children move to the next stage of their education being numerate, confident and well-equipped.
Through quality first teaching, with our primary aim being mastery of the curriculum for all children, we aim to unlock children’s potential in maths and make it a fun, engaging subject which is accessible to all. Our intention is to show children they can master the maths curriculum and that maths is an area where all children can experience success and is not something to be anxious about. With this in mind, we recognise the importance of being fluent in the fundamentals of maths and provide a variety of opportunities for children to practise their automatic recall to make it more rapid and accurate.
We deliver our Mathematics curriculum to ensure it follows the key aims of the National Curriculum.
Children at Abel Smith School are taught to reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, find connections and establish relationships whilst using mathematical language. This helps them to be stimulated and curious about maths as well as helps them to make sense of how mathematics is key in the world.
Our mathematics curriculum carefully sequences knowledge, concepts and procedures to build mathematical knowledge and skills over time. Key learning is broken down into small steps and children regularly revisit prior learning.
At Abel Smith School, we follow a mastery approach to mathematics based on White Rose Maths and guidance from the NCTEM. This whole class, step-by-step teaching approach allows children at Abel Smith to move through the curriculum at broadly the same pace. Children at Abel Smith School take part in a daily mathematics lessons taught by their class teacher.
Teachers plan lessons based on the White Rose long term plan which is broken down into small steps. They use their own professional judgement, daily formative assessment and feedback from pupils to structure the learning journey within a unit.
Mathematics lessons at Abel Smith consist of three main parts:
- Practise, where children independently have a go at the main skill being taught and live-mark their work under the guidance of the teacher.
- Apply, where children use the skills taught to problem solve and reason through different types of questions and representations.
- Reason (Challenge), where children are challenged to use their mathematical knowledge and understanding to justify or prove something, follow a line of enquiry or find all possible outcomes.
In addition to this, Children in our Reception and KS1, take part in a daily Mastering Number lesson. This is separate to the main maths lesson. During these lessons, the children develop and secure their understanding of key number facts so that they have secure and firm foundations as well as good number sense. In January 2024, we welcomed our Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 parents into school to take part in a Mastering Number Parents' Project.
From this September, our Year 4 and Year 5 pupils are taking part in the KS2 Mastering Number project which focuses on developing fluency in multiplication and division facts as well as a confidence and flexibility with number.
The Mastering Number Projects help our pupils develop good number sense which we know are an essential part of their primary maths learning.
We use a teaching for mastery approach within our maths lessons. Our lesson design is consistent across KS1 and KS2. Children explore a maths objective and have time to practice mathematical thinking, before having the opportunity to move on to apply and reason. We have flexible maths groupings and cater to the needs of each child each lesson. We use live marking to provide instant feedback alongside 'Next Steps' to address misconceptions which are responded to the next day.
As a result of spending more time on fundamentals, the children can establish firm foundations on which to build their understanding. We believe strongly in a concrete-pictorial-abstract approach and have a core set of representations and manipulative which are used across year groups to expose important mathematical structures and ideas. It also helps to connect prior learning to new learning.
Our maths curriculum provides sufficient opportunities for planned revisits of previously learned knowledge, concepts and procedures. This is to ensure that, once learned, mathematical knowledge becomes deeply embedded in pupils’ memories. We also prioritise the consistent use of precise and accurate mathematical language within lessons and one way we do this is through the use of 'Stem Sentences'. Stem Sentences are designed to improve the comprehension of maths problems and concepts. This is done by breaking down these problems into smaller chunks and more familiar language that is more accessible to learners.
There are different ways that stem sentences are used. The first way is by using them to state a key concept:
For example: “12 is greater than nine.”
This can be followed by a statement that explains why this is correct. This is known as a generalised concept:
For example: “Two-digit numbers are worth more than a one-digit number.”
Another type of stem sentence can be used to structure thoughts and ideas. It will usually be longer and include a sentence starter, with words like ‘as’ or ‘because’, in order to provide a more thorough explanation.
For example: “I know that one-quarter of 28 is seven because one-half of 28 is 14, then I half it again to get the right answer.”
For those pupils requiring additional support, this is provided, where possible, in same-day interventions with the support of a teacher or teaching assistant. We also support pupils with pre-teaching, additional interventions during assembly time as well as targeted questioning and support in lessons. Children who grasp concepts rapidly are challenged to apply and reason within the lesson to further their mathematical thinking.
Maths is included in other subject areas where appropriate exposing children to mathematical thinking and concepts across the curriculum. Home learning and deliberate practice of key number facts is encouraged through participation with Times Tables Rock Stars, White Rose 1 Minute Maths and other carefully selected workbooks.
At Abel Smith School, we have an excellent relationship with the Matrix Maths Hub and work closely with them to understand and deliver innovative new approaches to teaching mathematics. It also allows us to continuously upskill our teaching staff to sustain the Maths Mastery approach consistently.
At Abel Smith School, we understand the importance of being active whilst learning and the positive benefits that this can have on a child’s learning. Our pupils often take part in ‘Active Maths Lessons’ which are usually take place out of the classroom. These can be used to introduce a new topic, revise previous knowledge, assess understanding at the end of a unit or to provide additional learning opportunities. These lessons will often be recorded on our online learning platform, Seesaw.
How is Mathematics Assessed?
Each unit of work begins with ascertaining the children’s prior knowledge, often called a re-cap. This allows us to see any connected knowledge held in their long-term memory and address any misconceptions that have been identified.
Throughout the topic, sufficient opportunities are planned to allow children to revisit previously learned knowledge, concepts and procedures. This is to ensure that, once learned, knowledge becomes deeply embedded in pupils’ memories.
To further support ongoing formative assessment, teachers review pupils’ contributions in lessons, work in their books and attainment in end of unit assessments. These are supported by end of term formative assessments. Progress and attainment is recorded termly to SLT through pupils progress meetings. The Maths Subject Leader monitors the quality of teaching and learning through lessons drop-ins, lesson observations, professional dialogue and through the recording of the impact of actions from the school development plan. Support from the Matrix Maths Hub is also used in this way.
In Early Years children are assessed against the Early Learning Goals.
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.. Our mathematics curriculum is designed to ensure that all children experience challenge and success in Mathematics 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 well above the national average, as well an increasingly high proportion of children demonstrating greater depth, at the end of each phase.
We aim for children to have:
Quick recall of facts and procedures
The flexibility and fluidity to move between different contexts and representations of mathematics.
The ability to recognise relationships and make connections in mathematics
Select which mathematical approach is most effective in different scenarios.
Confidence when approaching mathematical problems and enjoy doing so
Positive attitudes towards their maths learning.
A mathematical concept or skill has been mastered when a child can show it in multiple ways, using the mathematical language to explain their ideas, and can independently apply the concept to new problems in unfamiliar situations.
The school provides a range of wider opportunities to enrich the mathematics curriculum provided in the classroom, for example:
Opportunities for the most able children to participate in additional workshops or challenges such as the maths challenge and quiz events
Termly times tables challenges in KS2 as well as membership to Times Tables Rock Stars
Cross-curricular opportunities where maths skills are applied across the curriculum
Use of high-quality websites, like Nrich and NCETM, to set appropriate maths-rich activities in lessons
Use of interventions, in a tailored format, to support children with fluency
% of Abel Smith EYFS children reaching a Good Level of Development in number
% EYFS Nationally in maths
% of Abel Smith children achieving the Expected Standard (EXS) in maths
% of children Nationally achieving the Expected Standard (EXS) in maths
% of Abel Smith children achieving the expected standard (EXS) in maths
% of children Nationally achieving the expected standard (EXS) in maths