At Cherry Orchard Primary Academy we believe that the development of mathematics skills and knowledge are vital, not only for children to succeed at school, but also to become successful and resilient adults. Being fluent with numbers, understanding patterns and using logic and problem solving skills are all essential parts of everyday life and help us to understand and change the world around us. Therefore, maths skills are referred to during pupils’ PYP inquiries, where appropriate. We aim for all children to leave us as competent and confident ‘masters’ of maths, with deep conceptual and procedural knowledge and an enjoyment of the challenges that mathematics provides. We believe that every child can do maths and want our children to leave us as independent, reflective thinkers, whose skills not only liberate them in maths but also support them across the whole curriculum.
We ensure that teachers have good subject knowledge through continuing professional development. This is led by the maths champions across the academy and supported by the Trust Directors of Improvement. We work in collaboration with other Trust academies and through the teacher research group led by the local maths hub.
Core Aims in Mathematics
- To offer a curriculum that allows children to at least meet the age related expectations of the National Curriculum at the end of each key stage
- To allow pupils to see how mathematics is relevant to their everyday life
- To provide opportunities for pupils to use and apply their mathematics skills outside of discrete maths teaching time in real life contexts through the PYP lines of inquiry.
- To promote a positive attitude towards mathematics and to enable pupils to develop their confidence in the subject and a motivation to succeed
- To ensure that all children achieve to their highest potential in mathematics and that all pupils are challenged
To ensure we deliver a robust maths curriculum, we follow the White Rose long term plan to sequence our learning and to ensure the full coverage of the maths curriculum and skills that our children need to learn for each year group. The long term plan interweaves prior content with new concepts, this practice and consolidation helps children to grasp the links between topics and to understand them more deeply. Our teachers are proficient in ensuring that mathematical skills are embedded and will focus on a skill for longer before moving on if this is needed for the children in their class. In addition, they will skillfully re-visit lessons through other parts of the day and consistently use Assessment for Learning opportunities to inform next steps.This means that the consolidation weeks that are scheduled are used wisely to revisit any misconceptions, link learning and recap knowledge already taught. This also allows us to address misconceptions or gaps that children may have due to the high mobility of pupils that we have at COPA so that we can fill the gaps so that children can catch up with their peers quickly.
Maths in EYFS and Year 1
In Nursery, children are exposed to number and shape, space and measures through a wide variety of songs, videos, stories and games. Children at this age are predominantly developing fluency skills in counting and an early understanding of the concept of numbers and where maths appears in their environment.
In Reception, children focus on a number a week. This allows in-depth exploration of the concept of each number, including different ways it can be represented, where it sits in the sequence of numbers and how it can be changed. NCETM resources based around the Numberblocks programmes are used to help bring each number and mathematical concept to life. Manipulatives used within whole class teaching are available for children to access during child initiated play so that they are able to apply their knowledge and practise mathematical skills. This means that our younger children have a solid foundation, particularly in number to build upon as they move into Key Stage 1.
In Year 1 children spend a significant amount of time on number and place value. They use a range of manipulatives to help further develop a strong sense of the number system building on skills and knowledge from the Early Years. Research into the approach of using concrete apparatus, pictorial representation and then moving on to the abstract (CPA approach) suggests that this is a highly effective way to teach as it develops a deep and sustainable understanding of number. This is important for children to be able to confidently use numbers in different ways. Year 1 also re-visits number over the course of the year, unlike the other year groups, as this is broken down into more manageable stages across the year. This helps ensure that skills are deeply embedded and built upon over time.
We believe in the pedagogy behind using the concrete, pictorial and abstract approach in our mathematics teaching because it develops a deep and sustainable understanding of maths for our children. Our children regularly use manipulatives in class to aid them to apply their knowledge and skills. This then means that they can model and imagine these manipulatives and in turn they can move on to the next developmental stage of drawing the pictorial representation or ‘jotting’ to help them solve problems with increasing independence, speed and fluency. Once children are confident in using manipulatives and applying this to the pictorial representation we move onto using written number so that the children can make connections and have a greater understanding of number.
To coherently plan sequenced lessons teachers follow the White rose long term plan, as mentioned above. Maths lessons at COPA use the 3 phase approach to Maths: Knowledge, Application and Reasoning. The children are taught skills within lessons which they rehearse (knowledge phase), apply (application phase) and then use to show true mastery of them (reasoning phase) whilst also using the CPA approach. Teachers ensure that children have access to manipulatives within lessons to develop their knowledge of number and other mathematical facts in a context that allows them to develop their basic mathematical knowledge. Within this phase we also introduce children to the pictorial representations and abstract number so that children are fluent in their knowledge before we move them on to the next phase. We ensure children are secure in this before moving onto the application phase as this is where children will need to use their newly learnt skills confidently. The application phase is where children will apply their skills in context and can have more choice over methods used to solve the problems they have been given. By the reasoning phase we expect children to be able to use these skills with ease so that they can focus on explaining their answers and understand that problems can be solved in different ways. Some of the ways we introduce reasoning opportunities is through convince me cards, stem sentences, prove it questions and explaining why answers are right or wrong.
A range of manipulatives are used within lessons to support children including base 10, counters, bead strings and numicon. Our teachers carefully select what manipulatives will effectively develop the children’s skills and knowledge as well as on some occasions giving the children agency to pick what they feel would support them the best. Through the use of talk partners, group work and whole class discussion, we are developing the children’s oral confidence by encouraging them to answer all questions in Maths lessons in full sentences so that they can make connections between concepts which in turn helps children to retain knowledge. Encouraging children to talk in full sentences in lessons is scaffolded by sentence starters and stem sentences that the teachers carefully plan into the sessions and feeds into how the children record the reasoning into their books. We want our children to feel safe to make mistakes and therefore the children can build upon what their peers say in class around their maths and equally challenge one another.
When children are working independently, teachers and TA’s will be supporting children to address misconceptions or those that need to be moved on sooner. These children are identified through live marking. As children complete answers the children’s work is marked and if their answers are incorrect they will attempt to correct it in their purple pen. If a child is still struggling to understand a skill this is where we will provide additional support in class and the children may be noted for an additional intervention that afternoon (Response to Maths). Verbal feedback is given to all children throughout the lesson which is in line with our schools feedback policy and the children are aware that this is how they will receive their feedback. Those children that are confident in using strategies to practice the skill and have proven that they understand the knowledge part of the lesson can be moved onto the application phase sooner to give them more opportunities to develop their reasoning skills.
Children are encouraged to refer to the class working walls to scaffold learning and talk to their partners to develop independent working and allow children to foster a confidence and love of Maths. Regular plenaries are used within lessons to address any misconceptions and if needed lessons are adapted throughout to meet the needs of all pupils. Where appropriate sequences of lessons are adapted and teachers are encouraged to either slow down and take more time on a topic by breaking it down into smaller steps to allow children to consolidate their knowledge or fill gaps. Equally if we find that children are confident on a certain topic, teachers are again encouraged to adapt their sequences of lessons to allow for children to be moved on with purpose so children are active learners who are always developing their knowledge and skills to allow for them to meet the national expectations for their end of year targets (or their personal targets if working below the expected level).
At COPA we encourage children to complete maths homework to consolidate their learning and provide extra practice opportunities to commit their learning to their long term memory. In Year 1 children are subscribed to an online learning platform called Maths Seeds where weekly homework is set. Children are also encouraged to spend time completing other activities to help improve their maths fluency. For the rest of the school from Year 2, children have access to Mathletics, another online learning platform where their homework is set. Children are encouraged to complete live challenges on here. We support children’s learning of times tables through the use of Times Tables Rock Stars, in KS2. Our aim is for all children to have a secure knowledge of multiplication facts and use this to support other parts of their learning in Maths. This way children can make links and spot patterns in their learning. Children are able to use the programme both at school and at home.
Through our teaching and assessment of Maths there is both immediate and long term impact. In EYFS, the children are confident to talk about their Maths learning, can verbally explain their reasoning and can hold a coherent conversation with their peers or adults about their learning. The children have a clear enjoyment of Maths and enjoy seeing the numbers come to life each lesson. This confidence of Maths and love of learning is then nurtured and developed as the children progress through the school.
Our delivery of Maths at KS1 and KS2 at COPA allows children to be confident in lessons and can be seen to use appropriate methods and strategies (such as manipulatives, pictorial and written methods) independently. This is reflected in the children’s Maths books where evidence of the CPA approach can be seen. This then feeds into their reasoning tasks which shows when the children have mastered the skills and knowledge taught within lessons.
When considering our long term impact of teaching and learning at COPA we focus on both end of year targets as well as their end of key stage targets. We strive for our children to reach age expectations at the end of their current academic year as well as their key stage. This includes the end of KS1 and KS2 statutory assessments as well as the year 4 multiplication check (supported by the use of TT Rockstars). We also think forward to ensuring that our children are well prepared for the secondary Maths curriculum.
At the end of EYFS the percentage of children achieving at least the expected standard in number at the end of 2019 was 88%.
At the end of KS1 80% of children achieved at least the expected standard in Maths in 2019, with 18% achieving greater depth.