For the school year 2018 – 2019, all year groups are following the new National Curriculum in Mathematics.
The official documentation, which sets out what children are expected to know in each year group is available in the Programmes of Study.
The aims of this curriculum are to ensure that pupils:
- become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
- reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
- can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.
At Fairfield we use a range of strategies to teach Maths. However, we try to ensure that what we are teaching in Maths is right for the children and ensures that children make good progress and are effectively challenged. We use a range of resources to deliver our Maths curriculum. We are very well resourced and children get consistently good teaching in Maths.
Our children in Years 1 to 6 are enjoying learning mathematics using the Singapore Maths methodology. The system that our teachers use ensures that our children understand and can apply their learning to problem solving. Our children are loving their learning.
Teachers at Fairfield Primary School have been developing a mastery approach for the last two years. Inspired by the exceptional performance of some Southeast Asian countries, school leaders researched the pedagogy and principles of mathematics teaching in Singapore through accessing top quality training from the Deep Learning Hub. The approach has since been implemented at Fairfield Primary School for Years 1-3. Teachers have worked with trainers from Our Lady of Pity (through Deep Learning TSA) to implement the approach in our school.
In classrooms you can expect to see high levels of pupil engagement and involvement. Lessons begin with an interesting and engaging problem to solve and the teacher’s role is to make this accessible to all. Concrete materials (usually in the form of representations or manipulatives) should be used (in virtually every lesson) to support the children’s thinking as they explore. Pupil talk should be encouraged at every opportunity, enabling peer support, challenge and/or refinement of ideas. Through these, learning should be highly visible. Teachers use pupils’ ideas to create a series of class discussions in which all are encouraged to participate, often attempting to see into the minds of those offering the ideas. Different ideas are embraced and discussed. The class will spend a significant length of time reflecting on their own and others ideas: they do this through journaling and exploring the thinking of others as presented in the textbook. Towards the end of each lesson, the children practise what they have learned, usually through a number of examples guided by the teacher and ultimately, independently. The sequence of examples presented in the textbook is usually adhered to, the inbuilt variation enabling the children to practise the same kind of problem in a number of different ways. Differentiation is precise and robust. Struggling learners are mainly supported through concrete materials, peer dialogue and problems that are in real life situations. Gifted learners are challenged from the outset, being asked to prove or justify their ideas, create real-life authentic problems of their own or seek patterns within the problem/concept being explored.
Journals and workbooks are used in most lessons. Journals are used to record children’s thought processes and therefore, conceptual understanding. Once children have had the opportunity to refine their thinking, they are expected to record this using diagrams/drawings, writing and abstract mathematical notation. Teachers’ expectations of journals should be high, as should independence levels. Additional expectations of gifted mathematicians should be overt. Workbooks should be used to record children’s independent practice. You may find teachers asking children to annotate their work, explore further or write similar problems of their own.
Lesson planning is different from lesson design. The textbook has lessons that have been designed by experts. The teachers’ role is to bring the lesson to life for the children. As such, mathematics planning should demonstrate that the teacher has understood the lesson, identifying the key learning outcome(s), any particular barriers and opportunities to stretch the gifted mathematicians.
The impact of a mastery session should be visible – the teachers’ planning should identify what the children’s learning should look like (what you expect to hear and see in the room) hence making it straight-forward to evaluate the quality of learning. If for some reason the teacher is unable to progress in the lesson (eg because of a misconception), s/he will take time to address this before moving on. Feedback ‘in the moment’ should help children to address misconceptions. Feedback in lessons is mainly oral, though you may see teachers marking journals and workbooks whilst the children are writing in them. Marking after the lesson is in line with the NCETM guidance – if everything is going as it should, a simple acknowledgement will suffice (eg a tick). If something is wrong, the teacher will recognise it and show the pupil the correct way. An intervention may be necessary. If this intervention involves written methods it will be shown in the journal. If the whole class (or significant part of it) has a misconception the teacher’s planning of tomorrow’s lesson will demonstrate how remediation is to take place and there may no reference to it in individuals’ books.
Years 4 to 6
Currently Years 4 to 6 are working to a mastery approach using the materials from White Rose to aid planning. They include problem solving and reasoning skills built into lessons. In future the plan is for the whole school to use the mastery approach. Training will commence this academic year.
Excellent learning and problem solving in Year 1
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