At Quest Primary we believe that a quality maths curriculum should focus on the aims of the National Curriculum; fluency, reasoning and problem solving. We believe that a secure basis in maths is crucial to ensure a high-quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully in society.
We hope the impact of our curriculum will be that children develop a deep, conceptual, sustainable understanding of mathematics. In order to do this, the implementation of our curriculum is based upon active participation. Children have plentiful experiences to do the maths. Through using a range of appropriate concrete, pictorial and abstract representations, children’s experiences support good engagement and understanding. Consistent modelling of high-quality maths talk during lessons by adults encourages children to also talk which is a central tenet of progression and attainment in primary maths. Doing so also supports the development of maths-specific vocabulary which is important to enable access to the curriculum, as well as providing children with the tools to explain their thinking.
We understand the importance of children having a bank of known facts to automaticity and are committed to developing their fluency. Through drawing links, pattern spotting, understanding inverse relationships and focussing on a key mathematical skill of noticing, children are supported to learn facts ranging from 1+1 to 10×10. Times Tables Rock Stars is a very popular platform which children can use at home and in school to develop recall of their multiplication tables, alongside inverse division facts.
Children are encouraged to use their facts to calculate efficiently. We aim to develop children’s number sense so that they are able to reason about the most appropriate method for any given calculation. This is a key mathematical skill which we aim to develop alongside others including conjecturing, working systematically and visualising.
Having a mathematical mindset is important for our children. In order to develop a positive attitude towards maths and a sincere belief that all children can attain well, teachers regularly use mistakes as learning experiences. They praise a process rather than a product, so may provide the answer and ask children to show how it was reached. Effort and ideas are prioritised in order to minimise anxiety around maths which can be a huge barrier to attainment. Depth is valued over speed and open questions value individual contributions and enable children to show their thinking.
Maths teaching at Quest Primary is structured by significant topic blocks of approximately 3 weeks. This allows a topic to be taught in depth and provides time for all children to work towards age-related expectations. As each topic is generally taught once each year, regular flashbacks are scheduled to ensure previously taught knowledge is sustained. These may form part of a daily maths lesson, but may also occur at another point in the school day. Teachers regularly maximise opportunities for maths across the school day to both demonstrate its application and provide practice.
Lesson sequences themselves build progressively towards an end of block assessment and include a number of opportunities for oral rehearsal and skill development. Children record in maths books to promote a high level of pride and presentation and to act as a working book, which they can refer back to throughout their sequence of learning. In the case of practical activities, photos will be taken as a record.
Regular assessment and review ensures that teachers are able to quickly identify particular individual needs and adapt lessons accordingly. Sequencing within a block and medium-term planning are also informed by ongoing formative and summative assessment. Teaching aims to start from where the children are and through a range of small steps, work towards all children attaining age-related expectations. Teachers use a range of tools in order to guide their planning. The National Curriculum, The Collegiate Trust Maths Framework and the DfE priority objectives are used in conjunction to identify the key concepts that children need to know in-order to make progress. White Rose resources are used as a tool to facilitate children’s learning and may be used alongside other high-quality resources such as low threshold, high ceiling activities from NRich.
Parents/carers are supported in learning how to best support their children with their maths at home through workshops where they have the opportunity to work alongside their child. Further, regular communications suggest ideas that can be used at home to support children’s progress. These can have great impact as they provide the short, frequent practice that can support fluency, as well as demonstrating to children the application of maths in the real world.