At St Mary's we believe that in order for children to be successful in adult life they need to have a good understanding of our number system. In Years R -6 we teach maths daily.Teachers plan their lessons from the 2014 curriculum which is direct guidance from the government. The curriculum has an emphasis on children reasoning with numbers and so we are working on including regular reasoning activities to allow the children to think for themselves and apply their skills. This means we want children not just to find answers, but to say how they find them and why it's correct - or indeed why someone else's answer is not correct. Lots of proving, justifying and explaining pays huge dividends in children's vocabulary and understanding of concepts. The answer is just the beginning!. This is known as 'Teaching for Mastery', going into great depth on something which may appear on the surface to be rather simple. For example - we might spend a lot of time showing how 'quarter' can be represented in so many different ways (shape/word/line/amount/number etc.) - but then we also show what is 'not a quarter'. Showing what something 'is not' is hugely important and creates the most wonderful discussion and explanations from the children.
Here is a short video which might show what we mean about deep learning of something you might think is quite simple - you might be surprised at the advanced language used at such a young age...
There is infinite depth to go into with any strand or question in mathematics. By promoting deep discussion and plenty of opportunities to represent the maths in different ways, the children's understanding becomes so much richer and more likely to be remembered for future learning and for making connections with other areas of maths. Miss Taft (Y5) is a Primary Mathematics Specialist Teacher and a Professional Development Accredited Leader for the NCETM (National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics). She works with the Salop and Herefordshire Maths Hub to run workgroups and CPD on Teaching For Mastery for primary teachers in this area of the country.
Wherever possible we try to promote mathematics and encourage children to use their understanding of number not just in numeracy lessons but in other curriculum areas. This way, children develop the ability to solve problems through decision-making and reasoning in a range of context and understand the importance of mathematics in everyday life. The more experience children have to talk about numbers in real life contexts, the better they understand maths at school. Supermarkets are a fantastic way to involve your child in counting the fruit and vegetables into a bag, weighing them or calculating the cost.
We know that mental maths is a key skill that enables children to access many other areas of numeracy and so we dedicate regular time to teach the children their times tables. We use a range of strategies to learn times tables, often game based (eg Funkey Maths cards in Y3 and Y4) creating and making those number facts as well as chanting them in rote-fashion. Please continue to practise times tables at home - it is a vital skill. Remember, lots of these facts are already learned in a previous tables - they just need swapping around - so do draw attention to those. There are many websites and apps now for your child to have fun learning their tables so do encourage these as part of their screen-time.
Our written calculation policy to this page so you can see the methods we use to teach written calculation but if you would like any other information about how maths is taught here at St Mary's please come and have a chat with Miss Taft - Year 5 teacher and Maths Coordinator.