Mathematics is all around us; it is an important part of the world in which we live and to function in society we need to be able to think and communicate mathematically.
At Heber, we believe that it is our responsibility to find the right path to success for every student, so that they become passionate, resilient, creative and confident mathematicians. Building a solid understanding of the foundations of Maths is essential to building skill in problem solving both within and beyond the mathematical world. We believe that encouraging children to be mathematically observant helps children to form their own generalisations, and that this should be achieved by providing children with the correct mathematical language so they can express their reasoning clearly.
How do we teach Maths at Heber?
In order to achieve our intent, we regularly revisit number and calculation skills in weekly fluency lessons throughout the year, and where relevant, as warm ups in Maths lessons. This enables children to embed long term learning of each year group’s arithmetic expectations. Alongside this approach, we have developed a rich mathematical mastery curriculum that is accessible to everyone, but at the same time insists on challenge for all.
Under the guidance of the teacher, children take ownership of their learning by choosing either to embed their understanding of a concept where needed, or deepen their understanding through challenging problem solving and reasoning tasks at all levels, choosing bronze, silver or gold tasks to reflect their stage of learning.
Concepts are taught using concrete, pictorial and abstract representations in order deepen conceptual understanding, whilst allowing faster learners to 'go deeper' before moving onto new concepts. Teachers respond astutely to children’s needs in lessons by addressing misconceptions at the point of learning and providing children with opportunities to take their learning further, including outside of the lesson time itself. This ensures progress for all children is optimised, irrespective of their starting point.
Opportunities to reason (talk about) maths are essential to consolidating children's conceptual understanding of mathematical concepts, and at Heber we support all children in their use accurate mathematical vocabulary.
The National Curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:
- Become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time. They should develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately. This is an in which we strongly value the support of parents and carers and includes skills such as times tables, number bonds, and calculation for the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division).
- Reason mathematically by following a line of inquiry, 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.
The main areas in the programme of study for mathematics are called domains. These are number (including ratio and proportion and algebra), measurement, geometry and statistics. Each area is divided into subdomains. The way that the curriculum is organised varies across the primary age range – every year group has a unique combination of domains and subdomains.
At Heber we follow the White Rose Scheme of Learning, which provides a termly plan for each year group from Year 1 to Year 6. Each term is split into twelve weeks. In addition to the yearly overviews below, children access a weekly fluency lesson. This ensures students build their fluency, revisiting the fundamentals of mathematics throughout the year, as number sense will affect their success in other areas of mathematics. Students who are successful with number are much more confident mathematicians.
We supplement our curriculum with resources from the NCETM's Curriculum Prioritisation Materials.
At Heber we recognise the importance of establishing a secure conceptual understanding of a a topic before introducing more formal methods and representation. In order to support the teaching of our ‘challenge curriculum’,’ we have implemented the CPA approach (concrete-pictorial-abstract):
- Each skill or concept is first modelled with concrete materials (e.g. unifix cubes, base ten blocks, beans and bean sticks, pattern blocks).
- The mathematical concept or skill is next modelled at the representational level which involves drawing pictures that represent the concrete objects previously used (e.g. tallies, dots, circles, stamps that imprint pictures for counting)
- The mathematical concept/skill is finally modeled at the abstract level (using only numbers and mathematical symbols).
Accurate mathematical vocabulary is an essential tool that support children's understanding of mathematical concepts and their ability to reason about them. Once embedded, using such vocabulary can free up working memory space in order for children to reason more freely about their mathematical thinking. When learning about the four operations, we encourage the us of the following vocabulary:
A further document with vocabulary you may find useful at home can be found here.
At Heber we value strong partnerships with parents and carers. As a result, we put on a number of parent workshops designed to help parents support children in their learning. We also make use of online learning platforms (Mathletics and Times Tables Rockstars) in order to further foster a love for learning beyond the classroom and to give parents a better idea of what the children are learning about in their lessons:
Mathletics is a powerful learning resource which, when used regularly*, has a significant impact on every child’s progress and attainment. Your child has access to Mathletics at home and school through a unique username and password which is given to them by their class teacher. The class teacher can set activities to support home learning that your child can complete online using a computer or tablet. These activities are directly linked to the maths learning in class and should be completed with the aid of writing equipment in order for children to calculate answers if needed.
Parents and carers can sign up for a parent account at: www.mathletics.co.uk/parents. This will allow you to receive weekly progress reports about your child’s use of Mathletics and see where they are spending their time, their strengths and areas to work on.
(*Regular use is defined as students completing 3 or more curriculum activities per week which can equate to as little as 20 minutes. It is recommended that 5 minutes is spent on ‘Mathletics live’ for their mental maths skills and then 15 minutes on curriculum activities)’
Times Tables Rockstars
This online learning platform for times tables is a favourite with the children! Children are provided with unique log in details and can customise their rock avatar before using online games, printables and interactive tools to deepen their conceptual understanding of times tables and develop quick recall of times table facts. The times tables questions each child is presented with can be customised in order to give our children the best chance of making progress in this area of fluency. In addition, a fortnightly ‘Battle of the Bands’ pitches year group classes against each other, with results shared and celebrated in our weekly merit assembly. Children who improve their recall are also celebrated as their ‘Rock Status’ develops over time.
Maths home learning is set weekly on a Friday and includes the following:
- A paper based number bonds task (Year 1) or a paper based times tables task (Years 2-6).
- A fluency task linked to the previous week’s learning (through Mathletics or paper based).
Please encourage your child to complete both tasks. It is particularly important that children are meeting age-related expectations with regards to times tables, as so much of the maths curriculum depends on fluency in this area. Please contact your class teacher for any home learning queries.
Assessment and Interventions
Teachers make regular use of assessment within lessons in order to inform each child’s pathway through a lesson, reacting to needs and facilitating progress. The result of this is continual progress for all. In addition to this, children who find it difficult to understand a concept first time round access same day intervention, allowing them to 'keep up', without relying on having to 'catch up' further down the line.
Because all children learn differently and progress at varying rates throughout their time in school, we also make use of summative assessments (end of unit or end of term assessments). These assessments help us to identify children whose progress may have begun to plateau. We then make use of consultation with the pupil's teacher, as well as a deeper analysis of their learning to date in order to inform narrowly focused and impactful interventions that keep children from falling behind.
Children undergo half termly times tables assessments from Year 2, at the point which the tables are introduced through our curriculum. This prepares children for their statutory times tables assessment in Year 4, and is used to inform teaching of the tables moving forward. Progress is celebrated and recorded internally at the school. There are four assessments your child might complete half termly depending on where they are in their learning journey:
|Assessment||Number of Questions||Times Tables||Time Limit|
|Bronze||48||2, 3, 4, 5, 10||10 mins|
|Silver||95||Bronze plus 6, 7, 8, 9, (with related division facts)||8 mins|
|Gold||95||Silver plus 11 and 12 (with squares, square roots and related division facts)||6 mins|
|Platinum||95||Gold plus extending into decimal facts and multiples of 10 (e.g. 2 x 0.3, and 2 x 30)||5 mins|
A link to our Times Tables Policy can be found here.
Our calculation policy for the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) can be found here.