“Mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical thoughts.”
At Rufforth, we intend for our maths curriculum to inspire children to master the skills and knowledge needed to solve real life problems. We make mathematics a positive, enjoyable learning experience through which the children understand the importance of maths in their everyday lives.
We believe that it is vital for all our pupils to make sense of the patterned and numerical world around them. We aim to provide pupils a secure understanding of number, place value, the 4 operations, fractions, geometry, measure and statistics, to enable them to solve real life problems. We encourage our pupils to ask questions, make relationships between numbers and approach problem solving in creative ways.
Teaching for mastery is at the heart of the maths curriculum at Rufforth. We believe that all children have the potential to succeed therefore they should all have opportunities to deepen their conceptual understanding by tackling challenging and varied problems. We are part of the Yorkshire Ridings Maths Hub and are currently working at the ‘Sustaining Mastery’ level to develop maths leaders within school and ultimately improve outcomes for children.
Five Big Ideas in Teaching for Mastery
A central component in the NCETM/Maths Hubs programmes has been discussion of Five Big Ideas, drawn from research evidence, underpinning teaching for mastery:
Coherence: Connecting new ideas to concepts that have already been understood, and ensuring that, once understood and mastered, new ideas are used again in next steps of learning, all steps being small steps
Representation and Structure: Representations used in lessons expose the mathematical structure being taught, the aim being that students can do the maths without recourse to the representation
Mathematical Thinking: If taught ideas are to be understood deeply, they must not merely be passively received but must be worked on by the student: thought about, reasoned with and discussed with others
Fluency: Quick and efficient recall of facts and procedures and the flexibility to move between different contexts and representations of mathematics
Variation: Varying the way a concept is initially presented to students, by giving examples that display a concept as well as those that don’t display it. Also, carefully varying practice questions so that mechanical repetition is avoided, and thinking is encouraged.
In addition to daily maths lessons, children are given cross curricular opportunities where appropriate. We make positive links to science, design technology, computing and problem solving. This strengthens the children’s use of maths in practical everyday situations and brings the curriculum to life.
To inspire and engage pupils, we also subscribe to Times Tables Rock Stars, Numbots and IXL, which children can access both at home and in school.
Our Calculation Policy sets out how we develop an understanding of key number concepts from Early Years Foundation Stage through to year 6 and the written methods that are used to support calculation.
It is encouraged that children use mental methods when appropriate but for calculations that they cannot do in their heads, they choose an appropriate written method which they can use accurately and with confidence.
It is important to us at Rufforth that children do not simply rote learn procedures but demonstrate their understanding of these procedures through the use of concrete materials and pictorial representations.
Our maths curriculum helps children become resilient, respectful and determined. Through high challenge/ low threat tasks, children have the opportunity to work collaboratively, discussing and respecting different opinions and starting points.
Mistakes are an important part of maths. It is through mistake making, combined with sympathetic and varied teaching methods, that children develop their understanding of mathematical concepts as well as wider skills such as confidence and self-esteem.
We ensure the children have a good knowledge of key number facts and understand place value, as this underpins all aspects of mathematical development.
Practical activities form the basis of maths learning in Early Years and Key Stage One, but equally hold a vital place in Key Stage Two maths. As children learn core skills, their fluency and ability to reason develop as they progress through school.
Children are constantly challenged to explain why, to prove how they know, to convince that they are correct or to find all possible outcomes. To facilitate children to know more, remember more and understand more, key concepts run through the wider curriculum and opportunities to revisit previous learning are planned into every lesson.