Maths at Rolls Crescent
"Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty."
Bertrand Russell (mathematician and philosopher)
“Good numeracy is the best protection against unemployment, low wages and poor health.”
Andreas Schleicher (OECD)
At Rolls Crescent, we appreciate the power and wonder of maths. Maths can help us to make sense of the world around us and is a powerful tool for social mobility.
Basic maths is essential for everyday life, as well as the key skills required in the workplace. We believe every child has the right to develop their full potential in order to become a numerate adult. Decisions in life are so often based on numerical information, whether it be as consumers making financial decisions (from food shopping on a budget to buying a mortgage), patients understanding health information, or as citizens making sense of statistics and economics in the news; in order to make the best choices, we need to be numerate. For that reason, we aim to instil a love and curiosity for maths in all our learners, from the EYFS though to Year 6. Furthermore, we aim to teach maths in a way which ensures progression in the subject knowledge of all learners.
Across all year groups, we are fully committed to a Teaching for Mastery approach in our maths, which we have been pursuing for several years and continue to refine and improve.
Our maths curriculum is fundamentally built on the concrete-pictorial-abstract approach to teaching (CPA) and involves a combination of child-led exploration paired with high quality teacher instruction, leading learners through carefully sequenced, coherent steps in order to reach up to and beyond age-related expectations. We achieve this using high quality schemes of learning, evidence-based approaches and collaborative teacher CPD, with a focus on developing pedagogical subject knowledge.
In the EYFS, we follow the White Rose scheme of learning using a combination of teacher-led input and carefully designed guided tasks and child-led learning opportunities within continuous provision. This starts with a focus on pre-number skills, going on to develop a deep understanding of numbers up to 10 and numerical patterns. We have found this approach prepares our pupils well for the expectations of the National Curriculum in Year 1. In September 2021, we will be moving to the new EYFS framework for which we feel well prepared.
In KS1 and KS2, we follow the Maths No Problem schemes of learning using high quality textbooks. The MNP Primary Textbook Series is fully aligned with the national curriculum and is one of only two textbooks approved by the Department for Education. This ensures that the maths curriculum our pupils receive at Rolls Crescent is at least as ambitious as the National Curriculum, in some places even exceeding it. For example, accessing complex multi-step word problems through use of the bar model, such as the one below:
Maths lessons at Rolls Crescent are based on a five-part model (KS1 and upwards):
- In Focus task (exploring a problem collaboratively)
- Journaling (teacher-led or child-led)
- Let’s Learn (teacher-led)
- Guided practice (in pairs)
- Workbook (independent practice)
The MNP Primary Maths Series is founded on the internationally-recognised research of expert educational theorists such as Piaget, Dienes, Bruner, Skemp and Vygotsky, and has been tested and refined over the last 30 years in Singapore.
In tandem with these high-quality schemes of learning, we also actively foster growth mindsets in all our pupils, particularly in the context of maths. We find this approach works well for our pupils, as evidenced by the overwhelming proportion of our children who exhibit positive and resilient attitudes towards maths in their lessons, as well as in pupil voice questionnaires.
Both White Rose and MNP are progression-model curricula, meaning that they are designed so that connections can be made to prior knowledge, which is then built-on systematically from lesson to lesson, unit to unit, year group to year group. Pupils make clear and inherent progress in their mathematical subject knowledge by being led successfully through these carefully sequenced, coherent steps.
We encourage teachers to explore cross-curricular links with maths to enrich learning wherever appropriate. There is an expectation that there will be one cross-curricular link to recently taught maths content per half-term (this could take the form of a lesson or an stand-alone activity). We also promote visits by maths specialists, such as our regular problem-solving roadshow run by Loreto VIth form students and the follow-up group sessions they lead with pupils in school. Lastly, we encourage teachers to identify links between maths content and topic-led visits (such as visiting the counting house at Quarry Bank Mill in Year 5, working with ration books at Stockport Air Raid Shelters in Year 6 etc).
In classrooms, our maths working walls aim to help learners make cognitive connections with new learning using the Connective Model (Cockburn and Haylock):
Students can under perform in mathematics because they find it boring or they can't remember all the rules.
The Singapore method of teaching mathematics develops pupils' conceptual ability and mathematical confidence without having to resort to memorising procedures to pass tests - making mathematics more engaging and interesting. The emphasis is on comprehension and not on rote learning.
Inherent in all Singapore approaches to teaching mathematical concepts is the progression from concrete materials to visual representations, before finally progressing to abstract representations.
In all the material you will find that the teaching focuses on the use of three core competencies: Visualisation, Finding Patterns, and Mental Strategies.
Despite it’s name, the Singapore approach is more accurately rooted in the work of a wide range of longstanding, international educational psychologists (namely Bruner, Skemp and Dienes). Singapore Maths has consistently produced a world-class level of achievement for years. It has been extremely successful in producing a consistently high level of maths comprehension which has been substantiated by international studies such as TIMSS and PIRLS.