Goat Lees Maths Curriculum

Mastery approach in teaching Mathematics at Goat Lees Primary School

At Goat Lees Primary School, we have taken a new approach to our teaching of Mathematics called “Teaching for Mastery in Mathematics”. If you would like to read our rationale as to why we teach in the way that we do, please click here.

Why are we using this approach?
Mastery of Maths means a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject of Maths.
This way of learning is something that we want pupils to acquire, so a ‘mastery Maths curriculum’ aims to help pupils, over time, acquire mastery of the subject.
There a number of elements which will help children develop mastery of Maths;
• fluency (rapid and accurate recall and application of facts and concepts)
• a growing confidence to reason mathematically
• the ability to apply Maths to solve problems and to test hypotheses
Mastery of Maths, is a tool for life, and immeasurably more valuable than the short term ability to answer questions in tests or exams.

Some key features of this approach:
The first real difference in this approach is that of moving away from labelling pupils as ‘high ability’ or ‘low ability’. Children will no longer be given different tasks in a lesson.

Another is the approach itself which will reduce the amount of mathematical topics handled in a year. We will now take longer over each mathematical topic (shape, measure, addition etc.) so that early understanding is cemented deeply within each child.

There will be a significant amount of time devoted to developing basic number concepts. This is to build up children’s fluency as number awareness will affect their success in other areas of mathematics. Children who are successful with number are much more confident mathematicians.

We will take on the ‘ping pong’ style of lesson which is how the teacher creates a coherent journey throughout the lesson. This will involve teacher input, followed by a talk task with a partner and then activities to complete including greater depth challenges. There will then be more teacher input, followed by a talk task and further activities. This approach builds up the learning step by step to plug any gaps in the children’s knowledge, act as a recap for previous learning and ensure all children fully understand the concepts being taught.

Teaching for Mastery
A mastery approach to teaching and learning has been designed to support the aims and objectives of the National Curriculum.
A mastery approach:
• has number at its heart. A large proportion of time is spent reinforcing number to build competency
• ensures students have the opportunity to stay together as they work through the curriculum as a whole group.
• Sets many challenges to extend pupils, ensuring that a depth and breadth of each key concept is gained.
• provide plenty of time to build reasoning and problem solving elements into the curriculum.
Concrete – Pictorial – Abstract
All students, when introduced to a key new concept within Maths, will have the opportunity to build competency in this topic by taking the approach Concrete – Pictorial – Abstract, described below.

• Concrete – children will have the opportunity to use concrete objects and manipulatives to help them understand what they are doing.
• Pictorial – children will then build on this concrete approach by using pictorial representations. These representations can then be used to reason and solve problems.
• Abstract – with the foundations firmly laid, children will be able to move to an abstract approach using numbers and key concepts with confidence.

As a school we believe that all students can succeed in Mathematics. We do not believe that there are children who can do Maths and those that can’t. A positive growth mindset for mathematics and strong subject knowledge are key to children’s success in mathematics.
Our calculation policy has also been updated in line with our new approach to Mathematics.

We are using many sources to plan and deliver the Maths lessons including White Rose Mastery materials and Maths No Problem. These resources give the children the opportunity to understand concepts in a variety of formats and deepen their understanding through the use of reasoning and problem solving tasks.
We are using the '21 steps' to assess where the children are at in their maths learning as well as giving the children progress checks throughout the year to see what they are retaining. This clarifies which interventions are needed across the school to ensure all children are succeeding in maths.

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