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Maths is more than a school subject. A solid mathematical knowledge and understanding can be seen in the fields of science, engineering and technology but is an element in most forms of employment, as well as being a crucial part of personal financial literacy and household management. A child’s ability to calculate; apply knowledge; to communicate fluently; to reason and to solve problems mathematically, forms the backbone of their education for life. As the children implement their mathematical skills, they should be able to identify the practical relevance of this subject and be able to apply their knowledge in an ever wider set of familiar and new contexts. Yet, this will only be possible if the children’s appreciation of the subject is also nurtured, such that they gain a sense of enjoyment and a curiosity about maths.
A high-quality mathematics education therefore provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject. (National Curriculum July 2014)
At Emmaus Church of England and Catholic Primary School our intention is to help children:
· enjoy maths through practical activity, exploration and discussion
· understand the importance of mathematics in everyday life
· become confidence and competent with numbers and the number system
· become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics
· develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately
· reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry,
· spot relationships across domains, make generalisations and express an opinion using mathematical language
· solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps
· keep persevering in seeking solutions and be aware that there are often many or even no solution
· develop an appreciation of the creative aspects of maths; awareness of its aesthetic appeal
· see the historic context and present day relevance of mathematics
Maths is a core subject, given significant time on the timetable, with a daily lesson in every class. The school follows the School Improvement Liverpool scheme of work, such that in the first term of each year there is a heavy focus on number, while in the spring and summer terms, the skills that the children have learnt are revised, built upon and applied in the areas of measurement, geometry and statistics. Each area is progressive, with topics from the curriculum and skills identified and built upon year after year. The sequence of calculations in terms of size of number and complexity is also identified by year group. Children learn calculation methods, but then look at the inverse, see these applied in real-life situations, in problems including missing-box questions, and in open ended investigations.
The school purchased the Abacus textbooks for junior classes, but teachers supplement this with materials from other commercial schemes including KeenKite, and online materials such as those produced by Whiterose. This ensures that the children see maths in a wider context, in different formats and in increasingly complex forms. Links are made with other subjects and the maths used cross-curricular, is of an appropriate standard for the age group.
The subject is well resourced with practical materials, and children are expected to learn when and where to use these resources. Plus, they should over time, identify which calculations need a practical tool for support; which should be completed using a formal method; and which should be done mentally or with jottings. Teachers use and emphasise mathematical vocabulary, and link the teaching to real-life situations, wherever possible.
Assessment takes place during every lesson, so that children are moved on quickly; at the end of a topic; and formally each term, to ensure that the children have achieved and continue to achieve. Support and intervention for those who need it, is key in maths lessons, but the children are encouraged to work independently and strategically through their tasks.
Maths lessons should be approximately 50 minutes in length, but an additional 10-15 minutes should be allocated each day to focus on basic skills. This make take place at the start of the day, at the beginning or the end of the maths lesson, or at another convenient point. Weekly or topic plans identify the basic skills that will be targeted, based upon the SIL plans, or the identified needs of the class or year group.
The impact and success of maths teaching is seen in the high scores in test situations; the monitored progress of each child; the positive outcomes of the pupil voice questionnaires and interviews; and the children’s independence in lessons. Mathematical confidence, the ability to take on new challenges and yet draw on previous experience, ensures that the children are ready to face the mathematical realities of everyday life.