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Mathematics Curriculum Overviews

Click on the buttons below to see mathematics overviews for each class. If you would like more information about our mathematics curriculum or a paper copy, please follow the link to our contacts page.


Mathematics Rationale

“Studying mathematics stimulates curiosity, fosters creativity and equips children with the skills they need in life beyond school.” NC2013

“It is important to approach Maths only in a spirit of curiosity and discovery...” Shakuntala Devi

 “If you want to build high, you better first dig deep!” Tony Gardiner

Mathematics in our own words

At Carlton Hill Primary School mathematics is about:

  • enjoyment, curiosity and discovery
  • learning the skills needed in everyday life
  • developing skills that support other areas of the curriculum

To remind ourselves of that we are striving to celebrate the wonder of maths and understand its importance in everyday life, when we talk about mathematics with children we say: “Mathematics is about making discoveries and learning skills that are important in everyday life.” Our aim is to help children understand number relationships, spot patterns and make generalisations.  We believe in a multi-sensory approach to teaching mathematics. We use concrete materials and visual representations to expose mathematical concepts (making them less abstract) and to help children communicate their ideas, and we also use precise language wherever possible. We believe that through effort, all pupils are capable of understanding, doing and improving at mathematics.

What is your approach to teaching maths?

Over recent years we have been learning about the ‘teaching for mastery’ approach. We understand that mastery of anything – playing an instrument, speaking a new language – takes time. So if we consider mastery of addition, children start learning to add in early years and keep developing these skills over many years, from single digit numbers, to multi-digit numbers, then decimals, then fractions, then negatives and eventually addition in different units (such as time calculations: 35 minutes after 12:45pm). We break the journey down into small steps, spending time carefully considering each. Gradually we move towards mastery where children are fluent in the unfamiliar and can apply their skills in any new situation.

How is your maths curriculum organised?

The fundamental idea behind our curriculum is to support children to be able to perform simpler tasks so they can then move on to perform more complex tasks (we cannot expect pupils to add two numbers together before they understand what each individual number represents). Each year is split into three terms, and each term comprises individual blocks of learning about a particular topic. Each block of knowledge is divided into a series of small learning steps. By learning maths in small, related chunks, we think children will remember more.

Our maths curriculum is designed to give children the opportunity to revist skills that have already been learnt in different contexts (sometimes called ‘interleaving’). This helps our children to remember and to make connections between different parts of the curriculum. For example, in Year 3, after the ‘Addition and Subtraction’ block, pupils will revisit and practice these skills again through the following blocks: ‘Multiplication and Division’; ‘Money’; ‘Length and Perimeter’ and ‘Mass and Capacity’. Later, these skills are built on and extended in Year 4 and beyond. Revisiting and reinforcing are important in our maths curriculum. We use the ‘White Rose Maths’ materials to sequence National Curriculum objectives across the school.

Do you recognise the benefits and potential pitfalls of following a scheme of learning?

We believe that the best teachers (in any subject) have a secure personal understanding of what they are teaching. Whilst the White Rose Schemes of Learning can reduce teacher workload by providing high quality resources, we expect our teachers to take time to understand the materials they are using and to actively use formative assessment to inform how these materials are used and adapt them to suit the needs of their class.

Children’s needs should dictate the pace of learning. We understand that children learn at different rates at different times. Therefore, within our whole-class lessons, we also think carefully about how to provide appropriate challenge for all learners. We do not expect there to be a slavish following of the scheme to arrive at a certain point by a certain moment. A confident teacher, empowered by a good scheme of learning, will be able to direct class learning without feeling a need to rush; the teacher should move on only when the class is ready.

How does your mathematics curriculum support pupils with SEND?

This will depend on individuals’ needs. Pupils with SEND are not always low attainers, so for some it will be the usual curriculum with additional resources suitable for meeting their particular needs. We always strive to know our individual children and their needs well enough to define what is ambitious for each child, and what measures we need to put in place to help pupils meet these goals.

We agree with the mastery principle that pupils should broadly move through the curriculum at the same pace. As far as possible, pupils should stay together on the same topic with necessary differentiation such as removing barriers and providing targeted support, but without the need for many different levels of work for every single step. We often use ‘low threshold, high ceiling tasks’ that support this approach to differentiation together with reasoning and problem solving questions that will challenge all pupils.

We encourage all learners, including those with SEND, to use concrete and pictorial representations as a regular part of maths practice. We have been working on this style of teaching for many years (and in all year groups).

We use a 'Maths Weekly Overview Grid' to plan for any groups or individuals that may need different provision.

How do you use the White Rose materials at Carlton Hill Primary school?

After trialling the materials for a term, our teaching team agreed on the following approach for using White Rose materials. Here is a summary of our approach:

  • Begin by looking at the schemes of learning. Be clear about the key skill you are aiming to teach. What concept do you want children to leave the lesson with?
  • Use formative assessment and adapt the existing resources to meet the needs of your class.
  • Reduce content, use short teaching inputs and allow children plenty of time to try tasks and demonstrate their understanding.
  • Don’t be slave to the scheme! Use other things that you know work and that children enjoy.
  • Plan for children to be active learners. What manipulatives will you use? We are skilled teachers, not slide show presenters!
  • Plan for other adults in your classroom.
  • ‘Challenge for all!’ How will you provide for children with SEND? How will you enable low attainers and challenge high attainers? Show this on your weekly overview.
  • Explicitly teach children how to present and record their maths work using the visualiser. Avoid over-reliance on worksheets.

What is the impact of our mathematics curriculum?

We believe that through spending longer on topics to help gain deeper understanding, and then revisiting ideas again and again in different contexts, helps our children develop their understanding of mathematics. We assess the effectiveness of our curriculum in the following ways.

Ongoing teacher assessment

Using the small steps structure, progression documents and the assessments described below helps our teachers to identify gaps and adjust teaching accordingly. At the start of a block of teaching we use ‘recap’ lessons to assess if children need more reinforcement of a concept before progressing. Through ‘live marking’, we can quickly if a child is struggling and we can enable them with precise use of resources and support.

End of block assessments

Once per term during autumn and spring, we use end of block assessments to review what has been learnt and to inform the pace at which we progress onto new skills. In line with the KS1 and KS2 SATs, a consistent score of approximately 55% would indicate ‘Expected’ and 85% would indicate ‘Greater Depth’. These assessments help inform our judgements and inform decisions about interventions for individuals or groups of learners.

Summer term assessment

During summer term we use a summative assessment and then we use the data from this formatively. The summative assessment gives a snapshot of the attainment in each class. The maths team use question analysis to identify where the curriculum is having most impact and where the curriculum needs to be developed. This information is shared with teachers to inform planning.

Self-assessment and peer assessment

Our pupils are given opportunities to assess their knowledge and skills as each block progresses.

Pupil voice

All of our subject leaders are given time to listen to pupils from across the school to discuss their given subjects.

What are the inspirations for our mathematics curriculum?

As mentioned above, we adapt materials created by White Rose Maths, an organisation that has been helping schools in the UK to improve maths education. However, we do not use any scheme exclusively because we seek the best possible materials available for each maths concept. Our teachers are members of the NCETM (National Centre for Excellence in the teaching of Mathematics) and we regularly use their materials for teaching and training, in particular the 'Ready to Progress' resources that enable a teacher to prioritise key concepts before moving on. We have also been inspired by the multi-sensory Numicon Approach. This approach helped us understand that having the right resources available can help children and teachers communicate their ideas.

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