Without mathematics, there’s nothing you can do. Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers.
Shakuntala Devi, Indian writer and mental calculator
An introduction from our Maths Leader - Miss Brook
At Longlands, we believe in a mastery approach to the teaching and learning of mathematics. This rests on the belief that all children should enjoy mathematics and experience success; we want the children to have a ‘can-do’ attitude towards mathematics. At Longlands, we aim to develop motivated, creative and resilient mathematicians who can confidently apply what they learn. We do this through using ‘Teaching for Mastery’, NCETM, Classroom Secrets and White Rose Hub.
The children have access to high-quality teaching which provides a foundation for them to see how mathematics can be linked to real life situations, how the skills they learn during their time at Longlands can be used in different contexts and to build an appreciation for the beauty and power of mathematics. It is important to us that children see the relevance of maths and why it is needed in life. We set our children’s learning in context by making the links to real life, and across the curriculum, giving their learning meaning.
Throughout their education at Longlands, the children have the opportunity to develop and embed their conceptual understanding, mathematical thinking and mathematical language skills. We use a concrete, pictorial, abstract approach to help the children embed their understanding and skills. This is developing right through school so even the most confident mathematicians will be able to refer to and use these methods to explain and reason their mathematical ideas and processes. It is also expected that the children are confident to use manipulatives and see these as learning aids for everyone and not just for the lower-attaining children. The children are expected to have a secure and deep understanding of different mathematical concepts. Children are constantly challenged and experience a variety of problems. They do this through independent and collaborative work, where they are given opportunities to explore, adapt and reason their thinking; the children are encouraged to be curious about mathematics. The children are also encouraged to see mistakes as a learning opportunity.
The aim is for all children to become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics so that they develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply their knowledge quickly and accurately. Children at Longlands should then be able to solve problems by applying their knowledge to a variety of problems, including real-life scenarios and unfamiliar contexts. Building upon these skills, children are expected to reason using mathematical language. They are challenged to explain why and to prove how they know.
Children at Longlands also have opportunities to explore mathematics in other ways. Times Tables Rock Stars (TTRS) is used to encourage and support children with their multiplication and division facts. The children’s achievements are celebrated in assembly with weekly certificates, which the children love to receive. The competitive element is enjoyed as the children can challenge themselves to beat their score but also challenge other children and teachers. We participate in Natwest’s Money Sense workshops, where children learn about using money and mathematics in real life situations, such as planning a birthday party or learning whether to spend or save.
We also use mathematics during cookery club, exploring different ways to measure ingredients and how we need to be accurate for the cooking to be successful. NSPCC Number Day is also a fun way to engage the children with maths and raise money for an important charity. The children have the opportunity to dress up in an outfit with a mathematical link and spend the day learning and exploring mathematical concepts or activities. It gives the children the opportunity to see mathematics in a different way.
We measure the children’s progress through termly assessments, end of topic assessments, Year 2 and 6 SATs, book looks, planning and learning walks. The teachers have high expectations and we expect to see mathematical language being used correctly in lessons and in the children’s work. At Longlands, we speak to the children to find out their views of mathematics and the lessons, asking questions about different topics, their confidence and what they love. They are able to articulate the context in which maths is being taught, as well as how it builds on their prior learning.
The Role of Parents
The role of parents does not just mean supporting and facilitating homework. It is vital that parents show a positive attitude towards mathematics and share the need for it in real life with their children. Negative mindsets towards maths can become a barrier to learning for pupils and parents/carers should aim to enthuse their children about the subject. Parents and carers can positively impact their child’s mathematical understanding by engaging with the suggested materials from school and discussing maths with their child.
- Talk positively to their children about their maths learning on a regular basis
- Engage with homework to see what topics are being taught
- Encourage the use and application of the correct vocabulary related to maths topics
- Ensure regular rapid recall of key facts are practised at home (e.g. times tables or number bonds)
- Ensure regular real life maths is drawn attention to (e.g. telling the time, counting objects or steps, recognising numbers on a bus, paying with coins and notes or measuring ingredients while cooking)
- Encourage the practice of new and alternative written methods