Maths at Forest Hall Primary School
Our aim is to equip all pupils with the skills and confidence to solve a range of problems through fluency with numbers and mathematical reasoning. Alongside these key skills, we also strive to instil in our children a love of maths; the ability to see the possibilities and creativity in the maths around us, to be intrigued and to wonder about maths.
At Forest Hall Primary School we are at the beginning of our mastery journey to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics. Using this approach, which involves small steps with varied representations and structures, we are confident that we can build solid foundations from which our pupils can grow as mathematicians.
Our school is part of the Teaching for Mastery two year programme run by Great North Maths Hub. Through attending Teacher Research Groups supported by a Mastery Specialist, we are currently developing our classroom practice based on current recognised pedagogy.
This approach means that lessons and books may look different to the way they looked a few years ago. The three aims of the NC – Fluency, Reasoning and Problem Solving - should be addressed every day.
Whole class together – we teach mathematics to whole classes. Lessons are planned based on formative assessment of what pupils already know and we include all children in learning mathematical concepts. At the planning stage, teachers consider what scaffolding may be required for children who may struggle to grasp concepts in the lesson, and suitable challenge questions for those who may grasp the concepts rapidly. Decisions are not made about who these children may be prior to the lesson.
Longer and deeper – in order to address the aims of the NC, our long/medium term plans have been adjusted to allow longer on topics. Each lesson focus is on one key conceptual idea and connections are made across mathematical topics. To outsiders it may appear that the pace of the lesson is slower, but progress and understanding is deepened. Questions probe pupil understanding throughout and responses are expected using precise mathematical vocabulary.
Difficult areas and possible misconceptions are identified during the planning process and children will be supported through these.
In January 2019 we revised our planning format to reflect the structure and ingredients of a mastery lesson, with a focus on visual representations and questioning.
Fluency - There is a whole school focus on developing an instant recall of key facts, such as number bonds, times tables. However, we recognise that fluency is not just about remembering facts so we develop all aspects of fluency in lessons - accuracy, flexibility and efficiency.
This provides good opportunities for mathematical thinking, reasoning and explaining. Some of this work may be recorded.
Carefully chosen representations (manipulatives and images) are used by all year groups and abilities to explore concepts. These representations will appear in books as children show their understanding.
Teachers use a small steps approach to allow the concepts to be understood by all children.
Teachers use questioning throughout every lesson to check understanding and dig deeper. Children are asked to explain their thinking and errors are valued as an opportunity to clarify misconceptions.
Discussion and feedback – pupils have opportunities to talk to their partners and explain/clarify their thinking throughout the lesson.
Greater depth – Children who grasp concepts quickly are given the opportunity to “go deeper” rather than move into the next year group objectives. Challenge can take a number of forms, e.g. giving or writing a clear explanation of a problem or concept; children devising their own related problem; reversing a problem; finding an alternative solution/method or teaching a friend.
SEN pupils – may be supported by additional adults, different resources, differentiated activities.
Mrs A Tyas