Maths at Fox Hill
Children at Fox Hill follow the Mathematics Mastery programme of learning from Reception through to Year 5, and a combination of Mathematics Mastery, White Rose Maths and other bespoke resources in Year 6.
At Fox Hill, we have adopted a mastery approach to Mathematics in order to deliver the three aims of the National Curriculum, fluency, reasoning and problem solving. Underpinning this pedagogy is a belief that all children can achieve in Maths. We believe in promoting sustained and deepening understanding by employing a variety of mastery strategies, with teaching for conceptual understanding at the heart of everything we do. Our approach aims to provide all children with full access to the curriculum, enabling them to develop independence, confidence and competence – ‘mastery’ in mathematics in order to be independent mathematicians who are well equipped to apply their learning to the wider world.
Children at Fox Hill follow the Mathematics Mastery programme of learning in Reception through to Year 5 and a combination of Mathematics Mastery, White Rose Maths and other bespoke resources in Year 6. We have committed to a Mastery programme, rolling this out to one-year group at a time, year on year, until Mathematics Mastery is the main programme of study across all year groups.
The Mathematics Mastery curriculum is cumulative - each school year begins with focus on the concepts and skills that have the most connections, and this concept is then applied and connected throughout the school year to consolidate learning. This gives pupils the opportunity to ‘master maths’, by using previous learning throughout the school year. These skills are developed by applying the three Dimensions of Depth to teaching and learning:
1. Conceptual understanding
2. Language and communication
3. Mathematical thinking
Problem solving is at the heart of our Mathematics teaching and learning.
These underpin the Mathematics Mastery approach because together they enable pupils to develop a deep understanding in mathematics. If a pupil has a meaningful understanding of the maths they are learning, they will be able to represent it in different ways, use mathematical language to communicate related ideas and think mathematically with the concept. This will enable them to apply their understanding to a new problem in an unfamiliar situation.
We help children to develop their Mathematical language and communication skills by encouraging all pupils to answer mathematical questions in full sentences with a focus on the correct mathematical vocabulary and through the use of sentence stems for mathematical reasoning. Mathematical vocabulary is shared at the start of each lesson with an expectation that this is used during ‘Talk Tasks’ with their peers and throughout the lesson. One of the reasons we explicitly teach mathematical language and insist on all pupils using it in sentences is because of the complexity of the language required to be a competent and confident mathematician. Mathematics has a precise formal language, which is distinct from everyday language.
Maths Meetings are a vital part of the Mathematics Mastery programme and are used to consolidate key learning outside of the maths lesson. Maths Meetings provide an opportunity to teach and revise ‘general knowledge maths’ which may not explicitly be covered during the maths lesson. This enables pupils to practise applying concepts and skills on a regular basis, meaning they are continually building on their mastery of these concepts. These are taught in all classes at Fox Hill for 15 minutes, a minimum of three times per week.
At the centre of the mastery approach to the teaching of mathematics is the belief that all pupils have the potential to succeed. They should have access to the same curriculum content and, rather than being extended with new learning, they should deepen their conceptual understanding by tackling challenging and varied problems. Similarly, with calculation strategies, pupils must not simply rote learn procedures but demonstrate their understanding of these procedures through the use of concrete materials and pictorial representations.
Children show enthusiasm towards their Mathematics Learning and can talk confidently about their learning. The enjoy talk tasks and are able to explain their learning to both their peers and other adults.
Each Mathematics Mastery lesson is provided in a six-part lesson structure; the Dimensions of Depth underpin every part. Opportunities are provided throughout the six parts to focus on conceptual understanding, language and communication and mathematical thinking for each mathematical concept being covered.
The six-part lesson consists of:
At Fox Hill, Teachers may use a variety of these parts of the lesson, depending on the lesson being taught and the children’s understanding and development. This may be anything from a 3-part to a 6-part lesson. In addition, due to gaps in learning post-pandemic, Teachers may plan lessons that progress into the Maths Mastery lesson or Unit of learning.
In Year 6 we combine Mathematics Mastery and our own bespoke curriculum to offer the best opportunities for closing gaps. We aim to revisit the entire curriculum by the end of Spring Term to give plenty of time to address gaps in learning with regards to the end of Key Stage expectations and to ensure Secondary readiness.
How are all learners supported to make progress?
Maths is assessed through ongoing formative assessment through questioning, marking and Maths Meetings. We also have three formal summative assessments using PIXL. These are assessed against the end of the year expectations and enable us to make comparisons between our cohort and other PIXL school cohorts, invaluable when in a one form entry school.
Following each formal summative assessment, we hold Raising Standards Meetings (RSMs); teachers prepare their RSMs using their PIXL Question Level Analysis. From these discussions and our classroom practice, we identify children who need additional support. Wherever possible we address and close these gaps through quality first teaching and the use and direction of adults in the classroom.
The Leadership Team also offer and undertake support with Maths planning, modelling good practice and targeted group work to feed into staff CPD. Maths CPD also takes the form of Mathematics Mastery training / CPD resources, feedback from staff surveys and Local Authority Network Meetings.
How do we monitor Maths?
Maths is monitored both formally and informally through a mix of Leadership Team whole school monitoring and also by the Maths Lead. Our Governors also play an active role in assessing the quality of our Maths Curriculum at Fox Hill.
The Maths Coordinator also gathers both staff and pupil voice, using this to inform priorities, actions and staff CPD.
As a school we are embarking on our third year of the Teacher Research Group programme, but are focusing on the sustaining stage. This involves being part of a group of schools within Berkshire sharing best practice, observing lessons in other schools and helping to upskill teacher’s subject knowledge.
The Maths Coordinator takes part in regular CPD through the Mathematics Mastery programme and this training is disseminated to staff regularly.