At St. Andrew’s we have embedded a mastery approach to teaching mathematics. Maths mastery is a teaching and learning approach that aims for pupils to develop deep understanding of maths rather than being able to memorise key procedures or resort to rote learning. In the past, once a child was confident with a method or concept, they would often move onto working with bigger numbers, e.g. once they can use column addition with 3 digit numbers, they move onto using 4 digit numbers. Teaching for Mastery focusses on deepening understanding to allow children to make links across many concepts in maths.
The end goal and expectation is for all pupils (with very limited exceptions) to have acquired the fundamental facts and concepts of maths for their year or key stage, such that by the end of it they have achieved mastery in the maths they have been taught. At this point, they are ready to move confidently on to their next stage of maths. Children working at a level of greater depth are challenged through reasoning problems and open-ended challenges.
Mastery of a mathematical concept means a child can use their knowledge of the concept, e.g. multiplying by a 1 digit number, to solve unfamiliar word problems, and undertake complex reasoning, using the appropriate mathematical vocabulary. Maths mastery is a not a quick fix to maths learning but a journey that the teacher and pupils go on together and the support of parents will greatly benefit children in securing and embedding the fundamental concepts within maths.
As a school, we are in our third year as part of the NCETM (National Centre of Excellence for the Teaching of Mathematics) Mobius Maths Hub, this journey has helped us develop our teaching of mathematics across the school. Miss Clark has recently been selected to become a Primary Mastery Specialist and will be working with schools across the county, as well as St. Andrew’s, to support the development of mathematics and ensure teachers are secure with the fundamental concepts of teaching for mastery.
Throughout every child’s journey at St Andrews we aim to foster a love of learning and the tools to succeed and be the best they can be.
‘Teaching for mastery has had an extremely positive impact on the way we teach maths across the school, from Reception Class through to Year 6. The focus on ensuring children achieve deep, sustainable learning has resulted in core topics within maths being studied for longer periods, allowing children to secure and embed their knowledge before moving on. The use of mathematical vocabulary across the school has greatly improved over the past year through the use of stem sentences, aiming to support and scaffold language – this allows children to explain their thinking and enables them to access harder level reasoning problems. A stem sentences that has really supported children to bridge between previous learning and new learning is, ‘If I know that…, then I know that…’, this can then be adapted for use across the school, ‘If I know that 2 plus 5 equals 7, then I know that 22 plus 5 equals 27’, ‘If I know that 2 plus 5 equals 7, then I know that 2/10 plus 5/10 equals 7/10.’ – Miss Clark, Maths Subject Leader and Primary Mastery Specialist.
‘I like that in maths we can work through our learning and get onto a challenge as that is normally really fun. This year we have used a lot more vocabulary in maths, we learn these by practising stem sentences. The worded challenges really make us think about how we explain our thinking to get to the answer and you often have to find lots of different possibilities, not just one.’ – Harry, Class 6.
‘I like how the maths challenges your thinking and pushes you out of your comfort zone, this really helps you understand the maths. The order of guided practice, independent practice then challenge really helps work through the lesson and be able to build on what you already know.’ – Hannah, Class 6.
Ways to support your child at home with their maths:
Learning and practising the objective on their maths passport – this also supports children with learning their times tables in order to prepare for the Year 4 Multiplication Table Check.
NEW APP – White Rose has brought out a new app to support children to learn their number bonds and addition and subtraction facts up to 100. Downloadable on Android and Apple devices.
Supporting you child’s at home information leaflet – Supporting maths
St. Andrew’s Maths Evening Presentations