At Mabe Primary School, our key aim is that the children develop a love and understanding of Mathematics. We hope that our children see Maths as a wonderful, exciting and purposeful subject.
We aim to provide pupils with powerful ways to describe, analyse and solve problems. The key intentions of Mabe’s Mastery Curriculum are that pupils experience a sense of awe and wonder as they ‘experience’ Mathematics, ‘discover’ more solutions and ‘make links’ between different areas of Mathematics. They should also appreciate how Maths links to other subjects across the curriculum; not just the obvious likes of Science and Geography, but also the arts.
At Mabe, we believe that:
- the basic skills of Mathematics are vital for the life opportunities of our children
- Mathematics develops the mind and those highly valued cognitive skills
- every child (and adult!) should see themselves as a Mathematician
As such we intend to:
- foster positive attitudes, fascination and excitement of discovery through the teaching and learning of mathematical concepts
- develop a ‘can do’ attitude in our children by demonstrating a confident attitude towards tackling problems both in and out of the classroom
- broaden children’s knowledge and understanding of how Mathematics is used in the wider world
- enable our pupils to use and understand mathematical language and recognise its importance as a language for communication and thinking
Pupils are motivated to learn in Mathematics on a daily basis. It is part of the fabric of the day. They are motivated when there is a relevance and purpose to their learning. They are motivated by carefully chosen practical resources, songs, games, competitions, problem-solving tasks, Number Days, Marvellous Mathematician certificates and much more.
At Mabe Primary School, we follow the CPA (Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract) approach, which is a crucial element of mastery teaching. Pupils are assisted in their learning through the use of visual prompts and practical resources. Our lessons are whole class in their nature and we seek to involve all pupils in all objectives with very few exceptions. Learning is broken down into small steps and these increments of learning are carefully tailored to ensure that concepts are accessible to everyone. Where objectives are not met, pupils take part in same day interventions and there are also opportunities for pre-teaching if deemed appropriate.
We work hard to turn around the statement, ‘I’m just not good at Maths’ (which can be heard at home) to ‘I can do Maths.’ This ‘can do’ attitude is facilitated though staff positivity and a carefully planned sequence of small steps in each lesson. By not grouping children by ability, they have the chance to feel more confident. Tasks are the same across the classroom and so children do not feel judged. It is important to note that advanced learners are not left without challenge, as this can be achieved through higher-level questioning and extension.
Pupils are excited when they make connections, when they can feel the Maths through concrete resources, when they are engaged in fun activities such as Number Day and playing Times Tables Rock Stars. At Mabe Primary School, a key aim is to make Maths exciting and relevant. We find opportunities to connect what we are studying in the classroom to real life situations including careers and day to day activities.
The three aims of the National Curriculum should be addressed every day (not just in the Maths lesson):
Fluency – Reasoning – Problem Solving
By lacing calculation, reasoning and problem solving in to series of lessons, we ensure that secure links are made and that prior knowledge is being tested and challenged throughout.
Below, you will read in detail how we implement Maths Mastery at Mabe Primary School.
The impact of our Mathematics curriculum is that children understand the relevance and importance of what they are learning in relation to real world concepts. We need Maths to function on a day-today basis - reading the time, estimating how much cereal to put into a bowl, allowing enough time to walk to school and so on. Children have a positive view of Maths due to the encouraging environment created across the school. Children are confident to ‘have a go’ and choose the equipment they need to help them to learn along with the strategies they think are best suited to each problem. Impact is measured via our end of block White Rose tests and our termly PUMA assessments. On a formative basis, children are assessed against the daily objectives and misconceptions addressed. Our children will be ready to access the Key Stage 3 curriculum and beyond.
Mastering Maths means pupils acquiring a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject.The phrase ‘teaching for mastery’ describes the elements of classroom practice and school organisation that combine to give pupils the best chances of mastering Maths. Achieving mastery means acquiring a solid enough understanding of the Maths that’s been taught to enable pupils to move on to more advanced material.
Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract
The Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract approach (known as CPA) is a crucial element of mastery. The CPA method involves using actual objects for children to add, subtract, multiply or divide. They then progress to using pictorial representations of the object, and ultimately, abstract symbols. Children often find maths difficult because it is abstract. The CPA approach helps children learn new ideas and build on their existing knowledge by introducing abstract concepts in a more familiar and tangible way.
The theory behind this approach is that pupils are taught through whole-class interactive teaching, where the focus is on all pupils working together on the same lesson content at the same time, as happens in Shanghai and several other regions that teach Maths successfully. This ensures that all can master concepts before moving to the next part of the curriculum sequence, allowing no pupil to be left behind. If a pupil fails to grasp a concept or procedure, this is identified quickly and early intervention ensures the pupil is ready to move forward with the whole class in the next lesson. More able pupils are challenged through carefully planned reasoning and problem-solving questions. The aim here is for breadth of understanding; they do not access content from the year group above.
At Mabe Primary School, we started our journey towards mastery in Spring 2018 when Maths lead Julia Pearce witnessed features of mastery in action at St. Merryn School. Since then, we have worked hard to develop our own practice, which has been greatly assisted by our partnership with the Maths Hub. Since September 2019, Julia and Year 5/6 teacher, Steve Cruse, have attended sessions to develop thinking, observed mastery expert Ross Barnes in action in his own classroom and formed valuable links with Mylor School. The Maths lead has held meetings with staff to ensure that they are up to date with mastery thinking. We are now in the third year of our partnership with the Maths Hub. The aim of this year is for us to sustain the teaching of mastery across the school (2021-2022).
It is important to note that the development of Maths mastery does not happen overnight; it is a process that takes many years and one that is in need of regular refinement. All good teachers should be reflective of their practice; always seeking new ways to make experiences even better for the children and Maths mastery is certainly no exception!
At Mabe School, our mission is to give your children the very best Maths experiences possible!
*Daily rapid recall in Key Stage 2- Children answer a series of calculations at speed at the start of each lesson.
*Vocabulary check - The children discuss key Maths terminology that will be used in the lesson. This links to our wider school aim of developing vocabulary across the curriculum.
*Stem sentences - These provide a scaffold to help children communicate their understanding with precision and clarity. For example: There are two equal groups of 4. There are 4 in each group. There are two 4s.
*Manipulatives - Each class is well stocked with a range of manipulatives to help children get to grips with a concrete understanding.
*Visuals - Pictures help children see mathematical ideas, which aids understanding. For example, the following cupcake image is an array. Children can see 4 x 4 = 16.
Along with other schools in our Trust, we assess pupils using PUMA materials at the end of each term. PUMA tests assess pupil understanding across the Maths spectrum. In order for us to get a sense of children's understanding within each specific topic, such as Addition and Subtraction or Fractions, we use White Rose end of block assessments. We also formatively assess pupils on a daily basis, which is an essential feature of our practice across the entire curriculum. If pupils are not meeting objectives within a lesson, they will take part in interventions/pre-teach activities that afternoon.
Below you can see Maths displays from across the school. Each class has a wipeable gridded board, so that the display is interactive. At Mabe Primary School, we believe that our displays should not simply become 'wallpaper' but rather be a workable document that is ever changing as the learning progresses. There are opportunities for children to write on the board, answering a range of fluency, reasoning and problem-solving questions. Key vocabulary and stem sentences will also feature, acting as useful prompts for the children. We are aware of the importance of making cross curricular links, so our displays show how Maths is not taught in complete isolation.
In our Choughs and Chicks Nursery Class and our Kittiwakes Reception Class, Maths is everywhere! There are always opportunities for children to explore mathematical concepts through play. We have taken this first class early years practice of using manipulatives to develop understanding right up through the school. Tens frames, beadstrings, Cuisenaire rods, Numicon, place value counters and Base 10 materials are all over the school. Using concrete materials helps lay the foundations for a deepened understanding. This quote from Hoong et al summarises why manipulatives are so important and why they should not be neglected in any year group:
"Neglecting manipulatives and moving straight to the abstract often means that children have not had the opportunity to make sense of a concept for themselves, and therefore the child has not developed a deep and structural understanding of the mathematics."
On Friday 4th February, Mabe joined schools all over the country to take part in a mega Maths fundraising day! This was the fourth year that Mabe Primary School has taken part and we believe it is such an important day for two reasons. Firstly, it raises the profile of Mathematics and, crucially, raises funds for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).
This year, our school focused upon the connection between the subjects of Maths and Art. Many see the subjects as being in stark contrast to one another, but throughout our day, we explored how they interrelate in many ways. Each class focused on a different artist and created a piece of artwork using their style. There were also opportunities to take part in additional creative mathematical activities. The aim of the day was for children to be excited and motivated to learn in Maths through artwork; we certainly feel that we achieved this goal!
Please take a look at the photos from the day as well as the assembly slideshow.