At the Rissington School, we use a mastery approach to the teaching and learning of mathematics in order to deliver the three aims of the National Curriculum: fluency, reasoning and problem solving. Maths is supported by our school ethos of Aspire, Belong, Challenge – where our children aspire to do well in mathematics, feel that mathematics is a subject which is important to them, and view mathematical challenge with a positive attitude. Underpinning all of these is our central belief that all children can achieve in maths; our children believe that “We can all do maths!”. Time is spent in every lesson allowing children to become “masters” of their learning, providing all children with the opportunity to apply and use new knowledge in creative ways. We provide a high level of challenge for all of our children to ensure that all have the opportunity to excel in the subject and achieve high standards of attainment.
The Rissington school’s Golden Threads are resilience, vocabulary and oracy, and diversity and equality. To encourage resilience children are given opportunities to overcome problems and approach these with perseverance and a positive attitude, make their own decisions, try things out for themselves and investigate. Oracy and vocabulary are promoted by giving the children opportunities to talk about their work, reason verbally in every lesson, address misconceptions and are explicitly taught the vocabulary to talk mathematically. Our children understand that mathematics is a global language, and as such important to diversity and equality; they are taught that maths is a tool in all other subjects and in their wider lives, and that all children have the opportunities, and are given these, to succeed in the subject.
Through the maths curriculum, we ensure that all children are active in the learning process and have implemented common language around good independent learning and characteristics of effective learning, starting from Early Years. Growth mindset is embedded, using the ‘Power of Yet!’, and understanding the importance of the 5 R's (Resilience, Responsibility, Reciprocal, Resourceful, Reflective), Growth mindset is rewarded and recognised when children support each other to overcome challenges and to be proactive in their learning.
As part of our curriculum and growth mindset, we promote and encourage the children to recognise The Characteristics of Effective Learning; these are:
- Go For it Gorilla - I will have a go.
- Exploring Elephant - I am an Explorer
- I know Rhino - I play with what I know
- Proud Peacock - I am proud of what I do
- Concentrating Crocodile - I join in and concentrate
- Persevering Parrot - I keep trying
- Choosing Chimp - I choose ways to do things
- Creative Chameleon - I have my own ideas
- Slinky Linky Snake - I can make links
In order to achieve this, our intent is to follow the Early Years Framework and National Curriculum, breaking it down into small, sequential steps using the White Rose schemes of learning, that allow all children to progress and succeed. At our school, all children are taught the National Curriculum content for their current year group. Our maths curriculum is accessible for all, with each small step building on previously acquired knowledge and skills. For each of these steps, lessons are structured around our whole school lesson structure: Do It (fluency), Deepen It (reasoning), and Challenge (problem solving). In all year groups children are exposed to a variety of concrete, pictoral and abstract representations of maths in a variety of contexts. These representations, alongside explicit teaching of common misconceptions and exposure to rich, sophisticated problems, are an essential part of our teaching and learning. Furthermore, we recognise the importance of children being able to reason clearly both verbally and in writing, and so we have a vocabulary progression document which teachers use in their planning to ensure children are regularly exposed to and use subject-specific vocabulary in every lesson.
Through our units of work, children:
- become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics so that they develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
- are able to solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of problems with increasing sophistication, including in unfamiliar contexts and to model real-life scenarios
- reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry and develop and present a justification, argument or proof using mathematical language.
- have an appreciation of number and number operations, which enables mental calculations and written procedures to be performed efficiently, fluently and accurately to be successful in mathematics.
Teachers use the Early Years Framework, National Curriculum and White Rose to plan across all phases, and use a range of high-quality sources to supplement the planning and resources; these include resources provided by Testbase, Deepening Understanding, NCETM and NRich.
In Early Years, children’s prior learning, both from previous settings and children’s homes is drawn upon, and all learning is linked to the new Early Years framework and the appropriate age-related expectations; from the Summer term, our Pre-School works closely with the Reception classes to support transition and make use of the White Rose resources also in readiness for their next step through the school. In Reception, learning follows the White Rose Reception scheme, building a strong grounding in number and providing rich opportunities for to develop spatial reasoning skills, which allows for a successful transition into Key Stage 1 and the rest of the school. In Key Stages 1 and 2, teachers use the White Rose mixed-age schemes to sequence the learning, and to break down content into manageable small steps. Content areas are in long-term yearly overviews, medium-term planning, and individual objectives for each year group are detailed on class weekly planning. Medium term planning identifies the vocabulary for each unit of work, taken from our school vocabulary progression; teachers also refer back to previous year groups to ensure that learning is revisited and built on over time. Weekly planning also explicitly states where common misconceptions are to be taught on a lesson-by-lesson basis. Teachers then plan lessons around the Do It, Deepen It, Challenge lesson structure.
In addition to daily maths lessons, all children in Year 1 to 6 have a daily 15-minute maths session focusing on arithmetic skills and recalling prior learning. We use Flashback 4 in each year group to provide children with tasks that require them to recall learning from previous lessons, across previous year groups; this ensures that the children can cement their learning in their long-term memory. We also use a weekly 10 in 10 to improve automaticity in key arithmetic skills, following our school calculation policy, and to provide opportunities to “overlearn” and become efficient in these key skills.
Lessons are taught using a wide array of maths manipulatives to support children in their learning; all classrooms have a Maths Resource Centre, which children access independently in every lesson. Computing resources are also used across the school to support the learning in classrooms, and provide additional activities for all children; these include: Mathletics, Times Table Rockstars, Top Marks and DB Primary. At the Rissington School, we value the benefit outdoor learning can provide by deepening learning through transferring it to new and varied contexts, and as such all classes regularly take maths outside as part of their lessons.
As part of our belief that all children, no matter their ability, can achieve in maths, we offer a range of high-quality interventions for those who require additional support in the subject. Depending on individual need, children work through the Plus 10, Power of 2, Hands on Maths, KIRFS and Numicon interventions. Furthermore, across the whole school, booster groups are offered to those who need it, in addition to the tutoring offered through the National Tutoring funding. For children who are more able in mathematics, challenges are provided within all lessons using “Challenge Books”, which all children use to record their workings in response to high-level challenges (sourced from NRich, Deepening Understanding, I See Reasoning and NCETM) that require them to apply prior learning to new contexts.
We enrich our mathematics curriculum in a variety of ways, particularly through highlighting how “Maths is everywhere!”, and ensuring the maths is widely promoted and highlighted across the school building in communal spaces. Displays in these spaces are used to continue mathematic learning, and highlight how maths is a tool that is used in other subjects, and in everyday contexts as well.
At the Rissington School, we create independent mathematicians who are well equipped to apply their learning to the wider world. Our children leave the school as confident mathematicians, who are prepared for both their transition to secondary, through our close links with our local secondary schools, and their later lives. Children at The Rissington School experience the beauty, power and enjoyment of mathematics and develop a sense of curiosity about the subject with a clear understanding.