At St Michael’s we are passionate about nurturing flexible, brave and excited learners. We follow a mastery approach to maths and this means pupils of all ages 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 has been taught to enable pupils to move on to more advanced material.
The essence of maths teaching for mastery:
- Maths teaching for mastery rejects the idea that a large proportion of people
‘just can’t do maths’.
- All pupils are encouraged by the belief that by working hard at maths they can succeed.
- 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
- Lesson design identifies the new mathematics that is to be taught, the key
points, the difficult points and a carefully sequenced journey through the
learning. In a typical lesson pupils sit facing the teacher and the teacher
leads back and forth interaction, including questioning, short tasks,
explanation, demonstration, and discussion.
- Procedural fluency and conceptual understanding are developed in tandem
because each supports the development of the other.
- It is recognised that practice is a vital part of learning, but the practice used is
intelligent practice that both reinforces pupils’ procedural fluency and
develops their conceptual understanding.
- Significant time is spent developing deep knowledge of the key ideas that are needed to underpin future learning. The structure and connections within the mathematics are emphasised, so that pupils develop deep learning that can be sustained.
- Key facts such as multiplication tables and addition facts within 10 are learnt
to automaticity to avoid cognitive overload in the working memory and enable pupils to focus on new concepts.
What do we do here?
At our school, we have embraced Power Maths as or mastery scheme of work. Power Maths is a resource that has been designed for UK schools based on research and extensive experience of teaching and learning around the world and here in the UK. It has been designed to support and challenge all pupils, and is built on the belief that EVERYONE can learn maths successfully.
As well as Power Maths, we have also made use of White Rose materials to support our home learning and intervention work. White Rose and Power maths are matched to each other which ensures there is consistency when moving between class-based work, small group intervention and home learning.
We believe that to enable children to access and enjoy more difficult concepts, they must have a secure understanding of key facts such as multiplication tables and addition facts within 10. Therefore, we use both Times Table Rock Stars and NUMBOTS across the school. This has provided the learners at our school with a fun and engaging tool that allows them to improve their understanding of number and multiplication.