Curriculum Intent, Implementation and Impact
At Fordley, we believe that a deeply connected and sustained understanding of maths is vital for developing confident and resourceful learners who are able to apply their understanding of maths flexibly to better understand the world around them. We firmly believe that our children require a rich and varied maths curriculum which provides them with the opportunities to explore, refine and synthesise their knowledge and understanding in order for learning to be both meaningful and transferrable. In order to ensure this, teachers plan coherent learning journeys through which children progressively build an understanding of the key concepts which underpin the maths curriculum as well as the of connections between concepts. We strive to promote children actively considering their conceptual understanding through solving problems, reasoning and explaining their mathematical thinking. Through such an approach, we aim to better prepare the children in our school to move on to more advanced mathematical concepts in secondary school and beyond.
We firmly believe that, in order for the children in our care to become confident and capable mathematicians, consistent systems and structures are required to ensure that children are able to build seamlessly upon prior understanding and become resourceful learners with a range of efficient strategies to support them engaging with new concepts.
As a school, we have worked with the NCETM’s Maths Hub to implement a mastery approach to maths teaching. Mastering maths means that pupils acquire a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the key concepts that underpin the primary curriculum. Across the school, we embed a coherent progression through the curriculum that ensures these concepts are sequenced logically and practised routinely in order to develop deep and lasting understanding. We use the White Rose yearly overviews to sequence units of learning while ensuring these are used flexibly so that individual classes have sufficient opportunity to embed an understanding of concepts before moving on.
Through collaborating closely with the Great North Maths Hub, we are constantly looking to refine and develop our practice to ensure that teachers possess a confident pedagogical and subject knowledge and are able to provide a range of well-selected learning opportunities to best support learners.
In the Early Years, we dedicate time for children to learn maths and integrate mathematics throughout the day. Manipulatives and representations are used consistently to develop a secure conception of number and the ability to unitise in order to best prepare children for the Year 1 curriculum.
Across Key Stage One and Key Stage Two, pupils are taught through whole-class interactive teaching, where the focus is upon pupils learning together on the same lesson content at the same time. This means that all can master concepts before moving to the next part of the curriculum sequence; ensuring pupils are not left behind. Lesson design identifies the new mathematics that is to be taught, the key points, the potential misconceptions and a carefully sequenced journey through the learning. Questioning is used precisely to draw attention to the ‘big ideas’ in the learning and ensure that children develop not simply procedurally proficiency but also have the conceptual understanding which will enable learners to calculate efficiently, accurately and flexibly. Pupils’ understanding allows them to reason and problem solve confidently. Opportunities to develop a greater depth of understanding are consistently embedded within units of learning to ensure that every child is fully challenged to achieve their very best.
At Fordley, we recognise that practice is a vital part of memorisation but the practice used is intelligent practice that both reinforces pupils’ procedural fluency and develops their conceptual understanding. The structure and connections within the mathematics are emphasised, so that pupils develop deep learning that can be sustained. Classes complete additional fluency activities outside of their main maths lessons in order to embed prior learning and ensure that children have a sufficiently secure understanding to access the next step of their learning journey.
Teachers use on-going assessment for learning to identify where to target support during fluency activities to ensure that a rapid response to gaps in learning allows children to keep up rather than catch up. Where more significant barriers to learning exist, support is targeted precisely through the deployment of teaching assistants and additional timetabled learning opportunities to enable the widest number of children possible to access age-related expectations and all learners to progress fully in the subject.
In addition, homework is used as a further opportunity to consolidate understanding of the learning that has taken place or address specific barriers to learning.
Attainment in maths is measured using the statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage One and Two. These results are measured against the maths attainment of children nationally. In this regard, teaching for mastery has had a discernible impact upon attainment of the children within the school.
However, more importantly, it is our belief that the approach taken by the school has hugely improved enthusiasm for the subject. Through teaching for mastery, we aim to create engaged, confident and reflective young mathematicians who possess positive dispositions towards maths and a belief in their own ability to achieve well in the subject. Through a strong and consistent emphasis upon securing a deep understanding of number, number operations and fractions we aim to develop learners who have the foundations to continue achieving very well and an appreciation of the value of the subject in their future lives and careers.