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At Southmead, we believe in delivering the highest quality opportunities for our children to be able to apply crucial skills of fluency, reasoning and problem solving, aims which underpin the current National Curriculum for mathematics. Teachers give children challenge which inspires them to be resilient to meet tasks with enthusiasm and drive. They are given opportunities to work in a variety of different ways during maths lessons in order to achieve these aims: collaborative group work, paired work and independently.
Children at Southmead are supported to move fluently between representations of mathematical ideas. We follow the Wandsworth planning schemes of work which are then adapted to suit our learners. Children are taught the highest possible skill in order to engage, excite our mathematicians and feed their thirst for challenge. Teachers immerse our children by using ambitious mathematical language and have high expectations for the children to utilise this language when reasoning and problem solving; they ensure children build on secure discussion to probe and correct misconceptions . Children are taught to develop skills to make connections across mathematical ideas to develop fluency, mathematical reasoning and competence to solve increasingly sophisticated problems. Children experience maths across the curriculum in other vital subjects which shows them that Maths serves a purpose for daily and life-long learning.
Mental arithmetic is an aspect of the National Curriculum which enables children to develop their fluency of number and apply this to mathematical content. Children make decisions if they can use a mental or written method – this enables them to work efficiently and quickly.
‘Mastery Mathematicians’ are given the opportunity to deepen their understanding of content and skills by developing their knowledge, competence and confidence. What does a ‘Mastery Mathematician’ look like in each of our year groups? No matter what ages group, our ‘Mastery Mathematicians’ will be able to explain their understanding using ambitious mathematical vocabulary, they can draw visual representations of their understanding and show evidence of using different methods in order to show they can solve a problem using more than one way. These children will be able to ‘peer-coach’ other children in their own year group or a different year group as they will have the ability to explain mathematical concepts clearly and with deep understanding.
Our MTG Groups are a vital aspect of mathematical development at Southmead. Some children may not be ready to move on to the next stage of content, therefore they attend MTG Groups in the afternoon based on the security of their understanding from the morning’s lesson. Children who are not sufficiently fluent with earlier content consolidate their understanding in MTG Groups so that they can close gaps and access content confidently.
One of the teaching assistants who run MTG Groups said, ‘I notice a real difference in the progression of the child’s learning from the morning session and the MTG session in the afternoon. The child benefits from a session which caters for their gap and gives them the confidence to cover-come their barriers.’
Year 6 have a weekly maths club which serves a dual purpose: some children attend to practice and consolidate challenging concepts which they are finding difficult and some children who access Mastery content come to peer coach other children and deepen their own learning. Our Year 6 children have revision books which they make notes in to help them remember key concepts – they have ownership of these books and independently decide the layout of their revision notes based on what they know their targets are.
Parent/Carer and Community Links
We offer a range of maths workshops throughout the year which are informative and helpful for our parents and carers so that we can work together to help the children at Southmead to the best of our ability. Please look out for workshops in the new 2016/2017 term! You can ask staff questions about the activities and we always encouraged you to try some of the problems yourselves!
One Year 5 parent who attended our Mental Maths workshop exclaimed, ‘I can’t believe what they are expected to do – this is really hard! I’m very impressed that they can use a range of ways to work the problems out!’
Print outs of mental maths strategies which children can use were displayed all around the hall. A Year 4 parent who came along said, ‘This is really useful as it helps me understand which methods are used – I can now use these at home to help my daughter.’
Practical resources which are used during every day practice in Maths lessons were brought to the workshop so that parents and carers were able to see what kind of resources are used to help their child every day.
‘It was good to see what my child can use in school to help him learn – I can use these ideas at home!’ (Year 1 Parent)
Online Maths programmes and games