At Elm Academy, we aim to ensure all pupils are proficient mathematicians. We want to create a culture of deep understanding, confidence and competence in maths – a culture that produces strong, secure learning and real progress. No matter what their starting points, we help pupils to achieve excellence. A clearly structured teaching and learning process based on real life applications for mathematical concepts ensures that children master each mathematical concept securely and deeply. For each year group, the curriculum is broken down into core concepts and taught in units. A unit divides into smaller learning steps which are delivered in daily lessons. Step by step, strong foundations of cumulative knowledge and understanding are built.
We use White Rose Hub, Primary Stars & NCETM to support with planning and resources and mostly follow their overview for each year group, making adjustments based on regular Assessment for Learning.
To ensure pupils at Elm Academy become fluent, proficient mathematicians whilst developing the ability to apply these skills to real life contexts, we use the following rigorous teaching strategies:
- White Rose Maths Scheme of Learning & NCETM – White Rose is a Scheme of Learning that we use to support our planning, resourcing and teaching across our school. WRM brings together a team of highly experienced and passionate maths teaching experts to train, guide, help and support teaching staff. At Elm Academy we do not explicitly use this Scheme of Learning, it is considered more of a tool that staff can refer to that will support with their high-quality teaching and effective scaffolding within the lesson. Key Stage one staff also use Primary Stars maths to support with the teaching of maths across the key stage and with the appropriate use of practical resources. To support with the teaching of some area and with assessing pupil understanding, we also use NCETM resources.
- Staff CPD – To ensure the quality of teaching is the best it can be, we have invested in the White Rose Maths CPD package which offers a range of professional development courses to support staff understanding of knowledge of a range of strategies to use when teaching maths. This includes course on the CPA Approach, Bar Modelling, Thinking Through Variation and Reasoning & Problem Solving. Through planning these into our school CPD programme, we can ensure that staff feel equipped to be able to support pupils across the Primary Age range as effectively as possible.
As well as offering specific maths CPD, our CPD programme ensures that staff continuously develop their understanding of cognition & learning and the importance of retrieval across all subjects to support pupils in strengthening their long-term memory, different schemas and being able to recall learning effectively when needed.
We have also invested time in supporting staff with using the NCETM Ready to Progress Criteria to support staff with their implementation of the National Curriculum. The resources and teaching strategies from this tool are embedded into the Medium-Term Plans, ensuring that the quality of teaching and learning is the best it can be.
- Highly effective Teaching & Assessment – We believe that The characteristics of effective teaching in maths are a mixture of:
– formative assessment with a whole class, group and individual discussions
– questioning in the classroom that probes and helps to engineer discussions and scaffold understanding;
– a talk rich environment where children are taught how to articulate explanations and justify their thinking with a focus on ‘how did you get there’.
– relevant, meaningful, challenging and worthwhile tasks that are memorable (Bartram, 2017);
– using cooperative learning strategies to encourage pupils to hear different mathematical approaches and to mirror the way maths is done outside the classroom – people with different strengths work together to solve real-world problems.
– a focus on exposing weaknesses and misconceptions to upgrade understanding
To ensure the teaching & learning of maths is effective and promotes strong progress, the members of SLT ensure that the consistent approach of all staff to teaching maths is based upon the most up to date research (see Improving Maths EEF Guidance Summary below).
All staff have access to maths skills progression documents which support staff in their knowledge of how specific skills progress throughout the school, how work can be differentiated effectively, mathematical concepts that have been taught previously to support with retrieval and the learning journey the pupils have been on.
Pupils are assessed continuously through high-quality questioning, carefully designed lessons & tasks and observations from teachers. Summative assessment happens regularly through the use of independent activities which teachers use in a range of ways including starters, whole lessons or exit passes. It also happens through termly NFER Testing which is then logged on DC Pro and the NFER Tracking tool. Using a range of ways of assessing pupils gives staff a broad picture of the understanding of all their pupils, as well as enabling teachers to zoom in on the individual needs of specific pupils. Staff then use this information to guide their lessons and interventions to ensure gaps are addressed swiftly.
- Practical Resources – Each classroom is equipped with a set of trays dedicated to practical maths resources. This ensures that staff can teach using the CPA approach and that pupils can develop their independence with using practical resources in maths. Pupils are encouraged to use the resources/take the approach that works best for them and staff nurture pupils to consider a range of methods to solve different maths questions. All children are given the opportunity to explore a range of resources to develop their independence and perseverance, not only in their maths lessons, but to apply these skills across the curriculum. This is boosted through the school’s Character Awards where pupils can earn stickers and badgers for showing specific character traits with their learning.
Practical resources are used as a scaffold across the school, with the aim being for all pupils to not need them. However, they are always readily available for pupils who may require them.
Classroom environments also support the teaching of maths; every classroom has a number line that pupils can refer to, as well as a maths learning wall that supports the pupils with key mathematical concepts.
- Cross-Curricular Links – At Elm Academy, we consider it vital that all pupils are able to apply their mathematical knowledge and understanding in a range of contexts. Some examples of how we ensure maths is embedded across the curriculum include programming in computing, co-ordinates in geography and measurements in DT. Pupils across the school also take part in a fortnightly STEM activity on a Friday afternoon, which encourages them to use their mathematical skills to problem solve and complete a range of experiments.
- Mathematical Vocabulary – To ensure there is consistency with the teaching and understanding of mathematical vocabulary, we have Maths Vocabulary Overviews which highlight which year groups specific vocabulary is introduced in and the definition of each term that we use across the school. These are in place to support staff, pupils and will also be introduced to parents to ensure there is consistency between the terms being used at school and at home. The vocabulary for each lesson is also explicitly recorded on the Maths MTPs to ensure consistency across classes and to ensure it is taught within an accurate context.
- Reason for Learning – In all maths lessons, pupils will be told the reason why they are learning specific areas of maths, how it builds on previous knowledge and supports future learning. Where possible, teachers strive to put it into real world contexts so that pupils understand how they would apply this knowledge throughout their lives.
- Home Learning – Maths home learning is set weekly across the school, with teachers ensuring that the homework being set relates closely to what is being learnt in school. This is because EEF Research shows that homework has a positive impact on average (+ 5 months) and that homework that is linked to classroom work tends to be more effective. As well as homework books, the school subscribes to TimesTable Rockstars that pupils can access at home to develop their knowledge of times tables.
Please click on the links below to see the Maths Overview for the school:
Every year we participate in NSPCC Number Day to promote pupils’ understanding of the charity itself and to encourage pupils to explore numbers in a different way. The pupils thoroughly enjoy dressing up in number related costumes and taking part in maths challenges.