Mathematics

Mathematics at Stocksbridge Junior School

 

 

At Stocksbridge Junior School, our mission is to enable all learners to enjoy and succeed in Mathematics.  The value of a high-quality Mathematics education is well recognised for its importance both to the individual and to society.  Being competent in Mathematics is key for functioning within a community and being a productive part of the workforce. Our curriculum is premised on a belief that all learners can enjoy and succeed in Mathematics, and our ultimate aim is that learners enjoy and achieve in Mathematics, developing a real interest in the subject.  Success for all is about ensuring no learner is left behind as well as ensuring more learners excel in Mathematics.  Belief that all can achieve and a commitment to providing learning experiences that allow for this are absolutely essential to accomplish success for all.  Fostering learner attitudes that are based on belief in the capacity to learn can be achieved through developing resilience and confidence. Mathematics at Stocksbridge Junior School has been designed on principles to provide learners with a deep conceptual understanding of mathematical principles, and the ability to confidently communicate in precise mathematical language while becoming mathematical thinkers.

 

 

Intent

 

‘Curriculum Drivers’ shape our curriculum breadth.  They are derived from an understanding of our pupils, our beliefs about high-quality education and our values.  They are consistently used to ensure that we give our pupils appropriate and ambitious curriculum opportunities. Cultural Capital (developed through extending mathematical knowledge, vocabulary and experiences) gives our students the vital background knowledge required to be informed and thoughtful members of the Stocksbridge community who understand and believe in British Values.

Our curriculum distinguishes between subject topics and threshold concepts: subject topics are the specific aspects of subjects that are studied (e.g. number and place value); threshold concepts tie together the subject topics into meaningful schema (e.g. number and place value consists of counting, representing, comparing, place value and solving problems).  The same concepts are explored in a wide breadth of topics and are returned to.  Through this interleaving of mathematical concepts across the key stage, pupils gradually build understanding of schema.

 

 

Implementation

 

Stocksbridge Junior School teaches Mathematics through the Mathematics Mastery curriculum which runs from Year 3 to Year 6.  The objectives taught are fully aligned with the 2014 National Curriculum programmes of study.

 

The programme is specifically designed to encourage learning that builds.  Key mathematical concepts are taught, applied and connected to other areas of learning throughout the year and beyond.  This enables pupils to develop their depth of understanding and mathematical fluency steadily over time.

 

The Principles of Mathematics Mastery and how they are delivered:

Principle 1: Conceptual Understanding
  1. Mathematics tasks are about constructing meaning and making sense of relationships. Learners deepen their understanding by representing concepts using objects, pictures, symbols and words.

 

  1. Different representations stress and ignore different aspects of a concept and so, moving between representations and making explicit links between them allows learners to construct a comprehensive conceptual framework that can be used as the foundation for future learning.

 

  1. We use the content of the National Curriculum as the starting point for our curriculum, but this is expanded upon by making explicit the foundational knowledge that learners need to understand in order to access this.

 

  1. Tasks are sequenced to help learners build a narrative through different threshold concepts.  These concepts are then sequenced in a logical progression that allows learners to establish connections and draw comparisons.

 

  1. Multiple representations are carefully selected so that they are extendable within and between different areas of Mathematics. Using these rich models encourages learners to develop different perspectives on a concept.

 

  1. Tasks are designed so that learners are active participants and construct their own understanding of concepts.
Principle 2: Language and Communication
  1. Mathematical language strengthens conceptual understanding by enabling pupils to explain and reason. This is carefully introduced and reinforced through frequent discussion to ensure it is meaningfully understood.

 

  1. The more learners use mathematical words, the more they feel themselves to be mathematicians. Talk is an essential element of every lesson and time is dedicated to developing confidence with specific vocabulary as well as verbal reasoning.

 

  1. The content of our curriculum carefully progresses in order to induct learners into the mathematical community. A large part of this community is confident use of the language, signs and symbols of Mathematics.  Verbal and non-verbal communication is part of every sequence of learning in the curriculum.

 

  1. This often starts with more informal language initially, building up to formal and precise mathematical language.

 

  1. Talk tasks are part of every lesson in the curriculum to help with this development.
Principle 3: Mathematical Thinking
  1. By the time they reach school, all pupils have demonstrated a significant range of innate ways of thinking that can be harnessed in the classroom to develop mathematical thinking.

 

  1. We support pupils to develop mathematical ‘habits of mind’ – to be systematic, generalise and seek out patterns.

 

  1. The creation of a conjecturing environment and considered use of questions and prompts are important elements of encouraging learners to think like mathematicians.

 

  1. Our curriculum is designed to give learners the opportunities to think mathematically. Throughout the curriculum you will see tasks that require learners to specialise and generalise, to work systematically, to generate their own examples, to classify and to make conjectures.

 

  1. This is aided by our prompts for thinking which help make these important parts of Mathematics more explicit.

Impact

 

Mathematics at Stocksbridge Junior School is engaging and high-quality.  Our pupils embrace the Mathematics Mastery approach and develop detailed knowledge and skills across the Mathematics curriculum. More importantly, pupils demonstrate a love of Mathematics and recognise its importance in the wider world.  They work confidently and apply the skills that they learn to problem solving, showing outstanding learning behaviours during Mathematics lessons. 

 

As learning is a change to long-term memory, it is not practical to assess learning in the short-term.  We do, however, use probabilistic assessment based on deliberate and repeated practice.  This means we look at the practices taking place to determine whether they are appropriate, related to our goals and likely to produce results in the long-run.  Practice is split into manageable parts with clear success criteria and feedback is given in the moment wherever possible. We use comparative judgement in two ways: in the tasks we set and by comparing a pupil’s work over time. Pupils understand and use a richer vocabulary which enables them to articulate their understanding of mathematical concepts. They have high aspirations which will see them through to further study, work and a successful adult life. Pupils leave Stocksbridge Junior School as confident and aspirational learners ready for the next stage of their Mathematics education.