Developing Mathematicians at Chaucer
At Chaucer Junior School, we have implemented a ‘mastery’ approach which we have altered to best suit the needs of our children; we believe all children can succeed. Meticulous lesson design and the use of resources enable most pupils to move through the curriculum at broadly the same pace. Learning key facts helps children become fluent mathematicians while extension of their thinking means they can articulate mathematical reasoning & problem solve. Our aim is to develop competent mathematicians who see mathematics as a tool and use it confidently in the real world.
We used the following key steps to implement the process of Mastery Maths across our setting:
Please see the following core principles which underpin the teaching of Mathematics at Chaucer:
All children are capable of succeeding. Because of this, we do not use ability groupings, which we believe can limit attainment. In lessons, the majority children have access to an age-related curriculum and only children who working at a level significantly below their year group (e.g. a previous key stage) will access alternative mathematic provision. Instead, differentiation will be addressed in the following ways:
- The supports and scaffolds incorporated into each lesson design, such as: concrete and visual materials; starting lessons from a solid platform where everyone feels confident; small steps within the lesson that make it very difficult for someone to fall behind; intelligent practice that makes concepts/patterns more obvious.
- Level of depth in tasks that children access. However, all children will have the opportunity to use reasoning and problem solving skills.
- Children should be seated in mixed ability pairings, so that support can be provided by quality discussion with more confident children.
Everyone moves through the curriculum at the same pace. Pupils who grasp concepts more rapidly will be extended by going into greater depth on the age related objectives, accessed from an increasing bank of ‘Mastery depth’ resources. Pupils who find a particular concept more difficult to grasp will be given extra support during the lesson or afterwards as part of post-teach.
If the vast majority of pupils haven't shown sufficient understanding, repeat the objective. The only way to achieve mastery is to build upon a solid foundation of conceptual understanding and procedural fluency. To ensure a good level of understanding, it will be necessary to move through the curriculum more slowly at times, allowing everyone to keep up and the rapid graspers to deepen their understanding.
Talk is good. The National Curriculum states that pupils should be able to reason mathematically. In order to develop this ability, children need to be able to talk about their mathematics. We aim to give children throughout the school the ability and opportunity to do this in every lesson, with an expectation that proper mathematical terminology should be broadly in use. Collaboration and peer support is actively encouraged.
Less in each lesson, take small steps, securely. To ensure that no child is left behind in their learning, and pupils develop a genuine conceptual understanding of the topics covered, we try to include less in each lesson, making sure all pupils are able to understand the content (and their misconceptions) thoroughly before moving on.
More time on each topic; do it once, do it well. We have redesigned our curriculum to align with the White Rose curriculum. This means that each topic is only explicitly once during the year, but for a longer period of time to enable a deep and thorough coverage.
A commitment to key skills. In order to achieve mastery, pupils need to have procedural fluency. To this end, key arithmetic topics are taught at the start of each year group and these skills are revisited on a regular basis and in a variety of ways, allowing children to practise. Below are some examples of this in practice:
- Every other week, classes take a low-stakes arithmetic test which they go through and then repeat a fortnight later; this is to incentivise children to engage with going through the paper and commit their learning to long-term memory. Children keep track of their own progress and are rewarded for beating their personal best.
- Times tables knowledge is closely monitored, children learn at a rate which is appropriate to them as an individual and fluent knowledge of facts is encouraged through time-tabled sessions on ‘Times Table Rockstars’ and weekly homework.
- Flashback 4 is used weekly to revise key skills and is often informed by class-level analysis of previous assessment papers.
Please open up the attachments below to see our Arithmetic Policies which model how arithmetical concepts are taught at Chaucer Junior School: