At Greenways Primary Academy, we believe that mathematics teaches us how to make sense of the world around us. Our vision is for children to leave our academy equipped with essential mathematics skills, which are fundamental for the wider world. We strongly believe that mathematics should be both accessible and challenging for all children. We want children to be confident mathematicians who are resilient, skilled problem-solvers. By providing children with the correct tools, our children are able to calculate fluently and apply their skills in different contexts. Mathematical skills are promoted throughout other areas of the primary curriculum, and we believe that this enables our children to leave primary school prepared for the variety of problems and challenges they may encounter in their lives. With these things in place, our children will leave the academy prepared for the next steps of their educational journey.
A concrete, pictorial abstract approach is used in the academy, which supports children’s learning and fosters a sense of engagement, wonder and curiosity in this core subject. Through the use of concrete resources children are able to manipulate and visualise new and unfamiliar mathematical concepts. This lays the foundations for a secure understanding before progressing to pictorial and abstract ideas involving reasoning and problem solving.
In maths, we believe consistency is key in order for children to confidently master concepts and build on them in the following year groups. The academy’s visual calculation policy ensures that the teaching of mental and formal methods of the four operations is cumulative and consistent across the academy. Mathematically-friendly classrooms can be found throughout the academy. Every classroom features a Math’s Working Wall, which acts as a reference to support children in their learning. Working Walls are regularly updated and changed to show concepts and ideas being covered in the classroom at that time.
Fluency of core skills (place value, the four operations and recall of multiplication tables) is imperative as they are utilised and built upon in all other areas of the math’s curriculum. We provide opportunities in our weekly timetable for children to become secure in these areas: weekly skills checks; morning mental math’s and problems; and daily times tables practice. Our yearly coverage document provides opportunities at the beginning of every term for children to revisit and embed core skills – place value and the four operations. Times Table Rockstars in Years 2 to 6 is being used to support children with their fluency and recall, as well as prepare them for the new national Year 4 Multiplication Tables Check. This resource can be used both in school and at home, supporting and strengthening home-school links.
Through the use of both formative and summative assessment tools, we are able to ensure that children are given targeted learning and still receive an appropriate level of challenge. With this in mind, pre-assessments are used by staff before teaching a new area of mathematics to ensure learning and tasks are tailored to individuals and to avoid the static ‘ability’ grouping of children, which can often contribute to a child’s negative perceptions of the subject. Live-marking is used throughout math’s lesson in order for children to have instant verbal feedback, for any misconceptions to be addressed and for challenge to be provided. Our academy has worked hard to foster a ‘can-do’ culture, and to encourage children to ‘have a go’. This can be seen throughout the classrooms in the academy, and our children relish the opportunity to be challenged. Alongside this, half-termly assessments enable teachers to have a clearer picture of individual’s progress in the different areas of math’s that have been covered. Together, these steps ensure that the planning and delivery of math’s lessons are accurately pitched to their ability and level of development.
With the above in place, we are able to ensure that children leave our academy at the end of Year 6 prepared and equipped for high school; they have a secure foundation on which to continue to develop their mathematical skills. Alongside this, the procedures and strategies in place for mathematics enables children, throughout their primary school journey, to be prepare for key transitions.
As an academy, our children have consistently left Greenways achieving the national expectations. In Early Years, the majority of our children continually transition into Key Stage 1 with having achieved the Early Learning Goals in number. The percentage of children achieving the mathematics ELG’s has risen consistently for the last four consecutive years. In Key Stage 1 data there is an upward trend in children’s attainment being above the national average. Meanwhile, in Key Stage 2, there is a positive trend in the number of children leaving year 6 above national at both age related expectations and greater depth.
At Greenways, we are passionate about ensuring children are equipped, with what we believe, are essential life skills in mathematics. Through being positive role models to the children, we foster a love and curiosity for this core subject.