At Northwood Primary School, our vision is to give our children the opportunity to master mathematical skills which they can apply to become effective problem solvers.
Because we strive to grow ‘problem solving mathematicians’ at Northwood, and we are aware of the need for a secure understanding, we employ a mastery approach towards the teaching of maths. This ensures that our pupils have the opportunity to master skills and gain a deeper understanding before moving on to other concepts. During lessons, we allow children with ample opportunities to develop their fluency through being exposed to a range of representations as we want children to embrace mathematical questions, challenges and have a bank of strategies to solve these with. Once children are fluent, they are given the opportunity to ‘apply’ their knowledge and understanding through reasoning and problem solving.
Within maths lessons, we use concrete apparatus (objects pupils can touch and manipulate) and visual representations to support children with developing their understanding of mathematical ideas. By using the concrete and pictorial representations alongside abstract concepts, we hope that children gain the confidence needed to become independent learners and problem solvers. Throughout their mathematical journey at Northwood, we intend for our children to know that maths problem solving is a journey and the steps are as equally as important as the answer and our approach to maths will help support this.
In order for children to achieve these goals in maths, our pupils have regular opportunities to practise their written calculations in daily arithmetic sessions. As well as this, here at Northwood, we recognise how fundamental fluency of key number facts and recall of times tables is to later success in maths. Because of this, alongside arithmetic practice, our Early Years and Key Stage 1 follow the Number Sense Programme while Years 3 and 4 follow our times table strategy (link found here. These enable children to build a secure understanding of the fundamentals of maths and allows them to progress into confident mathematicians. To supplement the teaching of times tables, children across the school also have access to Times Tables Rockstars and engage in regular practice to ensure that times tables automaticity is reached. To ensure the profile and importance of times tables is shared, the school participates in inter-school competitions as well as trust-wide competitions! This ensures that children improve their recall speed while also battling fellow rockstars in the local area.
During lessons, children are given opportunities to deepen their understanding of maths and master concepts at a speed that is relevant to their needs. We achieve this by not only expecting children to answer questions, but analyse, explore and dissect the question in order to apply effective strategies. This allows children to build a greater understanding as well as confidence in new mathematical concepts. Additionally, within lessons we aim to use concrete resources to support children’s understanding. If children are not secure with concepts, we aim to use same day/before next lesson intervention to provide scaffolding to support children to master mathematical ideas.
The impact of the teaching and learning of mathematics at Northwood Primary school will result in children becoming more confident in approaching mathematics. They will enjoy and develop a passion for the subject because of their growing confidence and profile it is given across the school. As they will become fluent in the fundamentals of maths, they will be able to reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, identifying links and relationships and justify their ideas using mathematical vocabulary. Because of this depth of understanding, they will be able to rely on a range of strategies and mathematical understanding to solve problems, showing the school virtue of resilience.