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Maths Mastery

Mathematics makes a significant contribution to modern society and at Laurel Lane we consider it to be vital for the life opportunities of our children. We strive to enable fascination and excitement to discover mathematical concepts and to broaden pupils’ knowledge and understanding of how mathematics is used in the wider world.

At Laurel Lane we ensure children have transferable mathematical skills, the ability to reason and solve problems, and a well-developed vocabulary. We believe that the language of Mathematics is international, the subject transcends cultural boundaries and its importance is universally recognised. We therefore use this in our approach to ensure that compassion and empathy is being taught. We provide pupils with the opportunity to explore mathematics using a range of concrete, abstract and pictorial resources.

Solving problems using numerical fluency is the basis of our mathematics lessons. We hope children experience a sense of awe and wonder as they solve a problem for the first time, discover a more elegant solution and make links between different areas of mathematics. They are practising different elements of problems solving through whole class investigations, working together, showing collaboration. We ensure that children leave Laurel Lane with a logical and creative number fluency ability and with an ability to recall key number facts such as multiplication tables. We know that this is the strongest foundation we can give our children as their use of mathematics becomes more sophisticated.

We strive at Laurel Lane, to ensure children are curious, ask questions and ultimately enjoy their maths lessons. Skills for learning are a high priority. For example being able to explain ideas and respond to feedback from teachers and peers are crucial to our curriculum. Being confident, resilient, able to persevere and show determination is at the core of what we want to achieve. After all, mathematics helps us to understand and change the world.

How Maths is taught at Laurel Lane

This is a guide for anyone who is visiting Laurel Lane to explain our approach to teaching Mathematics across the school. It is intended to explain what you can expect to see/not to see during lessons. ‚Äč

Q. What will a typical maths lesson look like?

At Laurel Lane we follow a mastery approach in which all children are taught from the same National Curriculum objectives for their year group.  Through working this way, we give all children the opportunity to achieve mastery at their pace and level. We have high expectations in all maths lessons. A typical maths lesson will include fluency, problem solving and reasoning so that children apply what they have learned within the context of a story, problem or puzzle. Lessons may be fast or slow paced: depending on how children grasp the concept being taught. Teachers are encouraged to be flexible and react to the children's needs as the lesson progresses. There may be mini plenaries and my turn - your turn teaching so that children have maths concepts embedded fully. We aim for depth of understanding rather than acceleration through content.

Q. Where are the lessons and resources planned from?

Lessons are designed to follow a concrete > pictorial > abstract approach. Tasks and activities will be taken from a variety of resources such as White Rose Hub, Classroom Secrets, NRICH, NCETM, Problem Solved and Talk It, Solve It.

Q. Maths Displays and Resources

Each classroom has a working maths display which demonstrates how children may approach tasks and develop skills. These show models which help children to tackle the maths. Each classroom also has maths resources available and all children are trained and encouraged to use these to support their learning.

Q. Are lessons differentiated?

All children are taught the same objective; however, lessons are differentiated through developing or expected tasks rather than acceleration through an objective. Some children will need extra support and others will be challenged with greater depth questions in which they apply their understanding. Children work with talk partners and these are changed on a regular basis so that children will have opportunity to work with a variety of children. This provides peer to peer support and scaffolds their learning.

Q. What will the tasks in books look like? Will I see different abilities?

Some work in children’s book will look similar however they may have completed this work differently. Some children will have been supported by the teacher / LSA or worked independently. Some will have used concrete apparatus or worked abstractly. In order to promote a greater depth of understanding in mathematics you will see procedural calculations alongside problem solving and reasoning.  You will see children explaining or proving their answers so that teachers can assess their understanding.  

Q. How are Learning Support Assistants used in lessons?

Learning Support Assistants are not restricted to the lower ability pupils within lessons. During the lesson, the teacher and LSA will circulate around the class supporting groups or individual learners where appropriate. Through careful planning and preparation of resources, lower ability pupils are encouraged to work with some independence within the maths lesson.

Q. Where do you record evidence for fluency, reasoning and problem solving?

At Laurel Lane we are committed to giving pupils ‘Time to Talk’ during the maths lesson. If children are to become problem solvers, then they need time to explain their understanding and reasoning. This cannot always be recorded; however, you will see this during observations of lessons. Classrooms will be noisier as children communicate their ideas to one another. Each day, children will develop their fluency skills and focus on their current multiplication and division facts.  In Reception and Key Stage 1 we are placing emphasis on learning number bonds within 10 and then within 20. 

Q. Are classes in groups or sets?

No. You will see whole class teaching. Children are paired in mixed abilities. We have high expectations for every pupil and believe all can achieve mastery at their own level.

Q. How do you make sure that high-attainers are challenged?

Teachers will differentiate questioning to promote deep learning. Children are challenged through greater depth and through mastery tasks from either NRICH and NCETM: designing and solving their own problems, explaining and proving their answers and being expected to provide more mathematically accurate explanations by refining their language choices. 

Times Tables

To supplement the children's knowledge of Times Tables, we also subscribe to Times Table Rockstars, which is an online platform that helps your child to develop their recall of times table and also their knowledge of the related division facts.

This is especially important for children in Year 4, who this year are expected to compelte the Year 4 Times Table check.