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Mathematics

Mathematics at Pyrcroft Grange

After much research Pyrcroft Grange has decided as a school to develop the mastery approach to mathematics across all year groups from 2017 onwards. Mastery is not a new term or theory, having first been proposed by Benjamin Bloom in the late 1960s who suggested that all children can learn in depth if the topic is approached sensitively, systematically and any difficulties or misconceptions addressed in a timely fashion.

For mathematics, a mastery curriculum has its roots in the methods used by teachers from south-east Asian countries such as Singapore or Japan. During the past year, several of our teachers have had the opportunity to observe mastery teachers visiting from Singapore and have attended many training opportunities to enable them to become confident in the approach. We are also using White Rose Maths Hub schemes of work to help plan our curriculum alongside some of the new text books available to support mastery learning.

What are the characteristics of the mastery approach?

One of the significant differences of the mastery curriculum is that children are taught in mixed ability classes or groups. All children tend to study the same content at the same time. This highlights the belief that all children can succeed and demonstrates the high expectations that teachers have of all pupils. That is not to say that children aren’t supported or challenged. For children who find a particular topic more difficult, teachers will put same day interventions and ‘keep up’ sessions in place. For children who are ready for a challenge, teachers will use questioning or problem solving activities to allow the children to apply their learning and understanding. One of the main aims of the mastery approach is to make sure that children have a strong grasp of a concept before moving onto something new and this is achieved through small step, carefully crafted lessons.

To enable children to be successful with this curriculum it is important that they have a strong grasp of mathematical facts such as times tables, number bonds to many different numbers and an understanding of related facts. For example:

Having a strong factual fluency helps children to free up thinking space when working on more complex or multi-step problems. During the day, teachers will make time to practise these facts but it is also important that they continue to practise at home whenever a spare moment or opportunity arises.

How are children supported with their learning?

Another key feature of the mastery curriculum is the use of concrete objects or resources to support children in the development of mathematical understanding. Wherever possible and practical, all children, regardless of age or stage of development, will have the opportunity to work with carefully chosen manipulatives. The purpose of these resources is to develop deep structural understanding of mathematics and the children’s ability to make connections between concrete and more abstract concepts. The use of high quality resources has been proven to lead to sustained learning and more in depth knowledge. Pyrcroft Grange has been fortunate enough to be able to invest in many new manipulatives and all classrooms are well resourced for the entire mathematics curriculum. 

In Years 5 & 6, some children have had the opportunity to use Third Space Learning which is an online resource where children work with an individual personal tutor on a particular mathematical concept decided by their teacher or via an online assessment. We have found huge benefits of using this platform in terms of children being able to talk about their mathematical understanding and the discussion of their ability to apply their learning in context.

Continuing the development of mastery at Pyrcroft Grange

To make sure that the mastery approach becomes embedded at Pyrcroft, we are committed to continuing development of all teachers and practitioners with regular training both on site and at many of the courses offered by our local Maths Hub. We are currently fortunate enough to be working as part of a teacher research group analysing the mastery approach, observing advanced skills teachers, inviting specialists into our school to help with the planning or delivery of lessons and looking at other possible schemes of work or text books. All teachers at Pyrcroft Grange are excited and enthusiastic about our new approach and our pupil voice shows that this has motivated and raised the profile of mathematics for our pupils. 

 

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Times Table Expectations Year Rec Expectations Year 1 Expectations Year 2 Expectations
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Year 3 Expectations Year 4 Expectations Year 5 Expectations Year 6 Expectations

                                                              

To read our full Math Policy and Calculation policy please see Policies under Our School section of the website