Mathematics at Parkgate Primary
‘Whether you think you can, or think you can’t - you’re right.’
A common held belief, is that some children can do maths and some can’t. Indeed, research shows that many reach adulthood with a belief that they just ‘can’t do’ maths.
Our Maths Lead
At Parkgate we aspire for children and adults, to learn and love mathematics; to recognise that we are surrounded by mathematical ideas which are vital for everyday life and understanding the world we live in. To know that there is no such thing as a maths ‘gene’1 – that we can all, whatever our age, learn and be successful at maths … and dare I say, love it!
Mathematics is a core subject with a range of cross-curricular links, especially through the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) however, most often, it is best taught discretely, using opportunities from other subjects to rehearse skills in a context. Mathematics involves developing confidence and competence in number work; geometry and measure; statistics and the using and applying of these skills.
At Parkgate we adhere to an approach towards achieving 'Mastery' of mathematics. At its core, a mastery approach rejects the idea that some children can’t do maths. It recognises that by nurturing positive attitudes and building confidence in mathematics, all children can achieve. Concepts are built in small, logical steps and are explored through clear mathematical structures and representations. Children are taught together as a whole class and the focus is on depth – not acceleration - so that all children have a chance to embed learning. Appropriate access provision, differentiation and additionality, assist children who are struggling to keep up and those with SEN.
Teaching is supported by high-quality resources that aid the coherent flow of lessons, provide ideas for intelligent practice, the opportunity to over-learn key skills, to think mathematically and to reason and problem solve.
At Parkgate we have devised and written PAL Maths - Practice And Learn - a fifteen minute, daily key skills session in Key Stages 1 and 2. Sessions provide opportunities to practice and be fluent in the fundamentals: to count, over-learn and rapidly recall number facts; to consolidate number skills and calculate efficiently and accurately. Two assessments – Facts and Challenge – are completed, by all children, weekly. Our Home School termly targets system reflects the key facts taught in PAL sessions. Additionally, PAL maths is complemented by the Parkgate, half-termly facts Challenge Championships and weekly celebration of achievement for Times Tables Rock Stars.
Regular ‘green paper’ challenges, facilitate opportunities to apply skills and knowledge, to reason mathematically – follow an idea and explain thinking. Alongside Captain Trio we have established and use the thinking acronym STAR – Stop Think Act Review – which includes practical problem solving prompts and sentence stems to support oral and written explanations. These ideas have been developed to encourage and enable all children to access routine and non-routine problems. Additionally, regular problem solving mornings facilitate the development of key ‘types’ of problems.
I’m Captain Trio. See if you can spot me when you are in school!
At Parkgate Primary School we aspire for all children to have a love and understanding of maths, to recognise that they are surrounded by and use mathematical ideas, not just throughout the school day, but constantly in everyday life.
Try Reasoning It Out
symbolises reasoning and problem
solving at Parkgate.
Our curriculum is designed to ensure that the children become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics – to count, recall number facts and calculate efficiently; to be able to reason mathematically and to problem solve.
This is achieved through daily one hour maths lessons in key stages 1 and 2, the regular practice of key skills through our Big Maths sessions throughout all key stages and the opportunity to further apply skills, knowledge and understanding through our integrated afternoons.
Confidence, resilience and a ‘can do’ attitude are nurtured through our teaching and learning strategies; where the use of models, images and mathematical language are at the heart of our approach.
Further support and curriculum guidance is available by year group.
By the time Parkgate children leave year 6, we expect they will have confidence in their ability to do well, to have an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics; a sense of enjoyment – if not love! – and curiosity about the subject.
Jo Boaler – YouCubed, Stanford University