At Our Lady of Perpetual Help Primary School, we take a Mastery approach to the teaching and learning of mathematics. Fundamentally, this rests in the belief that all children can and must be successful in the study of mathematics. We do not accept that ‘some people cannot do maths’, we do not accept that mathematical study is boring or unnecessary, we also do not accept that prior attainment should limit what a child is capable of learning. Mathematics is for everyone at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Primary School.
We plan our learning by designing coherent extended units of work in the medium term which take into account the relevant mathematical progression. This allows our children to master the area of mathematics being studied before moving on to new learning. To support us in our long and medium term planning, we use Mathematics Mastery plans from Reception to Year 6, however, we adapt these plans to suit the needs of our children. We break our medium-term plans down into small steps which become our individual lessons.
We aim for all children to move together through learning at the same rate, this ensures that gaps in understanding are avoided. Such gaps serve to hold some children back in the future. Therefore, we do not differentiate by activity; we believe that this creates gaps in learning and sends a message that not all children need to learn the content of each lesson. It represents a cap on expectations. All children are given the same work initially. Children are given the opportunity to deepen their understanding through targeted questioning and tasks planned for this specific purpose.
Intervention Children, who do not meet the learning objective for a lesson, are identified within the lesson and are given a same-day intervention, where possible, to ensure that they are ready to move on to the next day’s learning. If the majority of the class have struggled, our teachers would seek to identify if there was a step in the progression that had been missed, if a pre-requisite from earlier learning was not understood fully by the children, or if the learning objective of the lesson needed further honing. After a reflection, our teachers would then respond appropriately the next day. This fluidity in the short term allows us to respond precisely to the needs of our children.
Children’s work in books usually includes elements of fluency, reasoning and problem solving to ensure that our children are exposed to varied question and problem styles. We aim to use progressive questioning within lessons, starting with easier questions that are accessible, and concluding with questions that pose more of a challenge, but always based around the same piece of learning. Our teachers do not give our children endless calculations to solve, but use procedural variation in their question selection. We give feedback orally throughout mathematics lesson so that it is at the point of learning, and written feedback supports this, where it is useful.