At Townfield Primary School, it is our vision that
- Children have a positive attitude to maths; teachers nurture the excitement of discovery as children grasp new concepts.
- Children show a growth mindset in maths, a ‘can do’ attitude, especially when solving problems.
- Children reason confidently, using suitable mathematical language to communicate their thinking clearly.
- Children can manipulate mathematical problems to simplify them; they choose efficient calculation methods to solve problems.
- Children show a resolve to learn mathematical facts and can confidently derive new facts.
- Children experience a wide range of models, visual representations and practical resources to develop a deep conceptual understanding alongside procedural fluency.
The way we teach mathematics at Townfield
We are committed to ensuring that all pupils achieve mastery in the key concepts of mathematics.
The mathematics curriculum at Townfield Primary School follows the content of the new National Curriculum. However, it differs in one significant aspect: that ‘stage’ takes precedence over ‘age’. We believe that pupils should be introduced to the next step in calculation method when they are ready, not because they have reached a certain chronological age. (It is vital, of course, that all teachers are fully aware of the expected standards for their year group.) Furthermore, we believe that pupils should understand the methods they use; they should be able to use their chosen methods confidently, demonstrating flexibility, and calculate accurately with a variety of numbers, both whole and decimal, and in a variety of contexts.
For planning, teachers use the Lancashire Council overviews and medium-term plans, making changes where necessary to reflect the needs of the pupils. Our principle is one of making a curriculum fit our pupils, rather than making the pupils fit a curriculum. Therefore, we begin a unit by assessing what pupils need to learn, identifying gaps in their learning and making decisions about what should be focused on.
The calculation policy gives an indication of how we would expect the majority of children from each year group to tackle calculation problems.
At present, Foundation 2, as part of a cluster of schools, are trialling a different approach – one in which the learning for each week is focused on a particular number, exploring that number in all its possible contexts, thereby making links between different areas of maths.
A Collaborative Approach
We believe in the importance of collaborative learning, creating a culture in our classrooms where pupils feel confident sharing their ideas, as well as challenging others where there is difference of opinion. We therefore plan into our lessons opportunities for paired and group work.
At TPS we provide lessons that are stimulating and engage all pupils. We have developed an understanding of the importance of learning through physical activity. Therefore, we strive to find ways to present and practise mathematical concepts through movement – in other words, ‘learning on your feet’. This sometimes results in lessons that take place outside.
We believe that being numerate is as important as being literate. Therefore, to create a fairer balance between numeracy and literacy in the school curriculum, we provide children with opportunities to develop their numeracy skills outside maths lessons. We provide children with morning maths tasks on at least three mornings a week before registration. To maximise its impact, we encourage children to be in school at 8:45am.
At TPS we recognise the importance of learning key mental skills as well as learning, by heart, key mathematical facts. Each week pupils focus on a particular skill or group of facts to learn. (This is shared with parents through the Magic Maths books, which the children take home.) These often relate to the ten key targets on the mental maths chart.
At TPS, we present children with opportunities to explore maths outside maths lessons. This is most evident in their science and topic work.