At St Andrew's C.E Primary School, we are passionate about our children being confident mathematicians and that this can change our children’s lives; they are able to problem solve in the real world.
Our approach to teaching mathematics enables children to think more deeply about mathematical concepts. Pupils begin by using concrete resources, move on to pictorial representations and gain a strong understanding of mathematical concepts before moving onto abstract / written methods. It also allows them the opportunity to practise, consolidate and apply their learning and understanding to solving problems with confidence. Children are encouraged to use a range of manipulatives as physical representations of number, with dienes, place value counters and Numicon so that they have a deep understanding of the structure of numbers.
We also teach for mastery through embedding fluency, reasoning and problem solving into all lessons so that everyone masters mathematics. We teach mathematics in mixed ability classes so that all children can contribute to and benefit from class discussion and receive both the support and challenge they need.
We teach children to be efficient and fluent mathematicians and each lesson focuses on this. Having key facts at their finger tips, like number bonds to 10 and multiplication facts allows more thinking time for the children on reasoning and problem solving. We ensure fluency practice is varied and engaging within lessons and homework links to these fluency facts.
In addition to teaching fluency within mathematics, we also encourage our children to reasoning mathematically with what they know. We use partner talk for children to justify their reasons for answers, drawing on key mathematical vocabulary and discuss why some answers are correct or incorrect. Reasoning also involves children looking for patterns and making connections within mathematics. Questions and conjectures are explored and celebrated together as we moved towards a shared understanding.
Problem solving is a key element in our mathematics teaching. It allows children to apply their mathematics in real-life contexts and discussion is a key part of this process. Children begin to understand that there is no ‘one way’ to solve problems and that multiple representations can be used for the same answer. Through problem solving, children begin to become ‘flexible’ with their mathematics and develop their resilience.
Learning for the Long Term
As part of our school’s assessment procedures, we ensure learning has ‘stuck’. This is done through regular ‘Beat Its’ to assess speed and flexibility in fluency and ‘Check Its’ whereby we assess whether the children can recall things they have learned last lesson, this week, last week and last month. These are ‘low stakes’ and form part of lessons. We use daily assessment for learning to inform our next steps in learning for the children and revisit core content when needed.
KIRFs (Key Instant Recall Facts) are designed to support the development of the mental skills that underpin much of the maths work in school. They are particularly useful when calculating, be it adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing.
An important part of maths development has always been rote learning of certain maths facts. For many years this has included practising times tables and addition facts, such as numberbonds and doubles. Each half term children will be assessed on Key Instant Recall Facts (KIRFs) that will be taught in school but also need to be practised at home as well.
It is important that they know these facts thoroughly and can recall them instantly. Whilst children have a wide range of abilities in mathematics, the KIRFs are designed to be a set of facts that need to be learnt thoroughly as they build on each other year on year. Again, we stress that the children must aim to know their KIRFs inside out, back to front and with instant recall.
We strongly encourage you to engage with your children in the learning of their KIRFs and find fun and practical ways to do this. There are many online tools that you can use such as Times Table Rockstars for Years 2-6, Daily ten, Hit the button and Sumdog which can both be found through these web links.
Children should undertake these regularly as part of weekly homework. You might find that your child may need to work on some of the KIRFs from the previous year as they may not be secure in those yet.
We know that, by internalising these key facts which have been carefully structured to build upon each other term by term, year by year, children will leave our school with a much stronger foundation of mathematical understanding to build upon.
We hope that you enjoy working alongside your children with this mathematics work. Should you have any questions about the KIRFs programme, please do not hesitate to contact the school.
Primary Advantage Maths- 'making it stick'
All Saints Academy Trust have invested in 'Primary Advantage Maths.' The PA package was developed by a group of practising teachers from the PA Federation and is rooted in current research based practice in mathematics teaching and learning. It aims to develop children’s conceptual understanding and skills proficiency and is underpinned by a strong commitment to problem solving, reasoning and fluency.
By engaging with the PA Maths Programme, teachers are demonstrating a commitment to sharing the values that underpin it, namely the belief that primary mathematics is a crucial phase in laying the foundations for lifelong numeracy skills. This drives the focus on conceptual understanding, skills proficiency, problem solving, reasoning and fluency which comprises the PA Maths Programme.
Primary Advantage Maths has been used by over 100 primary schools, in Hackney, across London and beyond.
Check/Test It/Prove It
We use Primary Advantage Maths materials to check children's understanding of topics taught and to extend their learning further.