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At the Nar Valley Federation, we see the acquisition of mathematical skills as being vital for the life opportunities of our children. Through our rich and engaging mathematics curriculum, we strive to ensure that every child can both enjoy mathematics and achieve excellence. It is our hope that our concrete, pictorial and abstract approach to the subject will enable a deep, mastery-level understanding allowing our children to be confident mathematicians and resilient problem-solvers. By providing our children with regular opportunities to make links with maths in the real world and with other curriculum areas, it is our hope that children will leave the Nar Valley Federation knowing how interconnected and fundamental maths is to the world around them.
Using the 2014 National Curriculum for Mathematics as a starting point for our own mathematics curriculum, we aim to ensure that all children:
• Become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately
• Reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
• Can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.
For this reason, fluency, reasoning and problem-solving are the main drivers of our mathematics curriculum at the Nar Valley Federation, and it is expected that all children should encounter these fundamental skills multiple times over the course of every mathematics unit of learning.
Another way in which children are supported to master the mathematics curriculum at the Nar Valley Federation is by using the CPA approach. We recognise the importance of children being about to use concrete resources, before pictorial representations are created; and finally abstract records of work are made. Resources that our children use include equipment such as: Numicon, diennes, place value counters, bead strings and number lines. Having opportunities to learn and work collaboratively is also incredibly important to us, and so rich talk partners, shared investigating, and mixed ability groups allow our children to learn side by side as class.
Finally, to ensure consistency and progression from mental to written calculations, especially in our mixed-age classes, we have devised a calculation policy (see links below) that allows our children to develop a conceptual understanding of the four operations as well as procedural fluency.
Once again, to ensure consistency and progression, our Federation uses the White Rose Maths scheme as the ‘spine’ of our mathematics curriculum. Teachers ensure that mathematical learning is sequenced correctly by following the White Rose’s ‘small steps’, making adjustments as necessary for the differing needs of the children in their mixed-age classes. Teachers are encouraged to use the best resources available to teach mathematical objectives, and many also make use of resources drawn from NRICH, the NCETM and PIXL to name just a few.
The expectation is that all children are taught a daily mathematics lesson of 45 minutes to 1 hour. In addition to the daily mathematics lesson, the children also take part in daily retrieval sessions or activities that incorporate recall of vocabulary and facts as well as regular practice of strategies and methods previously taught.
As a school, we use the Tackling Tables card game and subscription website to help our children achieve automatic and accurate retrieval of multiplication tables and the corresponding division facts. The card game provides a great way for our children to build their confidence in learning their times tables, either with a partner or competitively in small groups. In the same way, the website allows the children to practise not only their multiplication and division facts against the clock, but also to work upon related areas of mathematics including rapid calculating with fractions, decimals and percentages.