Maths at Alderton Junior School
Mathematics is a key skill which children will use all their lives. Here at the Alderton Junior School we aim to deliver a high-quality Mathematics curriculum that provides a foundation for understanding the world, an appreciation of the beauty and power of Mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment about the subject. We place great emphasis on deepening conceptual understanding and mastery of number, application of skills, problem-solving and practical tasks coupled with learning and memorising key number facts such as multiplication and division tables as soon as possible. Mathematical concepts are further enhanced by using and applying these skills across other areas of the curriculum. Our lessons will be focussed on developing three key Dimensions of Depth, which are interdependent and, together, make effective maths lessons:
Language and Communication
Pupils respond confidently to questions expecting them to justify choices or explain their thinking. They use accurate mathematical language and speak fluently on age-appropriate content, as well as having the confidence to attempt to reason through more challenging, open-ended questions. They reason through and discuss appropriate strategies to solve increasingly complex problems and investigations.
Our maths curriculum supports progression throughout KS2 and has a strong CPA thread running throughout. This means that children are exposed to conceptual ideas at a concrete level with a range of apparatus (e.g. counters, beads, diennes and Numicon) before moving on pictorial representations. This may mean diagrams, sketches or using the bar model to solve problems. Doing so develops children’s deep conceptual understanding and skills proficiency which supports the next move into abstract mathematics, such as long division.
Pupils move fluently between different representations of mathematical concepts, including accurate use of conventional abstract-symbolic notation (where appropriate) and the accurate use of mathematical language in explanations. They can make connections between different representations, considering what aspects they stress or ignore of a given concept. They use appropriate pictorial and concrete representations as scaffolds for explanations of their mathematical thinking. Understanding deepens and is built upon over time. Pupils recall and fluently apply learning that has been embedded through meaning, allowing them to make connections between areas of mathematics and to make sense of increasingly complex problems.
Pupils approach problems in an organised and systematic fashion and, increasingly independently, notice patterns, relationships and familiar properties in their work. They feel encouraged to conjecture about what they notice and attempt to convince with specific examples, using accurate mathematical language and the use of appropriate representations as scaffolds (concrete, pictorial or abstract or a combination). They make connections between different mathematical ideas and with real-life contexts, supported by a growing ability to generalise. Over time, pupils begin to fluently identify familiar structures and patterns in unfamiliar contexts and problems, applying known procedures and mathematical knowledge to find efficient or elegant solutions and to provide reasonable responses to Mathematical Problem Solving hypothetical questions. Pupils evaluate their work and their own understanding and become increasingly proficient at solving problems over time.
Key Stage 2
In Years Three to Six children follow the National Curriculum Mathematics Programmes of Study. These are set out in six domains:
Number – including Number and Place Value, Addition and Subtraction, Multiplication and Division and Fractions including Decimals (Year 4, 5 & 6) and Percentages (Year 5 & 6).
Ratio and Proportion (Year 6 only).
Algebra (Year 6 only).
Geometry – Properties of Shapes and Position and Direction.
The main outcomes for children are to:
All our children acquire a deep and secure conceptual understanding of Number as the firm foundation for developing fluency.
All our children develop a range of mental calculation strategies and by the end of LKS2 they are secure with using a written method for all four rules of Number. They make reasonable and informed decisions when choosing the most efficient strategy/method when calculating.
All our children can apply their knowledge and understanding in a range of contexts.
All our children develop a problem-solving approach; building skills of resilience and perseverance and making links with the wider world.
All our children can reason and draw upon a repertoire of mathematical vocabulary to support their arguments.
All our children have equal access to rich mathematical learning experiences regardless of race, culture, gender, special educational needs or disability.
All our children are exploring and demonstrating mathematical ideas, enriching their learning experience and deepening understanding.
Maths Meetings happens each day for 10-15 minutes to practise ongoing mathematical learning and reinforce memory of key knowledge and skills. This is an opportunity to plan in practise and recall of basic skills, reinforcing arithmetic and areas of learning that need constant reinforcement (such as key facts) and to ensure pupils learn key knowledge that is often skipped over or minimised in typical maths curriculums such as learning time, timetabling, months of the year/days of the week, shape, angles and counting.
Fluent in Five
Fluent in Five is timetabled each day for 10-15 minutes to practise mental and written arithmetic skills which is important in order to keep calculation skills fresh. This is especially important given we now use the Maths Mastery programme with longer blocks spent on each topic area, but without each topic area being revisited. Fluent in Five provides a daily set of arithmetic practice, designed to help children develop and maintain in both written and mental calculations. The structure of Fluent in Five is also designed to help children distinguish between written and mental calculations.
Rapid Reasoning is timetabled each day alongside Fluent in Five providing pupils with reasoning questions for them to answer. These types of questions are essential as they help children develop and practise their reasoning skills. It is designed to complement our Fluent in Five resource, which provides daily fluency practice.
The resource is structured so that certain objectives are introduced each week, and that these objectives are focused upon, appearing multiple times within the week, providing opportunity for you to develop these skills throughout the week.
Pupils will be assessed termly on their Mathematical subject knowledge. NFER Tests are used to summarise pupil attainment and progress for the term.This also allows for Gap Analysis and planning to address areas of development every term. Teachers will assess daily and will adapt planning to support children to develop their learning.
Please see the attached leaflets that explain the fundamentals of maths for every year group. There are also lots of ideas, websites and practical ways to support your child with maths.
Multiplication Tables Check
All primary school-aged children are expected to know their times tables up to 12 x 12 by heart. In fact, they are expected to have mastered their times tables by the end of Year 4.
Until now, there had been no formal measure to judge whether children in England had learnt their times tables or not – with a formal judgement only somewhat made from a child’s Year 6 Maths SATs performance. So, the idea is for the Multiplication Tables Check to be taken towards the end of Year 4 to make sure children are meeting the benchmark of memorising their times tables up to 12 x 12 before moving up to Upper Key Stage 2 (Year 5 and Year 6).
From the 2019/20 academic year onwards, all state-funded maintained schools and academies (including free schools) in England will be required to administer an online multiplication tables check (MTC) to year 4 pupils.
The national curriculum specifies that pupils should be taught to recall the multiplication tables up to and including 12 × 12 by the end of year 4.
The purpose of the MTC is to determine whether pupils can recall their times tables fluently, which is essential for future success in mathematics. It will help schools to identify pupils who have not yet mastered their times tables, so that additional support can be provided.
Schools will have a 3-week window to administer the MTC. Teachers will have the flexibility to administer the check to individual pupils, small groups or a whole class at the same time.
The Multiplication Tables Check has been described as “an online, on-screen digital assessment" – meaning the children will take the test on a desktop computer, laptop or tablet (such as an iPad) at school.
The times tables test will be timed, with the entire assessment lasting approximately 5 minutes in total. The children will be set a handful of practice questions to begin with – mostly from the one times table. Following the practice questions, the test itself will comprise of 25 questions, all formatted, for example, as 2 x 5 = with the child required to input the product or result, which in the example we’ve provided would mean inputting the answer 10.
Children will be given six seconds to answer each of the questions, with a three second blank gap between each question.
The questions will be randomly selected by the testing programme from 121 different options, ranging from 2 x 2 = up to 12 x 12. The test’s software has been programmed to show children more questions from the 6, 7, 8, 9 and 12 times tables, as these are trickier times tables focused on more in Years 3 and 4. (The 2s, 5s and 10s are more of a focus in Years 1 and 2.)
Each child’s result will be passed on to their school, and the Deptment for Education will create a report on overall results across all schools in England to measure whether national times tables results improve over the coming years.
It is understood that most schools will not tell children their results or that parents will be informed either (but the DfE have yet to issue any advice to date).
One thing is for sure though – a school’s results will not be published in any public way, nor will they be used in informing any type of league or performance table.
No child will fail the times tables test as no pass mark has been set. It is also important to note that all children will be tested on is their times tables knowledge – with no problem solving skills being assessed and not even a single division question being asked!
Children in Year 4 will only be asked times tables questions, like 3 x 3 = 9.
We would recommend a number of strategies to support your child in the run-up to and after the times tables test including:
Ms Ciara Connolly