Maths at Cornerstone Schools
Our vision is for all children to be able to access an engaging, coherent and challenging journey through maths with the belief that they can achieve an in-depth understanding. We aim to build mathematicians with strong foundations for a lifelong and deep understanding of mathematics. Each year is planned carefully to enable the children to build on from their previous learning.
Inspired by a teaching philosophy from Asia, the teaching for mastery approach is being adopted across the country, and here at Cornerstone Schools, we believe that over the longer term, this is the way that mathematics should be taught so that children can apply maths in the wider world as they grow up.
The mathematics lessons and curriculum we provide help and guide our pupils to make sense of the numerical world around them by being fluent in basic number facts, understanding patterns and applying learning to real-life problems.
What we are doing to move towards a mastery approach?
The teaching for mastery approach aims to provide all children with the opportunity to learn the basic foundations of mathematics earlier on in their school lives, and then build on these and gain a deeper understanding of all concepts throughout their academic journey in school. We are currently working towards a long-term goal of implementing and modifying the teaching for mastery approach, undertaking much training and development, in order to deliver an even better education for your children.
What you will see in maths lessons?
We endeavour to teach lessons that are stimulating and interesting, in addition to keeping a keen eye on the fact that many mental skills need hard work and regular practice.
Teachers are currently using Power Maths as a resource to plan coherent lessons that enable pupils to make small steps on their journey through mathematical concepts. The learning will focus on one key conceptual idea and connections are made across mathematical topics. Additional resources are used to reinforce, consolidate or deepen children’s learning. To outsiders it may appear that the pace of the lesson is slower, but progress and understanding is enhanced.
In all lessons teachers plan carefully the representations that are used (concrete resources) to help to support children’s mathematical understanding of the concept being taught. Pupils have opportunities to talk to their partners and explain/clarify their thinking. Teachers use questions to challenge thinking, to check understanding. A variety of questions are used, but you will hear the same ones being repeated: How do you know? Can you prove it? Are you sure? Can you represent it another way? What’s the value? What’s the same/different about? Can you explain that? What does your partner think? Can you imagine? Can you show me how you know?
Our medium term plan has been drawn up specifically for this year to prioritise key skills in number and embed these firmly before moving on.
There is a whole school focus on developing an instant recall of key facts, such as: number bonds, times tables, division facts, addition and subtraction facts.
Interventions and Support
Pupils’ difficulties and misconceptions are identified through immediate formative assessment and addressed where possible within the normal maths lesson (e.g. through small focused group with the teacher or TA or by revisiting a small step from a previous year group to the one they are currently in) or with rapid intervention to enable them to close the gap.
EYFS & Mathematics
There are six main areas that collectively underpin children’s early mathematical learning, and which provide the firm foundations for the maths that children will encounter as they go up the years in primary school.
- Cardinality and Counting: understanding that the cardinal value of a number refers to the quantity, or ‘how manyness’ of things it represents
- Comparison: understanding that comparing numbers involves knowing which numbers are worth more or less than each other
- Composition: understanding that one number can be made up from (composed from) two or more smaller numbers
- Pattern: looking for and finding patterns helps children notice and understand mathematical relationships
- Shape and Space: understanding what happens when shapes move, or combine with other shapes, helps develop wider mathematical thinking
- Measures: comparing different aspects such as length, weight and volume, as a preliminary to using units to compare later
We use Numberblocks in EYFS to help children bring numbers and ideas to life in the world around them. The snappy animation and loveable characters combine with engaging storylines to gently introduce concepts of number to support early mathematical understanding.
How can you help?
- Help your child practice their mental maths targets at home, a few minutes a day is all you need
- insist that numbers are written the correct way round
- Support your child with their maths homework, play maths games with them using technology and enjoy maths together
- Talk to your child about maths, get them to explain the mathematical calculations they use and how they achieved their answer
- Encourage your child to experience and use maths in ‘everyday life’ e.g. buying things at the shop, cooking, telling the time etc.