At Brunton First School, we value mathematics.
We want our children to understand that Maths is essential to everyday life and a necessary life skill. We want our children to grow up with a deep understanding of maths, applying it to their chosen career path whatever that maybe. We want our children to leave Brunton feeling not only confident mathematicians but with a lifelong positive relationship with the subject and have designed our maths curriculum accordingly.
Through the effective delivery of our maths curriculum, we aim to develop confident, reflective, independent problem solvers for Brunton children of today and for tomorrow.
At Brunton we ensure that every child, in every maths lesson is both challenged and supported in order to develop their mathematical thinking and resilience to problem solving. Our Maths curriculum ensures that children are active participants in their learning process, they are challenged to think, question, reflect and discuss. By the end of Year 4, we aspire that a Brunton mathematician will accurately and efficiently calculate an answer to a question while articulating a reasoned response. Children will be able to apply these calculation skills and understanding of other areas to become confident and resilient problem-solvers.
We teach our children to build a deep understanding of concepts, which will enable them to apply their learning in different situations. Maths is taught through a range of practical and written activities enabling them to develop their fluency, reasoning and ability to solve problems. In order to support teachers and pupils achieve our aims, we balance the requirements of the National Curriculum with the mastery approach supported by the Great North Maths Hub.
(Appendix 1 – 5 Big ideas of Mastery at Brunton)
The 2014 National Curriculum for Maths aims to ensure that all children:
• Become fluent in the fundamentals of Mathematics
• Are able to reason mathematically
• Can solve problems by applying their mathematical knowledge
At Brunton First, these skills are embedded within each Maths lessons and developed consistently over time. We are committed to ensuring that every child develops a sound understanding of Maths, equipping them with the skills of calculation, reasoning and problem solving that they need in life beyond school.
Our maths curriculum is designed with our key curriculum drivers in mind.
Successful Life Long Learners (Metacognition)
Recommendation one in the ‘Improving Mathematics in Early Years and Key Stage1’ guidance report suggests that ‘The development of self-regulation and metacognitive skills are linked to successful learning in early mathematics.’
Metacognition underpins nearly every aspect of problem solving. When children are presented with opportunities to monitor and regulate their thinking during problem solving, they are not only refining their metacognitive skills, but may also even be more successful in solving the problem.
At Brunton, we recognise that children need to be prepared for an ever-changing world. Therefore, woven into each of our lessons, we teach our children to develop a growth mindset in order to build resilience to problem solving, a desire to learn, to continually challenge themselves while encouraging others, all of which are necessary for children’s success within maths at school and in their future.
At Brunton we not only want children to become efficient and effective problem solvers, but we want to give them the language to be able to effectively and confidently communicate their understanding of key concepts and reasoning.
Recommendation two in the ‘Improving Mathematics in Early Years and Key Stage1’ guidance report suggest that practitioners should create extended opportunities for extended discussion of mathematical ideas with children. Mike Askey supports this statement ‘Talk should be central to mathematical lessons. It is not simply that children are talking about mathematics, but they are talking mathematics. (Askew, M. (2016) Private Talk Public Conversation)
At Brunton, we provide children with opportunities to engage in dialogue, discuss and debate their ideas. We do this is a variety of ways to support children to speak like a mathematician.
Talk partners – Children are encouraged to discuss ideas or solve problems alongside their peers through paired talk.
‘Sentence Stems’ – During lessons we provide children with key vocabulary and sentence stems to support their talk around maths. The ‘sentence stems’ help children capture, connect and apply important mathematical ideas.
Stories – Books provide a great way for stimulating discussion around mathematical concepts that can be seen in the images.
By providing multiple opportunities to reflect, explain and justify their answers while using key vocabulary we aim to achieve our vision for our children at Brunton.
The maths curriculum is sequenced to ensure that knowledge gained is built upon, aiding progression and retrieval of previous learning. Our children understand the importance of the knowledge gained through their maths lesson and how it can be transferred to all areas of the curriculum. Exposing children to problems in real life contexts enables them to not only be Middle School ready, but they can also apply their learning from Brunton to their future career paths and to the wider world. Maths Week and Enterprise Week’s throughout the year further underpin the importance of maths and how it can be used in a range of real-life contexts.
Cultural Capital is the essential knowledge that children need to prepare them for their future success – in the world of work, in relationships forged throughout life and as a valued contributor to society. When beginning their first school journey in the EYFS, many children arrive to school with different and sometimes more limited experiences than others. Therefore, our aim is to give children the knowledge and skills to prepare them for what comes next in their lives. This includes the relevant vocabulary needed throughout their education and the opportunity to link maths to real-world problem solving.
The personal development of children’s, spiritually, morally, socially and culturally, plays a significant part in children’s ability to learn and achieve, which is why at Brunton we weave this through school life and our curriculum.
Spiritual – Maths supports children’s spiritual development by helping them to develop deep thinking and questioning the way in which the world works. Through maths, children gain an appreciation of the richness and importance of maths in our everyday lives.
Moral – Maths supports children’s moral development through discussion about maths understanding, challenging assumptions, supporting children to question information and data they are presented with.
Social – Maths supports children’s social development by promoting self-esteem and building self-confidence. Maths encourages collaborative learning in the classroom through discussions. Children develop their mathematical voice and ability to reason and explain their answer to others.
Cultural – Maths supports children’s cultural development by developing appreciation that maths, its associated language and symbols have development from many different cultures from around the world, Egyptian, Greek and Islamic.
Mathematics is all around us in our everyday lives, so at Brunton we strive towards ensuring that all pupils are resilient and happy and inspired mathematicians who can apply their knowledge, understanding, skills and abilities to all manner of situations. We offer opportunities for pupils to be challenged in a secure environment in order to develop independent and reflective learners. The children are taught and encouraged to make links between the areas of mathematics, to think logically, demonstrate reasoning skills and to apply these skills to more abstract concepts. These abilities do not only allow them to progress and succeed in mathematics but in all areas of the curriculum.
Since Covid, some children have come back with maths anxiety, thinking they are not good at maths or maths is too tricky and they can’t do it. Research says that maths anxiety compromises the functioning of working memory (Ashcroft and Krause 2007). It has been proven that maths anxiety directly links to poor performance in the subjects.
At Brunton First School, we support reducing maths anxiety by removing time pressures on learning episodes, where appropriate. Time is important, and quick recall is necessary. However, pace of learning and varying practise tasks are carefully designed to support children not to feel overwhelmed when on their learning journey. In addition, we use tools such as manipulatives to reduce the demand on the working memory.
Other ways to reduce children’s anxiety include using breathing techniques and helping children express how they are feeling and learn to self-regulate their emotions.
Askew, M. (2016) Private Talk Public Conversation (article) From Mike@mikeaskew.net on NCETM EY Website.
Ashcraft, M and Krause, J (2007) ‘Working memory, math performance, and math anxiety.’