My name is Clare Barton, and I am our school's Maths subject lead. While they are with us, we want all children to love arithmetic, enjoy figuring out the most effective approach to calculate, and build confidence in solving mathematical problems. We work to develop a growth mindset in maths; it's critical that we dispel the misconception that some people can't do maths (which they frequently hear), so that they actually feel that with the right instruction and practise, everyone can do maths and enjoy a mathematical challenge. Our approach is to help all children to succeed in maths. We encourage students to be fantastic mathematicians throughout the school...
What do great mathematicians do?
- Represent numbers and problems in different ways, using physical resources and drawing pictures
- Explain their mathematical thinking in words.
- Choose the most efficient method to solve a problem.
- Check their answers using a different method.
- Recall number facts quickly to speed up calculating - number bonds and times tables
- Look for patterns and links.
- Use their maths skills to solve real-life problems
Basic numeracy abilities are essential life skills for all children; it is critical in the management of their own finances and a key element in science, technology and engineering as well as medicine and business. In addition, it promotes the development of a logical and methodical mindset, as well as the ability to focus and solve a wide range of problems in all walks of life.
We focus on developing a proficiency in place value understanding, then the key operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, progressing to applying the most effective arithmetic methods to solve problems involving fractions, decimal numbers, percentages, geometry, statistics, and, in Year 6, ratio and proportion and algebra. We place a strong focus on not only finding and answering questions, but also on learning to express mathematical reasoning in precise language. You have completely mastered a skill, if you can effectively communicate your ideas to someone else! We have a Maths Progression Map on our website that displays what we learn in each year group and how their skills develop over the course of their 7 years at MSPS.
You'll notice that the way they're taught maths now differs significantly from how you may have learned maths in school. To avoid overloading working memory and to deepen conceptual understanding, we emphasise the importance of children having a mastery of the underlying concepts in maths rather than only being able to follow procedures and very small progressive steps of comprehension at a time. We begin by introducing new concepts with actual concrete resources, such as counters, base-10 blocks, and place value charts, before progressing to visual representations, such as number lines, part-part whole models, and bar models. This may seem perplexing to adults who aren't used to them, but it helps children gain a deeper understanding of what's going on and offers them a tool to examine and visualise a problem before trying to solve it. Our calculation polices explain these small steps and representations used in each year group.
What can you do to help?
Many of you have expressed an interest in supporting and assisting your children with maths at home. If nothing else, we would ask you encourage the kids to be positive about maths and to believe that with practise and patience, anyone can learn to do it! Learning basic number facts – number bonds and times tables – is critical to assisting them in increasing the speed and efficiency of their calculations, so daily practice so that they can recall them quickly is the best thing you can do to help them. Games and songs can make this much more fun. If you want to delve deeper, then look at our progression map and/or calculation policies for any area that you want to work with them on, and please feel free to ask us if there is anything you would like us to explain to you!
Please see below for some useful links to websites used in school: