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Early Years Foundation Stage

In their first year at school, children learn about numbers through play, whole-class sessions and small-group work. They learn to recognise and order numbers, counting objects up to 20. By the end of the year, they learn to add and subtract two single-digit numbers and solve problems using doubling, halving and sharing. They also solve problems using size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money.

 From Year 1 Mathematics is taught through a range of topics:

- Number and Place Value

- Addition and Subtraction

- Multiplication and Division

- Fractions, Decimals and Percentages

- Measurement

- Geometry: Shape

- Geometry: Position and Direction (taught up to Year 4 only)

- Statistics (taught from Year 2)

These topics are taught more than once over the course of each year as specific units of work. As some concepts are easier to grasp than others, teachers will use assessments to decide which need revisiting more frequently and do so as part of lesson warm -ups (quick tasks designed to keep skills fresh.) At the bottom of this page, you will find the full list of National Curriculum objectives for each area for each year group.

How Maths is taught at Brize Norton:

One of the most important elements of learning Maths at Brize Norton is to just have a go, and not worry about mistakes. This ethic holds us in good stead for all aspects of the Maths curriculum, particularly during problem-solving and reasoning tasks when calculations (and subsequent answers) are not always obvious. In order to install a ‘can do’ and ‘have a go’ attitude, we aim to create a diverse curriculum in which learning takes places using a variety of means.

These can include:

• Using different questioning techniques (direct to seek clarification, asking for reasoning and evidence, challenging or testing for greater depth, and exploring alternative views, to name a few)

• Different stimulus (such as seeking out cross-curricular opportunities.)

• Outside learning.

• Weekly problem-solving and reasoning tasks to build greater depth of understanding and encourage the children to use their skills.

• Opportunities for children to ‘prove’ or ‘convince’ others of their methods and answers.

• Providing key language and word banks to enable the children to explain their mathematical thinking.

• Modelling, and learning, a variety of techniques to respond to questions and record answers. These can include concrete objects and the use of pictures, developing to calculations using symbols (such as x,+,- etc.)

• Learning number facts – these underpin the National Curriculum objectives we teach; knowing them creates confidence, developing skills, a positive attitude during challenging tasks and enabling depth of understanding (see below.)

• Providing fluency tasks to consolidate and practise skills and concepts, along with challenge questions to broaden the understanding of those who have grasped a method quickly.

• Regular feedback through ‘live’ marking during lessons where we can (shown by an ‘S’ or ‘VF’), or personalised comments in the children’s books (Pink – keep going; Green – improve.) Teachers set time aside in lessons for the children to respond to these and make improvements using their polishing pens.

How you can help your child:

This year, our aim is to develop our reasoning and problem-solving skills throughout the school.

How you can help your child:

• Although number bonds and multiplication tables are taught in school, and sent home for homework, regular practise is essential to really embed the facts. From Year 1, they will start to learn their number bonds to 10. These are the numbers which, added together, form 10 (e.g. 3 + 7). Children need to know these fluently and quickly, without having to count. Once they know these, they learn their number bonds to 20, 50 and 100. Children who know their number bonds are ready for multiplication tables. Again, children need to be fluent in these, able to answer any multiplication or division question up to 12 x 12 in fewer than two seconds.

• Ask them to ‘prove’ their answers, or ‘convince’ you they are correct. You could also ask them how they would explain what they have done to somebody who disagreed with what they said.

• Find out what’s involved. Become familiar with the language. For example, the NRich website has an abundance of articles on the subject (we also use this site as a teaching resource.)

Times Table Rockstars

We are extremely excited about our new subscription to Times Table Rockstars - an initiative we have adopted to raise the profile of times table facts and help the children fully consolidate them. Teachers will be setting challenges for homework, but the children are being encouraged to log on and get their groove on any time!

Podcast on Planet Parent

This podcast on Planet Parent explains teaching for mastery, an initiative that was first introduced in 2014. As opposed to traditional methods that involve learning by rote, mastery broadens, deepens and questions children’s understanding to create confident, strong mathematicians. The following explanation of the podcast outlines why this is so important:

A review of maths outcomes of young people in England from 2010-14 made for a sobering read.

Fifty percent failed to attain A-C in GCSE maths; if you were to line those children up on the M1 they would have stretched from London to Leeds. A staggering 22% of 16 to 19 year olds are innumerate, without the basic life skills to cope with using numbers in everyday life.

It’s perhaps not surprising that many parents can be heard declaring ‘I’m not a maths person’ – even if only in their heads as they help their kids with maths homework.

As a primary school teacher for 16 years with extraordinary results under her belt, Kate Mole, as part of the national agenda, is on a mission to change our approach to teaching maths in schools. Leading the London South West Maths Hub as their ‘Teaching for Mastery Lead’ and working for a multi-academy trust of schools called GLF Schools as their Primary Maths Lead, she helps both teachers and parents adopt new strategies to master maths.

Along with a growing army of progressive educators, Kate’s approach has taken inspiration from the Far East, places like China and Singapore, where, she says, children are years ahead of British teenagers.

She tells Planet Parent about how this relatively new pedagogy (method of teaching) is about equipping children with the skills to grasp mathematical concepts rather than procedures and tricks to get right answers, which offer ‘very shaky foundations to be able to cope later with more complex mathematics’.

Kate’s inspiring mission is to embed real understanding of maths at a conceptual level and move – once and for all – away from a ‘learning by rote’ mindset that’s become entrenched. She’s got her work cut out, but listening to her, it’s hard not to feel inspired – and a bit less daunted by maths homework.