We believe that, almost without exception, all pupils can do well in Mathematics. Our teaching programme and our methods are based on the Singapore Mathematics programme, which is a ‘teaching for mastery’ curriculum. We aim to ensure that pupils have a deep conceptual understanding and achieve mastery by following a Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract sequence in our teaching. Pupils master concepts through the use of manipulatives (concrete) and drawing representations (pictorial) before engaging in written (abstract) work. This approach commences from the very beginning in our Nursery and Reception classes where we have developed a programme that reflects key findings from worldwide educational research. It is vital that we dig deep and build firm foundations in the formative years so that we can progress higher when the pupils are older.
Problem-solving is at the heart of our approach to teaching Mathematics and an increasing emphasis is placed on pupils developing their critical thinking skills through the use of heuristics (problem solving strategies) including bar model drawing, systematic lists, working backwards, supposition, and looking for patterns. Pupils are encouraged to look for connections and to identify relationships. One of the strengths of Singapore Maths is the use of the bar-model drawing method to represent word problems. This method enables pupils to solve problems that would be considered years ahead of them in the UK.
As well as using real manipulatives that they can physically handle, with access to online apps, pupils can also use virtual manipulatives that help to deepen their understanding and to master the topics they are studying. We are continuing to develop the use of IT in Mathematics across the school because, when used appropriately, it can be a powerful tool for learning.
Pupils are encouraged to be independent learners but also to work collaboratively as this helps to develop their ability to explain, reason and argue, whilst promoting qualities of resilience and perseverance. With a suitably challenging course most pupils will need support and help at some stage, and we provide intervention sessions where necessary.
Pupils of all ages have the opportunity to take part in nationwide competitions such as the Primary Maths Challenge (Years 5 and 6) and the Junior Maths Challenge (Year 7 and 8). Additionally selected pupils from Years 4 to 8 compete in team competitions against other schools including the UKMT Team Challenge in Year 7 and 8.
Use of Technology to Support Learning
The use of appropriate technology can enhance the teaching and learning process. All of the pupils use IXL to support their learning. This program can be accessed at school and at home and gives pupils feedback when they get an answer wrong as well as an explanation of how to get the question correct next time. Teachers track the data and can easily identify any areas where pupils are having difficulty. Every pupil from Year 1 up to Year 8 spends at least half an hour a week on the system as part of the normal timetable.
Meeting the needs of all
If a pupil is finding some aspect of Mathematics to be difficult, we provide support and intervention. For those able pupils who need extending, we run a Key Stage 2 Olympiad Maths Club (Year 5 and Year 6) and a Key Stage 3 Olympiad Maths Club (Year 7 and Year 8) once a week after school. In these clubs pupils have the opportunity to engage with the sort of content and level of Mathematics that will help prepare them for national and international competition.