At Our Lady and St. Joseph, we use a mastery approach to mathematics. Mastery of mathematics is something that we want all pupils to acquire, and continue acquiring, throughout their school lives, and beyond.
Mastering maths means acquiring a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject. At any one point in a pupil’s journey through school, achieving mastery is taken to mean acquiring a solid enough understanding of the maths that’s been taught to enable them move on to more advanced material.
Teachers develop pupils’ numeracy and mathematical reasoning in all subjects so that they understand and appreciate the importance of mathematics. It is widely accepted that using physical resources or manipulatives in the early stages of primary education is useful for children to gain a deeper understanding of concepts being taught, but this is extended for all year groups throughout the entire school.
We split mathematics into four key areas, namely: Numerical Reasoning; Additive Reasoning; Multiplicative Reasoning and Geometric Reasoning. At each stage, we use concrete, physical apparatus like Numicon, counters and Dienes equipment to introduce a concept, before moving on to pictoral representations to reinforce the children’s understanding. This ultimately leads to an abstract approach, where formal and mental methods are used to solve problems involving the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). This allows children to have a deeper understanding of the maths involved by the time they get to write using digits on paper.
These areas are reinforced with the bar method as an approach to solve word problems and reasoning activities, which uses a pictoral representation of problems to help the pupils understand what is being asked of them. This relates directly to the concrete and pictoral stages of the children’s learning.
The children are assessed on a half termly basis using teacher assessment and tests (reasoning and arithmetic), which use the White Rose as a base.