St. John the Evangelist Church School | Maths
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The teaching of mathematics at St. John the Evangelist Church School has links with Shanghai and Singaporean approaches to maths. After training from national leaders of the NCETM (as part of the Primary Mastery Specialist Programme), we have carefully restructured our maths curriculum and lessons to allows for teaching for mastery. During the academic year 2017-2018, our Maths Lead (Richard Gill) and Deputy Headteacher (Nikki Short) have worked with the Boolean Maths Hub with seven other schools in the area. This will continue during 2018-2019. St. John’s benefits from this opportunity to have professional dialogue with other colleagues, to regularly review our approach to teaching for mastery and subsequently cascade knowledge to staff on the NCETM’s Big 5 Ideas.

Key Features of St. John’s Maths Lessons
After developing a whole-school curriculum map using White Rose Maths Hub (WRMH), the children now spend a significant length of time on each unit so that they are secure using and applying their new skills before moving on to tackle new concepts. With the exception of Year 1 and Year 6, all year groups will be teaching the same units at similar times.

Class Structure – To best meet the requirements of the Maths National Curriculum, we have carefully considered how we group the children within a base. Every base has three mixed age classes. From these classes, we have created two straight year groups and one class where there are children from two year groups.

Daily Maths Lessons – Maths is planned and delivered on a daily basis. Four lessons a week follow the WRMH overview and will also link closely to Maths No Problem (MNP). One lesson a week will be used by the teacher to improve maths skills through a range of activities: Big maths, gap fill, and/or develop mathematical thinking through investigations. In addition, fluency skills will be timetabled regularly throughout the week.

Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract – Our children experience a CPA (Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract) approach in daily lessons. The children begin their learning in the concrete with a range of manipulatives to support their understanding. As their conceptual understanding develops, they move towards the pictorial representation of the learning and finally to the abstract numeral and symbols. If the children are secure in their understanding, the teaching team will deepen their understanding through reasoning and application of skills or a change of manipulatives. Children will not be accelerated to the next year group’s concepts. The children can access resources whenever they feel it will benefit their understanding.

Fluency, Problem Solving and Reasoning – By following the WRMH small steps, all children will have the opportunity to regularly access fluency, problem solving and reasoning within each topic.

Whole-class ‘Ping-pong’ Style Teaching – During the first part of the maths lesson, the whole class benefits from teaching small coherent steps in learning. During this time, the children have lots of opportunity to ‘do maths’ independently and in small groups/partners. The teacher will ‘let the kite out and draw it back in’ regularly to review learning before moving on to the next stage.

Hinge questions – Before the children’s independent learning tasks, the children are asked ‘hinge questions’ (or diagnostic questions) as an important check-point in the lesson. This allows the teaching staff to quickly assess the children’s understanding and progress, and therefore, create ‘support groups’ with teaching staff so that children gain immediate intervention.

Same Content For All Learners – In line with National Curriculum’s expectation that the ‘majority of pupils will move through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace’, all pupils at St. John’s will access the same content in each lesson, unless they are working significantly below age-related expectations. Teaching staff work hard to ensure progression throughout each lesson so that every child has the opportunity to apply and deepen their conceptual understanding. For rapid graspers, a ‘Dong Nao Jin’ (Use Your Head) challenge is available in order to further extend and stretch their understanding.