Sandbach Primary Academy follows a “teaching for depth” approach to mathematics, which is sometimes termed mastery in other published guidance or commercial products. This approach enables all children to master the mathematics curriculum and draws inspiration from a range of sources. It draws heavily upon research conducted by the EEF (Education Endowment Foundation) and their recommendations.
The intention is to build long lasting learning through progressive acquisition of knowledge and skills. This helps our children to know and remember more through both well timed repetition and carefully planned tasks to introduce new learning. Children are also taught through retrieval practice as part of our approach.
We believe that all children can learn mathematics with hard work, effort and good, supportive teaching and we aim to give children the mathematical experiences which show them first-hand the uses of mathematics in everyday life and through applying mathematical understanding to other curriculum subjects, children are shown the importance mathematics plays in our everyday lives. Differentiation by task or setting has not traditionally led to better outcomes for lower attaining pupils. All year cohorts of children are usually taught in mixed ability classes, where scaffolding, timely intervention and teachers and other adults working directly with those who are struggling to grasp a concept provide more effective differentiation.
Design and Implementation
Whilst teaching the National Curriculum, we do not follow a particular scheme of work in terms of materials and rate of coverage. The NCETM spine documents under-pin our pedagogical approach and offer guidance so that teachers can plan and write lessons that meet the needs of each class. Small steps for both conceptual and procedural understanding are planned for, giving due consideration to common misconceptions that are likely to occur.
As with any guidance, it leaves the teachers free to extend the time period over which a topic is taught should they feel that a depth of understanding has not been achieved. However, we expect all topics within the National Curriculum to have been covered to some degree over the year. Gaps will be identified in a timely manner by class teachers so that they can be addressed through same day intervention, or even by the next teacher.
Children use concrete, pictorial and abstract models for each topic as appropriate to the learning context. Research conducted by the EEF underpins our expectation that both manipulatives and representations will be used in all year groups and across all ability groups to support learning before procedural methods are used. This will allow children to select from a range of strategies for both efficiency and to support success.
Procedural methods for calculation are taught alongside mental methods for fluency and variation. Children will be expected to apply this learning within a range of contexts rather than completing extended procedural practice. Fluency does not equate to speed but to efficient choice of strategy which may well increase speed, particularly when trying to recall times tables.
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