Mathematics at Bury C of E Primary School.

Mathematics is a creative and highly interconnected discipline that has been developed over centuries, providing the solution to some of history’s most intriguing problems. It is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment. A high-quality mathematics education therefore provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject. (The National Curriculum 2014)

At Bury C of E Primary School, we aim to enable each pupil to develop within their capabilities, not only the mathematics skills, knowledge and understanding required for later life, but also an enthusiasm and fascination about mathematics itself. We aim for our children to be fluent in basic skills such as number bonds or multiplication tables; to have the confidence and opportunities for reasoning through expressing their mathematical thinking and discussion, and to provide opportunities for pupils to demonstrate and use their mathematics and apply this to everyday situations through problem solving.

We use Rising Stars as our main scheme to support the teaching and learning of mathematics across the school, however teachers use their professional knowledge and judgement to adapt activities and tasks to maximise the sense of enjoyment and success in mathematical learning and understanding.

Rising Stars Mathematics is designed to develop fluency, build conceptual understanding and embed reasoning through an enquiry-based approach. It provides a ‘light touch’ comprehensive structure that allows teachers to retain the control, freedom and flexibility to adapt the timing and teaching activities to meet the needs of their own class. This means that they can focus their time and skills on teaching outstanding lessons in their own way. Carefully organised to provide a clear route through the yearly programmes of study, the curriculum concepts are revisited in a spiral way to reinforce and extend understanding and make links between content areas. The programme has been developed based on the following key pedagogical beliefs:

1. Mathematical understanding is developed through using concrete, pictorial and abstract representations.

2. High-quality teaching tools to support teachers in explaining mathematical concepts clearly, encourage investigative thinking, questioning, discussion and application, all while encouraging children to engage with the wonder of mathematics.

3. Children will only fully understand topics and master concepts through step-by-step teaching and intelligent practice. This means teaching concepts at a slower pace and dealing with each aspect of that concept in very small steps, in order to give children time to embed understanding. To achieve mastery, therefore, it is important to spend more time on teaching fewer topics in greater depth rather than moving on to a new topic or concept every few days.

4. Mathematics is an interconnected subject in which children need to be able to make connections across mathematical ideas. This enables them to develop fluency, mathematical reasoning and problem-solving skills.

5. Using precise mathematical vocabulary from the beginning is vital in ensuring children’s understanding. Rich talk and discussion between teachers and children, and amongst peers, using mathematical terminology and constant probing questioning is an essential tool in the ongoing assessment of conceptual understanding for all children.