Maths Curriculum

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At Molehill Primary Academy, we aim to give every child the very best start possible to their education by providing vibrant and engaging teaching which enables the children to become active and independent learners. We strive to develop both procedural and conceptual knowledge, so that all children leave us as ‘masters’ of maths and have the ability to apply this.   We ensure this by providing a broad and balanced curriculum which sees mathematical skills being applied in inquiries following the scope and sequence as well as ensuring that the children are being challenged within their lessons. Maths is important in everyday life and we emphasise the belief that everyone ‘can do’ maths. It is integral to all aspects of life and, with this in mind; we endeavour to ensure that our pupils develop a positive and enthusiastic attitude towards maths that will stay with them through their school-life and beyond. Mathematical language is also a key aspect of promoting life-long learning and mathematical discussions are promoted to encourage this.

Maths in EYFS

Mathematics in our early years setting is developed by whole class teaching as well as mathematical provisions and investigation centres which are always accessible to the children. These change to facilitate present learning, but also revision of past concepts and introduction to new ideas. 

Pupils are taught to recognise patterns in both shape and number, leading them to understand and use numbers 1-20 in basic addition and subtraction  scenarios. Manipulatives and mathematical talk is used to help build these schemas and create a broad and rich base of knowledge for the children to begin  their primary years journey with. 

Maths in Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2)

Our principal focus of maths teaching in Key Stage 1 is to ensure that pupils become fluent using whole numbers, counting and understanding place value. This involves working with numerals, words and the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). The use of manipulatives is imperative in fostering this learning to ensure that concepts are well understood and applied confidently. 

Pupils begin to recognise, describe, draw, compare and sort different shapes and use mathematical vocabulary. Learning and teaching involves using a range of measures to describe and compare different quantities such as length, mass, capacity/volume, time and money.

The recall and application  of number bonds is essential during these early years, to enable the children to flourish higher up in their education. Hence, regular retrieval practices are put into place, so that recall can become automatic by the end of year 2.

Maths in Lower Key Stage 2 

The main focus of mathematics teaching in Years 3 and 4 is to ensure that pupils become confident using whole numbers and applying four operations. We make sure that pupils develop efficient written and mental methods and perform calculations accurately with increasingly large whole numbers.

Pupils develop their ability to solve a range of problems, and are taught to use simple fractions and decimal place value. During this time, we also strive for pupils to take ownership of their learning and begin to express their mathematical thinking in a manner of their own choosing, so that they can successfully reason and explain relationships between both numbers and shapes. We ensure that pupils can use measuring instruments with accuracy and make connections between measure and number, also emphasising accuracy with mathematical drawings.

By the end of Year 4 pupils know multiplication tables up to and including the ‘12 times table’ and show precision and fluency in their work, preparing them sufficiently for the national times table check.

During this time, the concrete, pictorial and abstract approach becomes fundamental in helping develop the small steps of knowledge and leading the pupils to become independently reflective in their maths.

Maths in Upper Key Stage 2

As they near the end of their primary career, pupils are taught to extend their understanding of the number system and place value to include larger integers. This develops the connections that pupils make between multiplication and division with fractions, decimals, percentages and ratio.

Pupils refine their ability to solve a wider range of problems, including problems involving complex properties of numbers and arithmetic, and problems that demand efficient written and mental methods of calculation. Pupils are introduced to the language of algebra as a means for solving a variety of problems. Learning and teaching in geometry and measures consolidates and extends pupils’ knowledge developed in number. Pupils classify shapes with increasingly complex geometric properties and learn the vocabulary they need to describe them.

This means that when they leave us, pupils are fluent in written methods for all four operations, including long multiplication and division, and in working with fractions, decimals and percentages.

Molehill uses White Rose Maths Schemes of Learning across the Academy to plan and deliver lessons from. In order to address the recovery of learning, White Rose have adapted their planning to include the previous year’s learning before new learning occurs. The sequence is also broken down into manageable, well-structured small steps which allow the children to become secure in each aspect of the learning by relating it to past schemas, before moving on and applying it. Teachers also use additional resources to supplement their teaching and to ensure all pupils’ needs are being met, so that concepts are being mastered rather than just covered. 

Mathematics teaching at Molehill Primary Academy follows the CPA approach (concrete, pictorial and abstract) so that all children can access the learning being delivered. This approach helps embed the understanding of key concepts and allows for conceptual understanding not just procedural. This approach can be seen through the use of manipulatives during the introduction of new concepts and the interleaving of these, as well as pictorial representations, throughout the small steps where necessary, so that all children are supported in reaching the same end goal of the National Curriculum requirements. Additionally, these varied representations are used to challenge and stretch a pupil’s understanding.

Fluency and Retrieval

Subitising in EYFS is an important and key skill. This is practised daily through a range of activities. As an Academy we also promote the use of the White Rose 1-minute app which has a specific area for this skill.

Number bonds are also an essential part of maths and these are developed from EYFS into year 1 with the expectation that by the end of year 2 pupils will be able to retrieve this knowledge accurately and without hesitation.

Times tables are taught in year groups 2-6 with more of a focus in years 3 and 4 to help prepare the children for the Multiplication Tables Check. Molehill uses Times Table Rock Stars to encourage and motivate children; competitions between classes and cluster schools occur regularly; pupils in year 4 also test their knowledge weekly by using the ‘Sound Check’ function which is similar to the MTC. 

Arithmetic is a focus in years 5 and 6 to develop their core arithmetic skills so they are proficient and fluent with these skills. Daily arithmetic opportunities are provided which the children use as a means of self assessment as well as an opportunity to practice their retrieval skills.

By the time children leave Molehill Primary Academy, they are competent and confident mathematicians who can apply their knowledge and skills not only to the curriculum by building on previous knowledge but also real-life contexts. They can also use the correct mathematical vocabulary to enhance their knowledge and understanding when explaining and communicating their answers to a wider audience. Pupils make good progress from their own personal starting points. By the end of Year Six, they will be able to apply their knowledge and skills with fluency and also efficiently; this will also support them within their transition to secondary education. Most importantly, they will develop a love of mathematics and be well equipped for the rest of their education.