By the end of Year 6, we want all of our pupils to at least achieve the objectives set out in the 2014 National Curriculum and we strive to offer opportunities to develop skills above and beyond this: we want all our pupils to be able to apply their knowledge and understanding in real-life and practical situations. In order to achieve this, we appropriately support those that need additional interventions and aim to help as many children as possible to build on their successes in Key Stage One and attain ‘Greater Depth’. Our curriculum is carefully designed and mapped out to ensure that our pupils acquire the knowledge and skills required in a sequential and progressive manner. It is regularly reviewed and adapted so that it is relevant to the needs of our pupils and reflects the world they live in.
Within the curriculum, there is a focus on the acquisition of key skills and knowledge which empowers the pupils to successfully deal with problems that require a mathematical solution in both academic and in real-life and practical situations. In line with our Thinking Schools status, we advocate the use of a P4C based approach to solving problems in maths – see appendix 4.
We expect that during their time at Oaklands Junior the students will have acquired a range of strategies and methods to solve calculations involving the four operations, including formal written methods. Through use of metacognition, students will be able to discuss and explain their strategies, leading to a deeper understanding of the number system. In addition, children will be supported to develop rapid recall of knowledge fundamental to using and applying their maths skills in real life situations. This will include practical work, such as cooking in D&T, taking measurements in science and outdoor measuring in maths lessons.
At the end of Key Stage 2, our intention is that all pupils will have developed resilience in maths learning, as well as an enjoyment of it, through a challenging scheme of work, which will enable them to be able to manipulate maths skills, using prior knowledge of key facts including accurate recall of standard units of measure, properties of shape and common formulae.
Many of these skills and ways of learning tie in particularly well with our ‘Thinking School’ philosophy as well as our ‘Oaklands’ Mindset’, for example challenge, resilience, communication, enjoyment. Furthermore, the development of these skills and learning behaviours will provide an ideal foundation for continuing the development of their maths skills in Key Stage 3 and beyond. During lessons, we aim to create links between their learning in maths situations they may encounter outside of school and later in life– for example using a timetable, managing money or measuring using standard units.
Following the COVID pandemic, we recognise the impact that the lack of face-to-face teaching has had on the children’s progress in Maths. Although daily lessons were provided as part of our remote learning provision during lockdown, we are aware that core skills and knowledge will need further work to become embedded, particularly with reference to problem-solving. The Covid catch-up sessions have been specifically targeted at those areas that are key in allowing children to make progress by overcoming gaps in their understanding of fundamental concepts.
Teaching and Learning
The teaching of Maths is undertaken on a daily basis, typically by the class teacher with the support of the class Assistant Teacher (AT). Teaching follows the 2014 National Curriculum and we use a range of sources for our material, including, but not exclusively, the Target Your Maths scheme and the Classroom Secrets website.
The lesson plans are designed to be up to 60 minutes in length and are planned as a sequence of lessons introducing, developing and mastering skills and knowledge. The lessons are designed to be progressive and build on prior learning. They also include activities and teaching for supporting the less able and extending the more able.
The lesson activities are challenging, varied and interactive and encourage the development in the application of maths skills throughout the curriculum. This includes measurement in Science experiments and Design & Technology, a sense of time in History and Music as well as scale in Geography as a few examples. Moreover, following some recent ‘Money Heroes’ training, we are now implementing some ‘projects’ that are aimed at improving the children’s understanding of money and financial ‘sense’. These include an enterprise project for each year group at the Christmas fair and the Year 5s fundraising for their Y6 residential trip.
With the identified need to have a firm grasp of key knowledge and skills, we have introduced regular retrieval practice across the school. This ensures that all key areas are regularly revisited by children. The spacing model, developed by Hermann Ebbinghaus, shows clearly the effectiveness of this regular revisiting of information. Furthermore, beginning in year 3, all children have access to Doodle Learning. This is an online resource that adapts automatically to support children’s individual areas of need across the maths curriculum and is designed to be used ‘little and often’ to aid long-term recall.
A complete list of the Learning Objectives broken down by year group can be found in the appendices.
Marking and Assessment
When marking, teachers use Next Step codes and marking acronyms in order to help identify areas for improvement as well as focussing on objectives that the children have achieved. NS codes vary from lesson to lesson and marking acronyms are clearly displayed in every class as are ‘Presentation boards’.
It is expected that formative assessment takes place in every lesson and this then informs the planning and teaching of subsequent lessons. Teachers regularly update the ‘Oaklands’ Assessment System’ which records pupils’ attainment against objectives in maths and spreadsheets of results in weekly times tables and half-term ‘key facts’ tests. Assessment is a combination of formative assessment during maths sessions and formal maths tests (NFER and Headstart).
Beyond the classroom
As well as Maths lessons, we also attend Maths Challenges and children are given the opportunity to sit the Primary Mathematics Challenge in November each year. Although some of these could not take place during the COVID-19 pandemic, these are now taking place again. These events have always been great successes, both engaging pupils and staff across the school. Mr Holland also takes weekly sessions for more able students throughout the school. All of these opportunities create a positive, stimulating environment around the subject, while at the same time providing challenge for more able pupils.
Recently, raising awareness of the mastery curriculum at Oaklands has been a key area of development. To this end, there have several staff meetings, including ones led by the Corvus Primary Improvement Team. In addition, Mr Holland & Mr Lee have presented to parents on several occasions, with the intention of improving understanding in the parent community. The four pillars model in Appendix 5 outlines the crucial areas in which parents are most encouraged to support their child’s learning. It is expected that, by parents having a clear understanding of how a strong grasp of the fundamentals supports deeper understanding of maths and greater confidence and competence in applying their knowledge. This is being further developed with instructional videos related to these four pillars being added to the school website, as well as ‘workshops’ being offered to parents by Mr Lee, the maths subject leader.
In order to support our children’s learning, regular maths homework is set in all year groups. This includes times tables practice and on-line activities.
A number of years ago, a termly ‘Pride’ award was introduced to raise standards and highlight the importance of presentation and always doing your best: each teacher picks one child who has shown particular pride in their work. This and the ‘Give me 5’ (5 key things for the children to remember in their work) initiative were in direct response to a perception at the time that the children’s presentation skills were not at the required standard. In 2020, we also introduced a termly progress award for one child in the school who has made accelerated progress in their maths work.
Subject Leadership and Monitoring
In order to understand the picture of maths at Oaklands Junior School, Mr Lee and the SLT have conducted observations, book looks and planning scrutinies. Moreover, Mr Holland has also worked closely with specific groups of children across the school, including running more able and support groups.
In the last few years, Corvus Learning Trust appointed a Primary Curriculum Lead, Amy Chapman, who is charged with overseeing maths and English across the three trust schools in the primary phase. Mr Lee has worked closely with our MAT’s SIO team and established links with schools within The Corvus Trust, including our local secondary school, which have enabled us to share good practices, undertake staff training and participate in moderation exercises.
Regular maths focussed training has also taken place in staff meetings, as well as frequent opportunities to discuss what is working well and what challenges we face. One of our key strengths as a staff, both classroom-based and at a senior level, is the fact that we have a very open and honest working relationship which enables us to support and challenge each other in our pedagogy, as well as openly discussing current and potential future practices.
Interventions and Support
As well as whole class teaching, maths-focussed interventions take place in every year group at Oaklands Junior School, both inside and outside of the class, including the use of the ‘Plus One’ and ‘Power of two’ support tools and times tables intervention groups. At Oaklands Junior School, we invest a significant part of our budget in Assistant Teachers, with every year group having two full-time ATs. They are treated as equals and are regularly invited to staff meetings and training sessions. A significant number are HLTAs and most of the ATs have been in the school for a number of years. This level of availability, training and experience helps us to run regular interventions to help children make better progress.
Response to the Pandemic
The impact of COVID-19 pandemic has been discussed at length during staff meetings and the Subject Lead has highlighted some objectives that need to be revisited by each year group: particularly in reference to the key skills that are on the children’s target cards. Following discussions at SLT meetings, and in consultation with teaching and support staff, it was agreed that we would use a ‘Quality First Teaching’ approach for spending the ‘Covid catch up funding’: the money is being used to fund class cover so that class teachers can take out small groups of children. Once a week, two groups of 6 pupils (from across the year group) are taken for a maths or English intervention. These 45-minute sessions enable the class teacher that takes the session to focus on specific objectives and gaps that have been identified through formative and summative assessment. Moreover, it also enables the teacher to reinforce this learning more effectively back in the classroom in the lessons that follow. The SLT have calculated that this model will enable us to continue this support for at least two years, which was felt to be paramount, as it is believed that a regular ‘drip-feed’ approach from a class teacher was the best way to spend this money, rather than paying for external tutors. Moreover, we are acutely aware that the children that will be joining us over the next few years from our feeder Infants school will be in particular need of additional support and interventions.
At the end of Year 6, Oaklands Junior school children:
- Are able to apply their knowledge and understanding in real-life and practical situations.
- Have the key skills and knowledge which empowers them to successfully deal with problems that require a mathematical solution
- Use the ‘Think. Commit. Justify. Reflect’ process to solve problems.
- Have a range of strategies and methods to solve calculations involving the four operations, including formal written methods
- Are able to discuss and explain their strategies, leading to a deeper understanding of the number system.
- Have developed rapid recall of knowledge fundamental to using and applying their maths skills in real life situations.
- Are able to instantly recall times tables facts (multiplication and division) up to 12 x 12 and apply this accurately and confidently.
Children at Oaklands with Special Educational Needs are supported through interventions and differentiated tasks and make good progress with their learning.
The impact of our implementation can be monitored in a number of ways: through learning walks and lesson observations; examples of children’s work; moderation meetings (both internally and with our cluster schools); planning scrutiny; pupil voice surveys; parent surveys and teacher assessments (both summative and formative).
Impact is evidenced by:
- Lesson plans indicate which activity is an opportunity to assess progress and is linked to the KS2 targets.
- A teacher assessment grid is provided to record attainment of each target for each skill in each year group and to track progress.
- The completed activities in the accompanying workbooks gather evidence of children’s attainment against the curriculum targets.
- Evidence of mental mathematics activities can be gathered by making recordings of the suggested activities in the lesson plans or by simply asking children to perform and explain calculations.
- Children self-assess their progress at the end of each section of work using a learning line system and comment on their grasp of the new knowledge. In addition, there is space for teachers to provide a written response.
- Data from weekly times tables tests are used to track progress in knowing all multiplication and division facts up to 12 x 12. For children who complete the times tables tests, ‘Challenge tests’ are provided which give them an opportunity to apply their knowledge and understanding.
- Scores from the Government ‘Multiplication Tables Check’ is used to analyse children’s knowledge of multiplication facts.
- Based on the evidence of the above-mentioned records of achievement and progress, teachers can inform parents/guardians of this, using report statements which relate to the expected targets of each year group under the headings ’Working Towards’, ‘Working At’ and ‘Working Above’ the expected standard for the year group. If a child is not working on Age Related Objectives, they are given the heading ‘Working Below’.
- The use of the ‘transition document’ is encouraged to relay information to feeder secondary schools about prior mathematical learning.
How do we define success?
- The fundamental impact of our Intent and Implementation is that pupils know more and are able to do more. The positive results of pupils learning can then be seen in the standards they achieve.
- Attainment gaps between various groups are progressively and quickly reduced until eliminated.
- End of key stage results in line at least with national and ideally with local authority averages.
- Children make expected or better progress during an academic year. This is defined as 3 or more APS points progress in an academic year, as evidenced in the Oaklands Assessment System
- Pupil voice:
Evidence in knowledge
Evidence in skills
Breadth and depth of knowledge and skills
Attitude to Maths is positive
- Next steps for Maths are clearly defined based on evaluation of the most current data.
Progress measure as recorded within the Oaklands Assessment System
Below is a table indicating the percentage of children who made expected or better progress (by achieving 3 or more APS points progress):
|Year||Year 6||Year 5||Year 4|
2021-22 Teacher Assessment and End of KS2 Results
Each half term, our class teachers monitor the impact of their teaching by assessing their class’ work against their stage objectives. This data enables the teacher to assess the effectiveness of their teaching strategies and plan subsequent lessons or interventions for individuals accordingly. The Maths Subject Lead, Assessment Co-ordinator and other members of the SLT monitor the assessment grids and the data provides a basis for appraisal targets.
Recently, we have been focussing on improving the children’s ability to apply their reasoning as we feel that this is an area that we could do even better in. Moreover, it also ties in with our ’Thinking School’ approach and our philosophy of learning to apply mathematical skills in context. As last year was the first year of returning to government testing since the pandemic, we were pleased that 85% of the cohort were working at the expected standard, compared to the national average of 71%, and 26% achieving greater depth. However, we have noticed that the average score of 65% in the reasoning papers was significantly lower than the 80% average scored in the arithmetic paper. This has solidified our thinking that this is a key area for us to focus on and to further embed the specific teaching of reasoning in order for the children’s attainment to continue to rise.
At the end of Summer 2022, we conducted a maths survey with children in each year group. Here, we were able to ascertain children’s perception of their abilities within each subject, their enjoyment of lessons and identify barriers that they have to learning.
Nearly 80% of pupils felt that they were good or excellent at maths and a similar figure stated that they enjoyed most or all maths lessons. The results also highlighted how our children feel confident with most written calculations and understand the importance of learning times tables.
In terms of what they find most challenging, the children confirmed previous analysis, in that they find fractions, decimals and percentages and word problems, as the areas of the curriculum that they found the most difficult. These results have been fed back to staff to take into account when planning. Similarly, the majority of children felt that working with a partner helped them the most to learn was highlighted to teachers.
Learning Walks and Observations
In recent learning walks and observations, the maths lead has seen an increase in the teaching of reasoning skills and this has also been observed during planning scrutinies. He has identified that physical resources and maths displays are an area that we could use more effectively and this has been highlighted and discussed during staff meetings.
OFSTED Visit 2022
In April 2022, OFSTED undertook an inspection and confirmed that Oaklands Junior School continues to be a good school. In Maths, the following were highlighted as areas of strength:
- ‘Mathematics is well taught. Pupils’ understanding of number and place value is particularly strong. Teachers have good subject knowledge. In lessons, they focus on developing pupils’ mathematical language. This supports pupils to use the correct mathematical terms when explaining their answers. Regular revision of topics through the ‘retrieval grids’ allows pupils to revisit previously learned work. This is helping pupils know and remember more of their learning.’
As a school, our next steps are shared with all staff and sufficient training is provided to meet these targets. This academic year, as our priority is focussing on improving the teaching of reasoning and problem solving and to give children more experiences of using maths in practical (including with money and finances) and outdoor situations, we have allocated staff meetings to support the development of this subject for both the teachers and Assistant Teachers. Moreover, the 2022 Christmas Fayre had an ‘enterprise’ focus with each year group making and selling a product to their peers.