At The Synergy Schools Federation, we teach maths using a ‘Teaching for Mastery’ approach.
This approach to teaching maths means that instead of learning mathematical procedures by rote, pupils develop a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts. This will enable them to make connections and apply their learning in different situations. Mastery is developed through the ‘Five Big Ideas’. These are:
Representation and Structure
New concepts are introduced through a variety of carefully chosen representations and structures, to help all pupils see and understand the maths. These could include the use of double-sided counters, part-part-whole models, ten-frames, bar models, place value counters, base-ten or even stem-sentences.
There are two elements to variation: conceptual and procedural. Both of these elements support pupils to develop a deeper understanding of the maths.
Conceptual variation: new concepts are introduced in a variety of ways so pupils recognise clearly what the concept is, and also what it is not! An example of this might be when introducing rectangles, that a square is a rectangle, but a rhombus is not – and why!
Procedural variation: activities and questions are carefully sequenced using small steps to connect the maths and draw attention to the structure. Pupils are encouraged to notice what is kept the same, what has changed and why!
A secure understanding of early number is carefully built on to develop fluency and automaticity of key facts, such as number bonds and multiplication and division facts. Pupils also develop fluency of procedures, such as written methods for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Pupils are encouraged to make connections and therefore use and apply their knowledge flexibly to other contexts.
Mathematical thinking and discussion is at the heart of our lessons. Pupils work on ideas, think about them, reason with and discuss them with others. We aim for reasoning to be ‘throughout lessons, for all pupils, not at the end of lessons for some’!
Lessons and units of work are broken down into small, connected steps that gradually unfold and develop the concept. This provides access for all pupils and enables them to apply the concept to a range of contexts.
These ‘Five Big Ideas’ are embedded within our maths teaching to ensure pupils develop secure foundations in maths and can apply their knowledge to reason, investigate and problem solve in a variety of ways.
Pitch and Expectation in Maths
Within the school we follow a long-term mathematics plan for each year group, details of which are found below:
Click here to download our long term plan
Click here to download our long term plan for EYFS
Click here to download our overview of Mastering Number - EYFS
Visit our Help with Maths page - here
Numbots & Times Tables Rock Stars
In addition to daily maths lessons, pupils develop automaticity through online platforms. These include Numbots for key stage 1 and Times Tables Rock Stars for year 2 upwards.
These platforms have proved very popular with our pupils. They enjoy regular, short sessions each week within school and at home; perusing the display boards within school which celebrate each child’s progress; fortnightly celebrations across our federation of pupils’ improvements and achievements and even half-termly battles within classes, key stages, school and across our federation!
Pupils’ enthusiasm and enjoyment of Numbots and Times Tables Rock Stars has had a real impact in school. Our year 4 pupils in 2022 did extremely well in their Multiplication Times Tables Check (MTC), with unofficial comparisons showing they performed well above local and national averages! We even have a couple of pupils who are currently very close to breaking the Guinness World Record for the most correct answers on Times Tables Rock Stars in one minute, so watch this space!