'Mathematics is a more powerful instrument of knowledge than any other that has been bequeathed to us by human agency.'
At King Charles, we aim not only to prepare our children for the next stage of their education, but also to lay the foundations for successful lives after school. Our aim is to prepare our children for the jobs of tomorrow, which will require greater mathematical skills than in the past, including thinking mathematically in order to use technology that doesn’t yet exist.
The aims of our maths teaching at King Charles are aligned with the aims of the National Curriculum: fluency, reasoning and problem solving - both in the mathematics lesson and across the curriculum. We recognise that pupils need to learn basic number facts and acquire fluency in procedures, alongside developing conceptual understanding if they are able to solve increasingly complex problems in life and later in the workplace.
We recognise the importance of developing a ‘Growth Mindset’. At King Charles, we believe everyone is capable of learning mathematics, given sufficient time, quality first teaching, having access to appropriate concrete and pictorial resources and effort. We encourage our children to believe they can get smarter, that effort makes them stronger and that they can achieve, treating apparent ‘failures or dips’ as opportunities to bounce back stronger from. We aim to ensure all pupils leave us with sound mathematical skills which they can utilise to solve sophisticated problems when presented in an unfamiliar context. We recognise the importance of developing mathematical thinkers and talkers, with great emphasis on encouraging our children to make links, draw conclusions and identify patterns and the necessity for our pupils to be confident both in their fluency, reasoning and problem solving abilities.
At King Charles, we teach for Mastery and Greater Depth. This means that all children are taught mathematical concepts in context and strong links are made to our thematic curriculum. The way we deliver our maths is really important in the sense that we look to deepen the knowledge our children develop and look to embed concepts by providing opportunities to practise, reason and problem solve. 'End goals' are used to engage our pupils and allow them to make links to maths in real-life contexts. The learning journey is brought to life and eventually finalised with a purposeful end goal; this is an opportunity for children to use their previous learning and apply their skills and concepts with confidence.
Some of our 'End Goals' can be seen below:
Our year 6 children were asked by Alton Towers to calculate the year on year attendance figures for two of their rides, applying their knowledge of percentage increase and decrease from previous work.
Our year 4 children had been writing journalistic recounts on the 'Iron Scow'. They were then challenged to design a set of platforms that would be built around Niagara Falls as a result of the amount of new tourists that would be visiting the area. They used their work on perimeter and area to help support them design the right-sized platforms.
Our year 2 children had recently been introduced to the TT Rockstars programme. For their 'End Goal', they were sent a challenge from one of the characters to try and better their Rock Speed.
To develop our children’s ability to master a mathematical concept, we recognise the importance of carefully planned, sequential learning steps that build upon previous learning. Our step by step, progressive planning allows all pupils to access these concepts and ideas and explore the connections between them. It is important to us that our children are encouraged to make explicit links to other areas of mathematics to help support them when learning new concepts or solving problems. Over time and through varied and frequent practice, they are given the opportunity to consolidate a skill before then being challenged to apply it within a context. Images, jottings, models, diagrams and other pictorial representations are used to support our children to 'see' a concept and our children use these to help them reason and solve problems. Across the school, we 'present' maths to our children through pictorial and abstract based sheets.
We adopt the ‘intelligent practice’ approach which ensures our children avoid mechanical repetition; once a concept has been grasped, we expose our children to varied fluency activities which deepen their understanding or challenge them through reasoning based tasks. There is however, time for our children to practise a skill to fully-embedded it. We ensure that our children are given opportunities to engage in rich mathematical discussion and encourage them to feedback with the context in mind, making use of sentence stems through every opportunity. Our children explore, find alternative methods and justify their approaches, not giving one-word responses or seeing maths as just 'giving the answer to the question'.
Our Nursery team use the acclaimed maths programme 'Numberblocks', developed and promoted by the NCETM (National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics).
By focusing on one of the numbers from 0-10 per week, our children are able to develop a strong sense of number. Throughout the week, they will build a picture of 'how we have found ____ this week'. Opportunities are planned in during the start of the day, within family group time and in child-initiated sessions that will encourage discussion and exploration of that number of the week. The staff celebrate the individual and unique ways in which our children find the number of the week and draw their attention to the structure and variety of ways it can be represented. We place great emphasis on variety as we believe this is key when trying to make sense of and establish e.g. the oneness of one. In light of this, we promote the approach that our children need to see these numbers in different ways, compare them to others and make observations about their differences.
'In variation theory, it is assumed that there are critical aspects of a given phenomenon that learners must simultaneously be aware of and focus on in order to experience that phenomenon in a particular way.'
Our children's outdoor experiences are captured, their discussions are built upon and the staff promote the use of different images to establish a strong foundation that can be built upon.
Reception and Y1:
As our children move to Reception and into Y1, our focus turns to concepts such as '5 and a bit' and '10 and a bit' to deepen understanding of numbers 0-20 and look more closely at their structures. 'Numberblocks' continues as a theme for our children and five and tens frames are more formally introduced. One of our key focuses across KS1 is to ensure our children can quickly recall basic number facts and begin to learn skills that will ensure they are 'calculators' rather than counters, building on the foundations set in place from Nursery. The White Rose programme, which is in line with the content needed to be covered from the National Curriculum, is introduced in year 1.
In line with our approach to develop fluency and mental strategies, we introduce MCRAPACODANumbo, a series of mental strategies that our children are taught in order to develop fluency when trying to calculate with all four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). Partitioning, Counting On and Number Bonds/Number facts are the main focus within Reception and Y1 and this is then built upon as children progress through our school.
As our children move into year 2, we continue to focus on instant recall of basic number facts. The use of tens frames and the knowledge of '5 and 10 and a bit' are further developed with a focus being on refining their ability to calculate across boundaries with confidence. With firm foundations in number established in previous year groups, our children are taught to apply this knowledge when crossing the tens boundaries and in particular when partitioning numbers to support calculations. The White Rose programme of study continues to be followed in line with the National Curriculum with a key emphasis on varied fluency and the application of MCRAPACODANumbo strategies. Reasoning strategies are further developed through the use of open-ended lessons where our children are often asked to prove their thinking or find alternative strategies to solve problems.
By the time our children leave year 2, we look ensure that they are confident at instantly recalling all of the following number facts:
Key Stage 2:
As our children progress through Key Stage 2, we continue to make strong links between different areas of maths to ensure that our children are always applying known knowledge whilst learning new concepts.
Pupils make good progress over time at King Charles because;
A coherent journey through the curriculum is planned in line with White Rose Maths.
Teachers carefully consider the most appropriate manipulatives and pictorial representations which expose the structure of the mathematics and plan to address misconceptions in order to develop deep understanding of concepts.
Children are taught to think mathematically and reason logically - looking for patterns and relationships.
Precise mathematical language is used consistently when explaining a concept but also when children feedback.
Adults use skilful questioning to reveal, probe and address misconceptions.
Mathematical skills are practised, applied and assessed across the curriculum. Gaps in knowledge are then revisited if necessary.
Consolidation weeks allow for further embedding of skills
We use recap slides within our planning to revisit previous learning to ensure this knowledge isn't lost.
A mathematically rich environment supports learning:
Year 4 - Fractions of amounts
Children are encouraged to 'draw out' a problem in order to contextualise their learning. Relationship and bar models are utilised through our teacher modelling alongside jottings and other mathematical representations to teach a concept; our children also adopt this approach when solving problems independently.
Year 2 - Multiplication with arrays
We use concrete manipulatives to help support children visualise a concept. These resources are used both in our teaching and by the children to support them when working independently.
Children 'map out' the problem or select to represent something pictorially in order to support them to visualise.
Manipulatives are used to help our children 'see' the maths and make sense of the abstract.
Each of our classrooms have a selection of manipulatives that both our teaching staff and pupils use to build or strengthen a concrete image and support them towards their progression to understanding the abstract. No matter the ability of our children, we encourage them to use these manipulatives to embed and reinforce the intended image or structure.
Fluency and flexibility are developed in every lesson (including looking at relationships and making connections)
Children grasping a concept rapidly will be challenged, deepening their understanding through rich and sophisticated problems and reasoning tasks (such as our RAPA challenges) or the abstract challenges we provide.
Skilful assessment identifies children who are struggling to grasp concepts, leading to guided groups and consolidation sessions if required.
The school has a supportive ethos and our approaches support our children in developing their collaborative and independent skills, as well as empathy and the need to recognise the achievement of others. Children can under perform in mathematics because they believe they can't do it or are not naturally good at it. We address these preconceptions by ensuring that all children experience challenge and success in mathematics by developing a growth mindset. Regular and ongoing assessment informs teaching, as well as intervention, to support and enable the success of each child. These factors ensure that we are able to maintain high standards, with progress by the end of Key Stage 2 in line with national averages.
As part of our blended learning offer for those children who may find themselves having to work at home, we are posting all of our slide planning and teaching materials for each week on your child's Google Classroom. In the near future, you will be able to post work back to your teacher who will then mark and respond with improvement comments. Alongside our blended learning offer, please use the free White Rose parent packs for each year group by accessing the following link:
When you are directed to the website, you can then select from the blue headings shown below to find your year group's workbooks.
In addition to these parent workbooks, White Rose is also offering educational videos that can guide you through a mathematical concept with some very easy-to-follow explanations and models. Try to find the video that matches the area of maths you are learning about. Use the link below to access these videos:
When directed to the website, you will have the option to choose a particular year group's tutorial videos.
You may have seen some of 'I See Maths' used in your lessons in school. The creator of the company, and primary school teacher himself, Gareth Metcalfe, hosted some live, daily lessons during lockdown. You can revisit these lessons and try and solve some of his tricky problems by clicking on the link to the left.
I was watching the 'consecutive numbers' lesson the other day and found out a new trick! If you solve any of his problems, or need some help with them...get in touch with us.
The access to these videos will only be live for the rest of 2020.
The following link will take you to the Y3/4 resources - http://www.iseemaths.com/lessons34/
The following link will take you to the ⅚ resources - http://www.iseemaths.com/lessons56/
Problem of the Day
White Rose’s ‘Problems of the Day’ are still really useful in terms of getting in your maths for the day. Each day, problems were posted during the month of March and we have collected them for you to attempt at home. The orange problems are suitable for KS1 and the blue problems are suitable for KS2/3. The format has changed slightly so that the KS1 problems are a simplified version of the KS2/3 problems, which means you may be able, if you are in KS1, to attempt some of the KS2 problems. We may tweet @whiterosemaths with your solutions - you could be famous! Good luck and don't give up, problems are designed to be solved...and sometimes they are a little tricky!
If you find yourself stuck in the house and only have access to the outside via your garden, but don't fear! There are many ways to learn outside whether it be through creative play, painting and designing, literacy, music and even maths. Maths is all around you, you just need to spot it!
Many of the Early Years experiences are planned for the outdoors and some of our children's best learning takes place in the open air. Below, are some examples of things you could do outside that are linked to maths (and many more areas of the curriculum). They don't have to be recorded, these experiences can sometimes just happen incidentally.
Find those opportunities to:
Sort objects from the outdoors e.g. big, small, tallest, widest, by colour, by type using Venn diagrams or Carroll diagrams
Use chalk to design snakes and ladders add and subtract grids, hopscotch with number bonds to 10, create directions to complete a maze, number lines, grids to sort objects by value, write numbers and patterns.
Measure anything outdoors. Can you make comparisons between different objects. Which is the tallest? Shortest? Is it possible to estimate the length of something before you measure it? Order objects based on their length. You don't have to measure with a ruler or tape measure...can you measure with a non-standard unit e.g. bricks/stones/leaves
Make shapes using your body or the objects around you. Talk about their properties e.g. can you make a shape with 4 equal length sides? Can you make the same shape but with different materials? Identify shapes in the outdoor environment.
Design a target game. You could use chalk or make a target to aim at. Each of the sections can be worth different amounts. Challenge each other to try and make a certain amount. Talk about how many more you need to make a specific target. Who can get the most points, how do you know you have the most, who has the least? Vary the numbers so they are 1's,10's,100's,1000's, fractions, decimals etc.
Meet our TT Rockstar Ambassadors
Our TT Rockstar Ambassadors were appointed in March 2020 and will soon be finding new and innovative ways to set up new battles within the school, encourage and find ways to promote participation, reviewing rock speeds and update the Rockstar board, where possible.
Y4 Katy Smith
Y4 Kaden Ledsam-Brazier
Y5 Phoebe Eglinton
Y5 Alaana Smith
Y6 Ivy Brand
Y6 Poppy Brand
Y6 Mia Cope
Times Table Rockstars
To develop our children's fluency and confidence with multiplication and division facts, we use the TT Rockstars platform. Our aim is to get all of our children to develop a secure knowledge of the multiplication facts up to 12x12 alongside their related division facts. Not only do we want this to be secure, we also aim for our children to be able to recall these facts in less than three seconds per question.
To date, we have hosted whole school assemblies, phase assemblies and even reached out to other schools (including our federated school Bentley West Primary School) to encourage the use of the platform. Plans are in place, when this is possible, to host a 'Top of the Rocks' battle with other schools in the area in our Immersion room, bringing together some of the fastest 'human calculators' in the area.
Battles take place every week between year groups and classes and our children can get quite competitive! Leader boards are posted on the TT Rockstars display and our MVPs (Most Valuable Players) even get the chance to sign the guitar, just like a real rock legend!
Children from year 2 through to year 6 use the programme and will be set specific times tables by their teacher following work in the classroom on a particular set of multiples. They are also encouraged to challenge teachers through the 'Rockslam' section or improve their own rockspeed on 'Studio'. Our TT Rockstars ambassadors do a great job of monitoring the battles that take place, setting up new battles and raising the profile of the platform both in and out of school.
As a school, since the launch of TT Rockstars, we have seen our average speed per question drop from around 9.5 seconds to 3.4 seconds! (as of January 2020)
The documents below will better explain how Times Tables Rockstars works and will guide you through accessing the resource at home, your children should know their login details but please do contact us if you require any further assistance.
TT Rockstars ambassadors are responsible for setting up and overseeing the battles that take place.
When children reach the 'sub 3 second' mark, their photo is taken and posted on the wall. All of our MVPs are allowed to sign the guitar like a true rocker would.
All children are expected to know their times tables to 12 x 12 by the end of Year 4. This is a National Curriculum statutory requirement. Help your child learn these at home by chanting times tables and playing games. Ideas for activities can be found here: