'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 aim to ensure all pupils leave us with sound mathematical skills that allows them 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. '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 the 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 we flocking to 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.
Our curriculum is built so that pupils develop basic number knowledge in Early Years and Key Stage 1 and become fluent when calculating with number. 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 pupils 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 . Our children explore, find alternative methods and justify their approaches, not giving one-word responses and seeing maths as just 'giving the answer to the question'.
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.
- Teachers carefully choose manipulatives and pictorial representations which expose the structure of the mathematics and plan to address difficult points 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
- 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.
Concrete 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. No matter the ability of our children, we encourage them to use these manipulatives to embed and reinforce the image they need or already have of a concept.
- 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.
Times Table Rockstars
To develop our children's fluency and confidence with multiplication and division facts, we use 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 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: