Maths – developing our critical thinking and problem solving skills
At Victoria Primary School, we have developed a Maths curriculum focused on the three core areas of the National Curriculum: fluency, reasoning and problem solving. Our curriculum ensures that children establish a strong foundation of mathematical skills, whilst recognizing how maths is applied in real life situations.
In developing our curriculum, we have worked closely with the White Rose Maths Hub as part of their Teacher Research Group. Staff have been trained in principles of Maths Mastery and also participated in professional development through the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM). This has enabled us to tailor our curriculum and teaching approach to the bespoke needs of our children. Although our curriculum is White Rose aligned to ensure coverage, we encourage teachers to use other resources to deliver sessions if they feel it is more appropriate.
At Victoria Primary School, we place firm emphasis on understanding number. We are part of the NCETM Mastering Number Programme. The approach is used from Reception into Key Stage One, in order to ensure that all children have a strong understanding of number and fluency with number facts.
Our curriculum follows a systematic journey through mathematical concepts. Each unit of work is broken down into small steps to ensure that each lesson has a clear focus and activates prior knowledge and skills. Within each maths lesson, children have the opportunity to acquire, practice, apply and deepen their knowledge and skills as appropriate.
We explore concepts in a variety of ways, children use concrete objects and resources to gain a solid understanding of concepts covered. When children are confident in these concepts, we use pictorial representations, which can be used to help children with their reasoning and problem-solving skills. These concrete and pictorial representations support children in developing their understanding of abstract methods.
We use a ‘Head Scratching Pit’ to provide children with the skills to solve challenge problems with increasing independence. This empowers children to unpick the key elements of a problem and select the appropriate method in order to solve it efficiently.