Maths is important to us at Watchfield School. It is valued by everyone due to the existence of maths in our everyday world. We understand that children will encounter maths in their day to day lives, in the work place as they grow up, and every corner of the world including in nature itself. We therefore believe it is essential to provide the children with a curriculum that equips them the fundamental skills which are not only necessary in maths, but skills which can be transferred to many other areas of learning. In doing this, we follow a mastery scheme called the White Rose Maths which prioritises the teaching of number to build solid foundations. Each academic year begins by focusing on place value and calculation; these skills are then built on in subsequent lessons ensuring a clear, logical sequence of topics and objectives are taught throughout the year where children can make links with their previous learning. We also believe it is essential to allow children to develop their fluency of the fundamentals of mathematics and have therefore built in time for these skills to be practised daily. Once children are fluent in calculation they are able to tackle problems with greater confidence and resilience as they no longer have to tackle remembering ‘how’ to do the calculation, but can put their energy into ‘how’ to solve a problem.
To deepen children’s understanding of mathematics, and make learning accessible to all, we have adopted a CPA (concrete, pictorial, abstract) approach across the school. The initial ‘doing stage’ brings learning to life as children gain the experience of handling physical objects to help them understand what they are doing. The ‘seeing stage’ encourages children to visualise concrete experiences and provide links to the abstract. Having been exposed to these stages, we believe children will have a deeper understanding at the symbolic stage and be able to use and apply these skills in a wider range of contexts.
In designing our curriculum, we also believe it was important to give children ownership of learning; therefore, we encourage children to choose their own learning task that ranges in levels of difficulty; we call this approach Chilli maths. These tasks allow children to develop their fluency, reasoning and problem solving skills. This approach is introduced in Key Stage 1 and continues throughout the school. We believe this develops independent, confident and resilient mathematicians who relish a challenge.