The School offers an environment rich in mathematical opportunities starting in our Early Years classes, where we lay the foundations for mathematical understanding. Head of Maths, Mr David Sowry, gives an overview of the mathematical journey in Prep (also see below for Early Years and Pre-Prep):
The Mathematics Department is a vibrant place to work. A recent update to our Schemes of Work, allows the staff in lower Key Stage 2 (Years 3 and 4) to build on the foundations put in place by our Pre-Prep. A focus on Maths Mastery means the shift from Pre-Prep to Prep is seamless and similar methodology continues.
Years 5 to 8 then build on this further by developing the abstract aspects of Mathematics, moving from hands-on experiences to dealing with number in more complex situations. We have aligned our Schemes in this part of the school with Langley Senior School. More able pupils in Years 6-8 are given the opportunity to work ahead of their chronological age in order to attempt scholarship work as needed.
Regular opportunities to problem solve and investigate are integrated within lessons for all pupils, regardless of their current abilities. We make regular use of technology both for teaching and for pupils to learn online.
We make every effort to use mathematics within other subjects. Technology, Geography and Science are obvious areas of cross-curricular opportunities but recent sessions in both French and Latin where pupils have been calculating in alternative languages have also been popular.
We enter pupils who would benefit from the experience into national competitions such as the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust Junior Mathematical Challenge (UKMT), the Primary Maths Challenge (PMC) and Sumdog. You can find out more about UKMT and PMC (including examples of the types of questions) from here:
A select group of our Year 6 children will be representing the School at the Norfolk Maths Challenge in the next few weeks.
In addition to ensuring the pupils develop those crucial skills for using Mathematics confidently in life, we continue to find ways to integrate the soft-skills into lessons. The pupils often work collaboratively in lessons and we reward those who use mistakes as a way to improve performance.
As parents, there are two simple ways to help on the journey. Firstly, regularly practise times tables with your child. If you are unsure as to what level of difficulty, please see your child’s teacher. This includes knowing the division facts as well as multiplication. Secondly, ensure you know what your child’s Prep is and show an interest in what they are doing. If it is multi-layered, please encourage them to try Should or Could options, not just the Must.
Mr Sowry’s presentation from his Maths Information Evening for Parents can be found on the Parents Portal in the Academic Details section.
Maths Mastery in Pre-Prep
We lay the foundations of mathematical understanding in the Early Years and Pre-Prep. We are always looking to update and improve our mathematical learning, and recently adopted a ‘Maths Mastery’ approach, which stems from high-performing Asian nations. The idea is to ensure children develop a deep and secure knowledge and understanding of a concept in all of its forms before progressing onto the next steps.
For Early Years, the basics of mathematics focuses on counting and numbers. The concept of counting is actually quite complex. Children need to progress through the steps to ensure mastery. If you would like to help at home, the CBeebies series ‘Numberblocks’ is an excellent resource.
For Pre-Prep, the main features of mastery are:
• Building from concrete use of apparatus, through pictorial representations to abstract representations of mathematical concepts.
• Showing understanding by demonstrating a varied fluency approach.
• Applying learning in reasoning and problem solving tasks.
• Focus on the use of full sentences to consolidate understanding and recall.
Mathematics is all around us and we are always exploring mathematics in a variety of contexts: from lining up whilst counting to telling the time. To help engage the children, we recently celebrated all things mathematical with our now-annual ‘Number Day’.
Recently our Oak class has been focusing on Numicon and learning to identify this brightly coloured piece of equipment by sight. This will stand them in good stead for Reception when they begin learning number bonds to 10. Reception has been looking at place value within ten, whilst Year 1 has been investigating 2D shapes and Year 2 have been making tally charts and pictograms.