Mathematics at Langley Mill Academy
The answer is just the beginning...
At Langley Mill Academy children strive to become accomplished mathematicians, knowing and applying the basic facts whilst also developing reasoning and enriching understanding, leading to an appreciation of the power and beauty of maths.
All pupils should achieve: we aim to develop a culture of deep understanding, confidence and competence in maths – a culture that produces strong, secure learning and real progress. Pursuing reasoning should begin when knowledge is secure, offering enrichment, and providing a bridge to effective problem solving.
A mastery of maths approach, and prompt, effective, measurable intervention is a vehicle for catching pupils up - and keeping them caught up. At Langley Mill Academy we use the mastery of maths approach. This means that content is blocked and taught through the elements below so that pupils acquire a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject.
We recognise that fluency and mathematical reasoning are not as ends in themselves, but as means to support pupils in the most important goal of all: solving problems. We teach our pupils critical thinking processes such as reasoning and problem solving; however we recognise that these skills are intimately intertwined with factual knowledge that is stored in long-term memory.
Thinking well requires knowing facts and developing fluency. Mathematical reasoning then provides a bridge to problem solving.
Our maths curriculum follows the White Rose Maths Scheme of Learning ensuring structured progression through a blocked, mastery approach. Smart slide lessons are fluid and responsive, planned in response to the previous learning success- not set in stone from a pre-planned document. All lessons follow this structure:
Revisit: Concepts & strategies from previous blocks are revisited and refreshed to embed learning.
Daily Counting: Times tables, sequences & associated varied ‘facts 4 fun’.
Mathematical Talk: Teachers and pupils will discuss vocabulary and explore concepts to reactivate prior learning & secure knowledge.
Varied fluency: Pupils expand their understanding, through variation, rather than a variety of tasks. Manipulatives & use of images allows pupils to build mental models on which to hang their understanding of a concept.
Reasoning: Pupils are exposed to rich problems and have opportunities to share reasoning, with working partners, groups and whole class.
Challenge: Pupils are applying skills fluently and efficiently, selecting tasks for independent practice. Challenge culture is promoted & pupils assume responsibility for their own learning, supporting independence with the class ‘Enable Table’, or advancing to the next challenge.
Reflection: Children are challenged to apply, analyse and reflect using their own examples and drawings. Questioning is open and part of marking & assessment.
Working walls support the maths block with Make, Draw, Prove & Explain It grids linking practical and abstract models helping pupils to develop mastery.
In our lessons:
- Pupils are thinking and reasoning. Pupils have opportunities to share learning and reasoning with working partners, groups and through whole class feedback.
- Pupils are applying skills fluently and efficiently, & arrive at accurate answers.
- Practical equipment from the 'enable table' allows pupils to build mental models on which to hang their understanding of a concept.
- Pupils of all abilities are using images & practical resources to deepen their understanding when appropriate.
- Work from our textbooks with 3 levels of 'challenge choice', promotes independent application and deepens new concepts.
Our scheme of work
We have chosen a scheme of learning called 'White Rose Maths' to support us in teaching the new mathematics curriculum. The scheme ensures full coverage of the curriculum. We also provide a text book resource through Collins and CGP with 3 levels of challenge choice for each lesson objective. Weekly plans are fluid and responsive. Progress Guides provide opportunities for support and extension, and Learning Activities ensure practical exploration of concepts. Independent learning activities are set by the teacher on a daily basis, and children can move between challenges depending on their understanding.
Pupils' voice interviews have shown children to be enthusiastic and driven to attain the higher challenges. They enjoy working both practically, pictorially and in the abstract:
'I do challenge three but I sometimes do two first. I do really well at 3 and I like it' (Y4 child)
'I like using protractors to measure angles' (Y5)
'I practise until I get it right, and do the next challenge if I finish' (Y6)
'I like the textbook as I don't need to look up all the time' (Y5)
'I need to do this' (Y3 child when asked what developmental marking in his book meant)
We address interventions quickly so that pupils can keep up. Elements of ‘Smart lessons’ remain unplanned & quickly editable, allowing opportunity for concepts to be reinforced or understanding extended. Online O-Track Assessment grids track teaching & understanding. Developmental marking extends & challenges all pupils.
If pupils are assessed as working ‘just below’ or ‘well below’ we use the highly effective intervention Success@ Arithmetic: number sense or calculation. A number age increase of +18 months is usually attained demonstrating measurable impact & enabling access to Year group teaching and learning.
Targets aim to ensure that children have the basic knowledge they require in maths. We call this the fluency of maths and each day part of the lesson is devoted to a counting and fluency task. The fluency & targets focus on these areas:
- Time tables, ensuring that by the end of Year 4, and in line with the National Curriculum expectations, children know all their multiplication tables.
- Variation around known facts. (600 x 0.7)
- Application of formal methods.
- A year specific target ( for example, fractions in Y5, algebra Y6 etc.)
- Individual pupil targets and development points (to be added by the child's teacher throughout the year)
It is expected that all children will learn their tables by the end of Year 4, and through revision and practice, retain and apply this knowledge in Year 5 and 6. We have also introduced an additional 'Target Maths' 10 minute session each day so that the skills can be practised. This session will include counting and tables games; chanting and singing; writing out tables; practising written methods and revisiting misconceptions.
If you would like to work on essential facts at home, the ever popular Hit The Button provides a good starting point with tables, doubles, halves, number bonds and square number facts for both children and adults to enjoy.
Maths in other subjects
Children have opportunities to apply mathematics within other subjects. In the 2019-20 academic year, children at Langley Mill have used maths in the following:
- Data loggers used in science, requiring pupils to record numerical data and find averages (Y6)
- Weighing and measuring when preparing ingredients (Y3 and Y6)
- Measuring angles in art work (Y5)
- Healthy eating plate fractions (Y4)
- Converting imperial to metric measurements when learning about rationing (Y6)
- Drawing timelines and sorting events chronologically in history (Y6)
Parents - keeping you informed
An essential element of our values and vision at Langley Mill is the successful home-school partnership. In maths we will provide a newsletter detailing how to support your child in maths, especially in regard to the learning of times tables and the end of Year 4 expectations.
If you ever have any concerns regarding your child's progress or attainment in maths or simply want to enhance their learning further at home, please get in touch or pop in to talk to us anytime. We have a wealth of resources and interventions that can help children in areas that they find difficult and we have experience with clearing any emerging misconceptions. It is essential that children make academic progress, remain confident learners and stay caught up.
We are shaping assured, happy and resilient mathematicians who relish the challenge of maths. They become independent, reflective thinkers, whose skills not only liberate them in maths but also support them in life. Children’s books show developing fluency, applied reasoning, problem solving and challenge. Our pupils have a deeper knowledge of maths as they do simply rely on learnt procedure: they recognise representation and variation. We work hard to ensure that pupil performance in maths is genuine and under pinned by secure learning, knowledge and understanding.
End of Key Stage results have increased 58%, 71%, 74% & 89% since 2016 in mathematics, with our disadvantaged pupils now in line with national non-disadvantaged data.
Our maths lead is Mr Wood