At Sheringham, we teach maths for mastery, following the Maths No Problem scheme of work.
This approach is based on that used in Asian nations such as Singapore, where the students do incredibly well in maths! Here are some core elements of our approach:
EVERYONE LEARNS TOGETHER AND SUCCEEDS TOGETHER
In a traditional primary school maths lesson, children are put in different groups and learn different things based on what the teacher thinks their ability is.
This means that from an early age children are classed as those who can and can’t “do maths”. Teaching maths for mastery is different because it offers all pupils access to the full maths curriculum. Children always work in mixed ability pairs, where children can be learning resources for one another.
THERE IS TIME TO THINK DEEPLY ABOUT MATHS
Rather than learning one procedure for ‘doing maths’ (for example column addition), we focus on children really understanding their learning.
We emphasise solving problems in many different ways, and challenge our children to see the connections between methods. Children spend time describing how they solved one problem in different ways in their maths journal. This builds self-confidence and resilience in pupils.
CONCRETE AND PICTORIAL SUPPORT
Many people find that they understand maths better if they get to use objects, or they can see pictures which help them understand what the symbols in maths mean.
At Sheringham, children use cubes, counters, number disks and objects to help them understand what the maths they are using really means. They make links to pictures of problems and ideas, and explain what the links are. They understand mathematical concepts using everyday language (e.g ‘add’ means ‘together with’), which helps them understand what the numbers and symbols mean.
TOPICS LAST LONGER
Rather than spending a week or two on a topic (for instance ‘addition’), our children study the topic in greater depth and for longer.
This slower pace ensures that students are secure in their understanding and teachers don’t need to revisit topics once they’ve been covered in depth.
IMMEDIATE EXTRA TEACHING
Each year group has an extra teacher called a ‘Pupil Champion’.
When children are finding it hard to understand a topic or an idea, they will often have a ‘mini-lesson’ outside their normal maths lesson with the pupil champion. By immediately giving children extra support, we prevent children ‘falling behind’.
DEVELOPMENT OF BASIC FACT KNOWLEDGE AND MATHS FLUENCY
Basic facts include addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts (e.g. 7 x 5 = 35). At Sheringham we prioritise children understanding their basic facts, rather than just remembering them.
So instead of just remembering that 7 + 6 is 13, children will know that they can double 6 and add one to find the solution. Children are given basic facts homework every week, and parents and carers can help them learn by playing maths games (here’s a link to the games!)