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School Policy Statement
for
Mathematics
There are four main purposes to this policy:
It establishes an entitlement for all pupils;
It establishes expectations for the standards to be achieved;
It builds on what pupils have learned previously and promotes continuity and coherence across the school;
It states the schools approaches to this subject in order to promote public, and particularly parents and carers, understanding of the curriculum.
Introduction
The importance of mathematics to the curriculum
Mathematics equips pupils with a uniquely powerful set of tools to understand and change the world. These tools include logical reasoning, problem-solving skills, and the ability to think in abstract ways. Mathematics is important in everyday life, many forms of employment, science and technology, medicine, the economy, the environment, and in public decision-making. Different cultures have contributed to the development and applications of mathematics. Today the subject transcends cultural boundaries and its importance is universally recognised. Mathematics is a creative discipline. It can stimulate moments of pleasure and wonder when a pupil solves a problem for the first time, discovers a more elegant solution to that problem, or suddenly sees hidden connections.
The aims of mathematics and how these contribute to the schools aims
The school aims to:
provide a relevant, challenging and enjoyable curriculum for all pupils;
meet the requirements of the National Curriculum programmes of study;
make full use of the National Numeracy Strategy and the Framework for teaching mathematics to cover the National Curriculum in ways which give particular emphasis to numeracy skills;
promote mathematics as an essential element of communication, which allows pupils to describe, illustrate, interpret, predict and explain;
provoke an appreciation of the relationships in mathematics; that mathematics is not an arbitrary collection of disconnected items;
show pupils the fascination of mathematics and promote ways of doing mathematics which harnesses their imagination, initiative and flexibility of mind;
build pupils confidence by creating an I can do this ethos in the classroom;
encourage pupils to work systematically and to show a respect for accuracy and meaning;
encourage pupils to work independently and with others.
Strategy for implementation
Entitlement and curriculum provision
During the Foundation Stage our aim is for pupils to cover a broad curriculum that leads towards achieving the national expectations as described in the Early Learning Goals. In this way, the pupils are ready to take a full part in the dedicated mathematics lesson, by the end of the year. In order to achieve this, lessons comprise of: a whole class introduction, involving some counting, with finger games, number rhymes and songs; and a plenary for the whole class to discuss what has been learnt and for the teacher to assess and reward progress. The pupils may undertake group activities at the same time or activities may be structured across the school day, according to the pupils age, stage of development and level of maturity.
From Year 1, all pupils have a dedicated mathematics lesson every day. In Key Stage 1 lessons last about 45 minutes and 60 minutes in Key Stage 2.
Teaching and learning
We aim to provide all pupils with some direct teaching every day, which is oral, interactive and stimulating. Teaching styles and lesson structure provide opportunities for pupils to consolidate their previous learning, use and apply their knowledge, understanding and skills, pose and ask questions, investigate mathematical ideas, reflect on their own learning and make links with other work.
Our approach to teaching is based on four key principles:
a dedicated mathematics lessons every day;
direct teaching and interactive oral work;
an emphasis on mental calculation;
activities differentiated in a manageable way so that all pupils are engaged in mathematics related to a common theme.
As much time as possible is spent in each lesson in direct teaching and questioning of the whole class, groups or individuals. There is an appropriate range of elements in the teaching, namely directing, instructing, demonstrating, explaining and illustrating, questioning and discussing, consolidating, evaluating responses and summarising. Pupils are encouraged to make decisions, communicate their understanding to others and to reason. Teachers aim to create an environment where pupils are secure and feel confident in being able to take risks in their learning.
Assessment and recording
Assessment and recording are undertaken at three levels: short-term, medium-term and long-term.
Short-term assessments
Teachers keep their own informal records of those pupils whose progress is markedly different from that which is expected. These informal records are notes of anything which surprises them, either in terms of a lack of understanding or exceptionally good progress.
These observations are supplemented by:
short, informal tests focussing on rapid recall of mental calculation skills;
homework and other informal tests (which are often followed immediately by marking and discussion with the whole class);
notes on planning sheets.
Medium-term assessments
Each unit of work is evaluated using information arising from assessments. Teachers annotate their plans to indicate the extent to which:
ability groups have met the objectives;
ability groups have responded but the objective needs more attention;
objectives were not covered, or groups of pupils did not achieve them.
On two days every half term assessment activities are planned which involve a range of ideas and skills linked to one or more of the key objectives covered previously. Assessments are made as a result of this work. Teachers provide constructive written and oral comments, as opposed to marks out of 10 or grades, on any written work produced as soon as possible after the assessment activity in order to help pupils to appraise their own performance and focus on what they need to do to improve.
Pupils progress towards the key objectives is recorded using a class record. An example is described on page 35 of section 1 of the Framework.
As a result, of these assessments individual targets are discussed with pupils. These targets are related to the list of key objectives. Parents are kept informed about these so that they can support their childs learning. Key numeracy objective sheets are given to parents at the parents evenings or at other times as appropriate
Short and medium term assessments are designed to be largely formative.
Long-term assessments
This is undertaken through a combination of teacher assessment and end of year tests. The tests used are the national tests at the end of Year 2 and 6 and the optional tests for Years 3, 4 and 5.
Summative teacher assessments are made in relation to each child at the end of each year. In order to moderate judgements teachers in each key stage examine samples of pupils work, representing a range of ability, from each class and each year group.
At the end of each year, each teacher uses their informal records, their class record of key objectives and their annotated termly plans to support them in writing annual reports to parents.
Continuity and progression
The yearly teaching objectives and the termly planning sheets from the Framework are used consistently by all teachers to ensure continuity and progression across the school.
Teachers use also the Supplement of examples in the Framework to ensure that planned activities, irrespective of the age and ability, are pitched at the right level.
Teachers records are transferred to the next teacher, together with a recent example of each pupils written work.
Each teacher has time allocated to discuss each pupils attainment and progress with their existing teacher at the end of the term before pupils move class.
Inclusion
All pupils are included in the daily mathematics lessons and have experience of direct, interactive and lively teaching appropriate for their age and stage of development.
During the mental oral session, teachers use a mixture of questions directed at the whole class and some questions pitched specifically at particular groups or individuals within the class, in order to ensure the involvement of all pupils. Teachers leave sufficient thinking time after questions and use a balance of open and closed questions.
During the main teaching activity, teachers plan activities, which are differentiated around a single mathematical theme.
Across each week all pupils have the opportunity discuss their learning experience during the plenary.
Organisation
A typical lesson in Years 1 to 6 is structured along the following lines:
oral work and mental calculation (about 10 minutes) focusing on whole-class work to rehearse, sharpen and develop mental and oral skills;
the main teaching activity (about 40 minutes) which comprises of a significant amount of direct teaching and pupils activities involving work with the whole class, groups, pairs or individuals as appropriate;
a plenary (about 10 minutes) to work with the whole class to sort out misunderstandings, identify progress, summarise key facts and ideas, make links to other work, discuss next steps and set work to do at home.
Learning resources
The following resources are used regularly and are available as appropriate in all classrooms:
number tracks for Reception and Year 1 that are placed so the children can touch them);
a long number line that is placed conveniently for the teacher and pupils;
digit cards;
place value or arrow cards;
large 100 squares accessible for pupils to touch;
sets of 2-D and 3-D shapes as appropriate;
squared paper of different sizes.
Small apparatus, eg counters, interlocking cubes, pegs and pegboard, straws, rulers, coins, dominoes, dice, base 10 equipment, calculators (when needed), measuring equipment and some mathematical software to support whole class teaching of mathematical concepts is also provided as appropriate.
Wherever possible appropriate resources are available in the classrooms so there is no the need to share with others.
The learning environment
Classrooms are stimulating learning environments. Displays contain a mixture of:
problems to stimulate imagination; prompts to help pupils develop an image of number and the number system (for example number squares and number lines) and to help them remember key facts and vocabulary;
pupils work which celebrates achievement.
Staffing
Teachers are responsible for planning and teaching all elements of the mathematics curriculum to their pupils. The mathematics subject leader will provides support and guidance to all teachers.
When teachers are supported by teaching assistants their work is directed by the teacher. In general, their role is help the pupils they work with derive as much benefit and make as much progress in lessons as possible. They take part in staff development and have regular discussions with teachers about the purpose of activities and the progress that pupils they work with make. They are expected to contribute to planning, assessment and evaluation.
Homework
Regular and frequent homework is set for pupils in Key Stage 2. This consists of short written exercises or tasks, which consolidate and develop work done in lessons.
Pupils in Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 are expected to undertake mathematics homework at least once each week. This will amount to around an hours work for older children in Years 5 and 6.
These tasks are varied, interesting and fun. They must motivate and stimulate pupils learning and encourage good study skills.
In Key Stage 1, homework is set less frequently than once per week snd it is not usually written work.
Activities in both key stages comprise of the following:
activities that makes use of the home context;
number games or puzzles;
some number facts to learn by heart;
activities requiring pupils to collect data or take measurements;
problems to think through and decide how they might be solved;
preparing contributions to group presentations to the rest of the class.
The role of parents and carers
The role of parents is very important and school seeks to support the education partnership between home and school. Parents may become involved in the following ways:
attending workshops, open days and open evenings so that national expectations, the mathematics curriculum and our approach to teaching can be explained;
invitations for parents to help in classrooms;
regular opportunities for parents to have confidential discussions about their childs progress with the teacher;
prominent displays around the school which promote the subject and explain how it is taught;
through work sent home which might require parents to work with or help their child; by a termly newsletter about mathematics activities in school;
through an established family numeracy programme designed to help those parents who want to become more confident in their own mathematical skills.
The contribution of mathematics to the curriculum
Literacy
Mathematics supports literacy by:
teaching mathematical vocabulary and technical terms;
asking pupils to read and interpret problems;
expecting pupils to locate and discuss the mathematics in problems;
expecting pupils to explain, argue and present their conclusions to others;
Literacy supports mathematics for example, in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, stories, rhymes and songs are sometimes chosen which rely for their appeal on the pleasure of counting, the sequencing of events, and the use of everyday words such as on and under, up and down to describe position or direction. In Key Stage 2, the literacy hour can be used to read non-fiction in which mathematical vocabulary, graphs, charts and tables have to be interpreted.
Numeracy
Numeracy is not a subject in its own right. It is a skill, which is acquired through being taught mathematics effectively.
Numeracy is a proficiency, which involves confidence and competence with numbers and measures. It requires an understanding of the number system, a repertoire of computational skills and an inclination and ability to solve number problems in a variety of contexts. Numeracy demands practical understanding of the ways in which information is gathered by counting and measuring, and is presented in graphs, diagrams, charts and tables. Numeracy is the application of number and computational skills across the curriculum and in daily life
Through our approach to the teaching of mathematics we aim to achieve good standards of numeracy in all our pupils.
Information communication technology
Numeracy / ICT links are planned for at least once a term. This is recorded on the medium term planning sheets. Computers are used as teaching tools in the daily mathematics lesson in order to encourage pupils to:
explore, describe and explain number patterns (e.g. by using a counting programme or a spreadsheet);
practice and consolidate their number skills (e.g. by using programmes designed to sharpen accuracy, the recognition of number or shape);
explore and explain patterns in data (by using data-handling applications);
estimate and compare measures of length or distance, angle and time (by using a floor robot or programme which allows the child to navigate a point around the screen);
experiment with and discuss properties of patterns in shape and space (by using applications that transform shapes and create geometric patterns)
to take continuous measurements in science using sensing equipment.
Spiritual development
Mathematics is not a dry, unyielding subject which requires merely pupils to memorise facts and procedures. Real mathematical activity is creative, personal and enlightening. The way in which ideas are created and problems solved is a significant part of what makes us human. Pupils are encouraged to be aware of the power and beauty of mathematics, to reflect on and celebrate their own abilities, as well as those of others, and to see how mathematics can sometimes give insight into situations which go beyond the physical (eg when appreciating the idea of infinity).
Personal, social and health education
The ability to work collaboratively as well as individually is an essential quality in good mathematics learning. Group work and problem solving activities are a regular feature of lessons so that pupils develop qualities such as tolerance and the ability to see other points of view. These activities encourage pupils to develop their own strengths when working as a member of a team.
Pupils are encouraged to reflect on the moral and social implications of what might be the best "mathematical" solution when looking at real life problems (e.g. the best place to build a road or the most efficient way of making a business profitable).
Staff development and training opportunities
As a result of monitoring and evaluation procedures and the whole school staff development policy, individual teachers and whole school needs are identified. Funds allocated for the National Numeracy Strategy are used to fund supply for training, to enable teachers to observe colleagues lessons and to observe leading mathematics teachers in other schools.
All teachers have the opportunity to observe lessons in this school.
The mathematics leader will attend all centrally organised numeracy and mathematics training. The mathematics leader will attend one conference per year for subject leaders.
Funds are allocated for the equivalent of up to two days each financial year for the services of mathematics advisers to support and monitor the schools progress in implementing the NNS and raising standards of attainment.
Leadership and management roles
The mathematics subject leader is responsible for supporting the development of effective teaching across the school.
The main roles are to:
teach demonstration lessons;
ensure that teachers are familiar with the Framework and help them plan lessons;
lead by example in the way they teach;
prepare, organise and lead training, with the support of the headteacher;
support the headteacher in carrying out an audit and agreeing an action plan with staff and the governing body;
work co-operatively with the SENco in providing advice and support to staff;
observe colleagues from time to time, with a view to identifying the support they need;
attend training to broaden their knowledge of mathematics and mathematics teaching;
discuss regularly with the headteacher and governor responsible for numeracy the schools progress of implementing the National Numeracy Strategy.
The role of the headteacher is very important in ensuring that the school is successful in raising levels of attainment in mathematics. The headteachers role is to:
lead, manage and monitor the implementation of the National Numeracy Strategy, including monitoring teachers planning and the quality of teaching in classrooms;
with the numeracy governor, keep the governing body informed about the progress of the NNS;
carry out an audit of mathematics across the school, with the subject leader;
agree an action plan for achieving the schools targets with the whole staff and governing body;
plan, organise and lead an annual open evening or day for parents to inform them about the National Numeracy Strategy and ways in which they can support it;
support the subject leader, SENco and staff in implementing the NNS;
deploy support staff, with the help of the SENco, to maximise their impact;
manage the schools allocation of funds for training, including the release time for staff (eg to observe leading mathematics teachers, demonstration lessons in school, shared teaching sessions or support for planning).
The full governing body retains responsibility for raising standards in mathematics; the role of the numeracy governor is to raise the profile of the subject and to be source of support and a critical friend to the school.
The governors role is to:
to attend some training;
meet with the headteacher and subject leader to discuss the schools progress and future plans in implementing the NNS;
hold discussions with teachers and observe some teaching at each Key Stage with the headteacher or the subject leader;
produce and agree an annual governors report about mathematics;
work with the school to inform parents about and involve them in their pupils mathematics.
Monitoring and evaluation
There are plans in place to monitor regularly the work of the school and to evaluate how effective the teaching and learning is in raising standards. These judgements take into account the pupils ability on entry and their relative progress across stages.
Annual action plans will take the above into account. Monitoring focuses on those aspects of our work, which have direct relevance to pupils and their learning, namely:
what the pupils are learning;
their attitudes to learning;
the standards they attain;
the quality of our planning and teaching.
Evaluation of this information informs strategic planning. To do this the following monitoring activities take place as appropriate in line with the schools policy:
looking at pupils work;
observing lessons;
looking at teachers planning;
discussing with staff, pupils, parents and the governing body;
analysing questionnaires to pupils, staff and parents;
analysing a range of data and records (eg assessments and test results).
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