Mathematics at Bransty

The national curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
  • reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
  • can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.

Mathematics is an interconnected subject in which pupils need to be able to move fluently between representations of mathematical ideas. The programmes of study are, by necessity, organised into apparently distinct domains, but pupils should make rich connections across mathematical ideas to develop fluency, mathematical reasoning and competence in solving increasingly sophisticated problems. They should also apply their mathematical knowledge to science and other subjects.

At Bransty Primary School, we follow government guidance from the Department for Education. This document was updated in June 2020 and is a fantastic document for coherency and progression of maths skills across the entire school.

Mastery Maths

At Bransty Primary School, we follow a mastery approach to learning. This means that over time at Bransty, pupils of all ages acquire a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject. The phrase ‘teaching for mastery’ describes the elements of classroom practice and school organisation that combine to give pupils the best chances of mastering maths. Achieving mastery means acquiring a solid enough understanding of the maths that’s been taught to enable pupils to move on to more advanced material.

A parents’ guide to the key features of a mastery approach:

  • class working together on the same topic

We are working on keeping the class together until specific concepts or skills are mastered and then moving on together. Parents need to know that this does not mean that some children will be left behind or others not challenged. Differentiation is now achieved through intervention and deeper understanding, as explained below.

  • speedy teacher intervention to prevent gaps

Those children that have not met the expected outcomes or have gaps in their understanding will be helped by receiving short, immediate extra time on maths later in the day. Parents need to know that this is a positive opportunity to consolidate their understanding and short practice activities at home could certainly be part of this to follow intervention.

  • challenge provided by going deeper not accelerating

For those children that have mastered the skill, concept or procedure they will be presented with higher order thinking activities, rather than accelerating through the curriculum. Some parents may find this difficult to understand so show them some problems and challenges that will highlight the mathematical thinking involved – better still give them some tasks to try.

  • focused, rigorous and thorough teaching

Within mastery the idea is to focus on one small step at a time in a lesson, with an emphasis on the mathematical structures involved and the best way to represent these through models and images.

  • more time on teaching topics – depth and practice

The same topic is likely to have the same focus until the class has mastered the concept, skill or procedure being taught. This is particularly the case for number and calculations. Parents will need to know that, although the focus areas are being taught over a longer time, there are smaller steps of progress and the extra time is for practice and depth, making the learning effective.

Please see the links below for some useful documents