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'Teaching For Mastery'

‘Teaching for mastery’ refers to classroom practice that supports pupils acquiring a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject. It is a research and evidence-based approach that is recommended by the Department for Education (DfE) and the National College for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM).

Whilst we have already embedded many elements of the ‘teaching for mastery’ approach, such as small step learning, using practical resources and encouraging pupils to represent problems in different ways, we have identified two key areas to move forward with:

  • Firstly, pupils will be taught by a phase teacher as a whole year group rather than in attainment sets or mixed classes . There is much evidence that not setting improves long-term outcomes for all pupils, regardless of their current attainment level, and in addition, it promotes a Growth Mindset. We very much want to send the message to every child that we are all mathematicians. We aim to achieve this message by ensuring that all pupils are suitably supported and challenged.
  • Secondly, we have invested in a high-quality DfE approved scheme called Power Maths. This consists of online tools to support teachers with planning and teaching as well as practice books for the pupils’ independent work. By using this scheme, we will ensure a consistent and cohesive approach across the school, alongside providing opportunities for teachers’ professional development.

Deep learning happens when skills and knowledge are applied in a variety of contexts. To give our pupils further opportunities to experience this, we will be looking at ways we can offer inquiry-based maths experiences which are cross-curricular, practical and offer an insight into the application of maths in the real world.

Power Maths

What is Power Maths?

Power Maths has been designed in line with the National Curriculum and is based on extensive research and experience of teaching and learning. It has been designed to support and challenge all pupils, and is built on the belief that everyone can successfully learn maths.

How does this support our approach to teaching?

Our philosophy at Wadhurst is that being successful in mathematics requires a deeper understanding of concepts rather than rote-learning procedures and methods. It should give opportunities for problem solving, deep thought and informed discussions. Power Maths includes intelligent practice to help children develop their conceptual understanding and fluent recall. The use of ‘small steps’ and the CPA (Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract) approach allows most children to access the same learning and concepts at the level appropriate to them.

Power Maths also uses growth mindset characters to prompt, encourage and question children whilst sparking curiosity, engaging reasoning, securing understanding and deepening learning for all.

How will the lessons work?

Maths lessons in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 follow a structured progression that draws the main learning into focus. Each element of the lesson is informed by research and best practice to build and embed knowledge and understanding.

  • Discover – each lesson begins with a problem to solve, often set in a real-life context. These are engaging and fun, and designed to get all children thinking and discussing their understanding.
  • Share – the class shares their ideas and compares different ways to solve the problem, explaining their reasoning with hands-on resources and drawings to make their ideas clear (CPA approach). Children are able to develop their understanding of the concept with input from the teacher.
  • Think together – the next part of the lesson is a journey through the concept, digging deeper so that each child builds on secure foundations while being challenged to apply their understanding in different ways and with increasing independence.
  • Fluency - children practice the concept in its simplest form through a variety of questions. This is then reviewed before children progress onto Independent Practice.
  • Independent Practice – now children practice individually or in small groups, rehearsing and developing their skills, building fluency, understanding of the concept and confidence.
  • Reflect – finally, children are prompted to reflect on and record their learning from each session and show how they have grasped the concept explored in the lesson.

What if pupils need further support or challenge?

Power Maths is based on a ‘small-steps’ approach, sometimes known as a mastery approach. This means that the concepts are broken down so that your child can master one idea without feeling over-whelmed. There are a range of fluency, reasoning and problem solving questions in each lesson that are designed to support the different needs and confidence levels within a class, while at the same time fostering a spirit of working and learning together. Each lesson includes a challenge question and opportunities for further explanation and challenge for those children who can delve deeper into a concept.

CPA Approach

CPA stands for Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract. This is a research based approach that structures the acquisition of knowledge and understanding for pupils by exploring concepts through three steps:

  • Concrete -  using concrete/physical objects to solve problems and bring concepts to life. Hands on mathematics aids understanding and builds a secure foundation to build on.

  • Pictorial - pupils create connections between physical objects and abstract understanding by using pictures, diagrams and bar models to represent concepts.

  • Abstract - the symbolic stage where children are able to use abstract symbols to demonstrate their conceptual understanding and solve mathematical problems.

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