Maths curriculum

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The purpose of Dartford Primary Academy’s Mathematics curriculum is to guarantee long-term learning for all children, regardless of need or background. It aims to ensure that all pupils become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, and in number, so that they develop a solid conceptual understanding as well as the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately. We have a mindset that all pupils can make progress in school and aspire for children to enjoy and grow in mathematical confidence. We teach the English National Curriculum for mathematics and use White Rose Hub and the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme as a vehicle for delivery. Through the philosophy of the IB, persistence and determination is fostered through a growth mindset approach and inquiry-led learning: we want children to understand that mistakes are a good thing and can be a helpful part of the learning process.

We believe that a sequentially mapped curriculum focusing on fluency of key number facts for long term memory allows children to use working memory for the new concepts and skills being introduced, leading to clear end points. We want pupils, not only to be able to recall number facts and be great arithmetic operators, but to be able to problem solve and reason with a variety of mathematical problems. By building mathematical vocabulary through explicit teaching and rehearsal from an early age, we expect to fill gaps, reflecting the academy’s local context, and build on already existing knowledge pupils have already obtained earlier in life. We intend to help pupils understand the world around them by providing life enriching skills that are vital for sustainable lifestyle choices and future careers such as engineering, architecture, medicine and business.

At Dartford Primary Academy we use the following teaching for mastery strategies for teaching and assessment:

  • Core maths facts are embedded at an early age and revisited on a daily basis using retrieval questions or a ‘daily 5’ to consolidate learning and embed concepts into our children’s long term memory.
  • Counting, adding and multiplication rehearsal takes place outside maths lessons during periods of transition. We use Times Table Rockstars and Numbots to provide a fun and engaging platform to sustain learning from home.
  • The same lessons are taught to the whole class to ensure equity of learning. This allows problem solving and reasoning to be taught explicitly to all pupils and not just those who become fluent at a faster rate.
  • Concrete, Pictorial and Abstract (CPA) approach is used to introduce new concepts and make links to prior learning allowing all pupils regardless of needs and background can access maths.
  • Reasoning is taught by focusing on key mathematical vocabulary that is then incorporated into well-written stem sentences which are rehearsed by the whole class within a variety of different contexts.
  • A talk-rich maths culture is created in classes: children use Agree, Build and Challenge (ABC) talk to build reasoning and discussions.
  • Lessons are broken down into carefully selected and cohesive steps that reduce the range of misconceptions, providing skills necessary towards lesson success. Every step has a point and leads on from the one previous.
  • Assessment takes place within each lesson through frequent low stakes testing or hinge questions: identifying those who need further challenge and those who require response to maths interventions with the intention to keep all pupils learning together.
  • All year groups use White Rose for a clear learning sequence which builds on prior learning and the development of new skills, which are repeated within the year and beyond – often revisiting previous year learning, to start with, ensuring core facts are secure before moving on. Teachers use White Rose schemes of learning flexibly, adapting the length of time they need for steps in learning according to the needs of their children.
  • Effective CPD opportunities for all staff continue to develop teacher knowledge with the implementation of the above strategies.

Our daily fluency questions, which have led to greater retention of core concepts, have helped reduce working memory overload in class. This has allowed pupils to make smoother progress in lessons and has had an impact on their arithmetic scores. Subsequently, this leads to better comprehension within reasoning and problem solving. All pupils, regardless of background or needs are becoming more able to articulate their maths thinking using mathematical vocabulary. They are more adept at sharing a range of ways in which questions can be answered. They’re becoming more efficient mathematicians as they discuss what they think is the most effective method to solve a problem. All of this gives them a solid grounding in mathematical knowledge and skills in that they know more, remember more and are able to do more. Consequently, all pupils, including those that are disadvantaged and pupils with SEND, acquire the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life and will be ready for the next stage of their education and their future careers by the time they leave Dartford Primary Academy.