Mathematics

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Intent

The 2014 National Curriculum for Maths aims to ensure that all children:

  • Become fluent in the fundamentals of Mathematics
  • Are able to reason mathematically
  • Can solve problems by applying their Mathematics

At Rudston Primary School, these skills are embedded within challenging Maths lessons and developed consistently over time. We are committed to ensuring that children are able to recognise the importance of Maths in the wider world, becoming resilient in their approach and that they are also able to contextualise their mathematical skills and knowledge. We want all children to respect and enjoy Mathematics and to experience success in the subject, with the ability to reason mathematically. We are committed to developing children’s curiosity about the subject, as well as an appreciation of the beauty and power of Mathematics.

Singapore Maths      Maths – No Problem!

At Rudston we believe that every child can master an understanding and love of Maths with the right kind of teaching and support. We are seeking to further improve our standard of Maths education by providing high quality textbooks, teaching resources and professional development based on the transformational teaching methods developed in Singapore. These methods emphasise the consistent use of visual representation to aid conceptual understanding. For example, ‘bar models’ are used to represent the relative sizes of quantities and fractional parts. Currently, as a school we use the Liverpool Calculations Policy for progression in calculations.

What is Singapore Maths?

Students can under perform in mathematics because occasionally they might find it boring or they can’t remember all the rules. The Singapore method of teaching mathematics develops pupils’ mathematical ability and confidence without having to resort to memorising procedures to pass tests – making mathematics more engaging and interesting.

Rudston Parents Introduction to Singapore Maths

Ofsted, the National Centre for Teaching Mathematics (NCETM), the Department for Education, and the National Curriculum Review Committee have all emphasised the methods of teaching used by Singapore, which can enable a person to discover or learn something for themselves.

Resources at home….and in class

Fantastic resource for family maths at home. Have fun and tell us what you think?      http://www.nationalnumeracy.org.uk/family-maths-toolkit

This is a maths help desk in Year 1. All classrooms will have one to support independant learning in maths.

This is a maths help desk in Year 1. All classrooms have one to support independent learning in maths.

We don’t understand maths in school?

In the olden days (i.e. when lots of us were children), the emphasis in maths was on learning facts and methods that would give the correct answer, such as ‘carrying’ and ‘borrowing’ hundreds, tens and units (HTUs). And, if you haven’t suppressed the painful memories, this usually involved working through pages of sums laboriously. Maths work in class was usually done on an individual basis so children couldn’t copy each other’s work.

Very often, children did not understand why these methods worked, only that if they followed the rules they would get the right answer and a tick from the teacher. There was also a big emphasis on learning times tables by chanting them out loud and having regular tests.  Gradually, there was a move towards the idea that maths could be made more interesting and relevant through teaching it differently.

The introduction of the National Curriculum and then the numeracy strategies put the emphasis on the need for children to ‘know, understand and do’, to be able to talk about their maths through the use of language, symbols and vocabulary, and to be able to explain their methods and offer reasons for their choices.

There was a recognition, too, that learning tables was very helpful in making complicated multiplication and division sums easier to complete quickly. So nowadays, the maths techniques and methods children are taught in schools are based on giving them an understanding of mathematics and helping them to articulate that through explaining, discussing their work with each other and involving them in solving problems that apply to everyday life.

Children learn different methods for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. There is, for example, ‘chunking’ for division, the ‘grid’ method for multiplication and ‘partitioning’ for adding HTUs.  A number line is used in a variety of different contexts from age four upwards.

For parents, who didn’t experience these techniques while they were at school, there’s a learning curve to understand how children are being taught maths.  Like most parents – numerate or otherwise – the first reaction to this was annoyance. Why have they changed it?  Now my child gets cross when I try to explain using my methods.  Is this why some people reckon the country’s maths is going to the dogs?  What becomes clear is that at school you may have been one of the lucky ones.  Being strong with numbers, you had no problem learning the black-box techniques of long multiplication and long division, and usually got the right answer.  But for a huge proportion of children, these techniques were a meaningless chore.  Ask most adults today to carry out a long multiplication or division sum and they will look blankly at you.

The importance of strong number skills has never gone away.  We are inundated by numbers all the time, whether it’s somebody flogging us a mobile phone package or a politician trying to convince us about a particular policy. As a society we have to make sense of these numbers if we are to successfully manage our lives.

Do we all need to be able to work out 27 x 43 precisely with a pen and paper?  Probably not.  But we do need to know that 27 x 43 is roughly 30 x 40, and that this is roughly 1,200.  It’s partly the need to have a good feel for numbers that is behind the modern methods. The emphasis has moved away from blindly following rules (remember borrowing one from the next column and paying back?) towards techniques a child understood.

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