Maths is a core subject at St John XXIII and this is reflected in the time dedicated to teaching it each day. Each class (Y1 – Y6) has an hour long maths lesson each day which focuses on teaching children to master a carefully structured ‘small step’ in our maths curriculum.
Each lesson uses a range of varied fluency and reasoning stem sentences to allow teachers to assess thoroughly whether children have mastered the small step.
Children are also exposed to a range of carefully selected challenges to allow for children to access problem solving at a level that stretches them but also allows all children to have access to greater depth standard questioning. These challenges are taken from a range of high quality sources, altered for class, open ended, low ceiling-high threshold style challenges which teachers select specifically.
As a mastery curriculum prescribes, children spend longer on topics to help gain deeper understanding, making connections, keeping the class working together on the same topic and a fundamental belief that, through effort, all pupils are capable of understanding, doing and improving at mathematics. It is also recognised that just spending a longer period of time on a topic doesn’t mean that all pupils will ‘master’ it the first time they see it, and that they need to see it again and again in different contexts and in different years to help them truly develop their understanding on their journey to mastery, so there is also the revisiting and reinforcing features of spiral curricula too.
Number and the four operations is given more weight across the school year and other more isolated strands are positioned carefully throughout the year For example, it doesn’t really matter whether angles is taught before statistics or the other way round, so for these more ‘stand-alone’ topics (they all have some dependency, e.g. on number, if not on each other) we try to organise these to give as varied a curriculum as possible. We also try to avoid one topic always being at the end of Summer term, or similar, to minimise the chance of something not being covered.
As well as highly structured maths curriculum, in order to limit the gap between intent and impact, there are continuous opportunities for children to use and improve their maths skills outside of lessons. Maths is used across the curriculum and is the focus of several whole school events per year.