We believe that all pupils, regardless of background, should enjoy mathematics and succeed in the subject, becoming competent and confident mathematicians. We aim for our pupils to acquire a deep, long-term and secure understanding of mathematics. We are committed to developing pupils’ curiosity about the subject, enabling them to make meaningful and rich links to real life contexts that will be relevant and useful in the world of work.
At Powers Hall Academy, we believe that pupils should:
- Make sense of mathematics and demonstrate understanding through exposure to different representations using the principles of CPA – Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract:
- Concrete – the doing: children use manipulatives (counters, base-10 equipment) to represent the concept they are being taught. This ‘hands on’ component using real objects is the foundation for conceptual understanding
- Pictorial – the seeing: children can use pictures and models to represent the concrete manipulatives
- Abstract – the symbolic: this is the concept in the abstract form which is more readily understood once children have explored the concrete and pictorial. Pupils’ are now capable of representing problems by using mathematical notation. This is the most formal and efficient stage of mathematical understanding. Abstract representations can simply be an efficient way of recording the maths, without being the actual maths.
- Communicate and develop mathematical language using a carefully sequenced, structured approach to introducing and reinforcing mathematical vocabulary throughout maths lessons, so pupils have the opportunity to work with word problems from the beginning of their learning. This is achieved through:
- Sharing the key vocabulary at the beginning of every lesson in the ‘Discover’ section and insisting on its use throughout
- Modelling clear sentence structures and expecting pupils to respond using a full sentence
- Maths talk, allowing pupils to discuss their thinking and reasoning of the concepts being presented using stem sentences
- Think mathematically and build resilience to the challenges they face within and across the subject by having the opportunity to:
- Explore, wonder, question and conjecture- feeling safe to make mistakes and learn from these through exploring their own understanding and application of maths
- Compare, classify, sort- using clear verbal reasoning as to how or why they have classified their objects- again with the confidence to explain and discuss their thoughts with their peers and their teachers
- Experiment, play with possibilities, vary an aspect and see what happens- similar to how children learn to play with language in literacy- explore what happens when the changes are made, are there patterns that appear- if so what is happening and from this can they predict what will happen as the sequences continue?
- Make theories and predictions and act purposefully to see what happens- making generalisations and exploring them both independently, with peers and with adults alike.
It is important that we support all pupils in developing their mathematical thinking, both in order to improve the way in which they learn, as well as the learning itself. Good questioning can be used to develop pupils’ ability to compare, modify and generalise, all building a deeper understanding of mathematics.
The content and principles underpinning the Mathematics curriculum at Powers Hall Academy reflect those found in high-performing education systems internationally, particularly those of east and south-east Asian countries. These principles convey how our curriculum is implemented.
At Powers Hall Academy, we use Power Maths as a basis of our maths lesson to achieve the aims set out by the National Curriculum. This is an exciting class mastery approach, which has been recommended by the DfE, that works for every child. It is based upon the concrete, pictorial and abstract approach. Every lesson is divided into sections that involve plenty of discovery, sharing, collaboration, practice and reflection. Children are encouraged to solve problems each day through the use of concrete resources, pictorial representations and abstract thinking.
At the heart of this programme is the idea that all children can achieve and be successful mathematicians with the right growth mindset. It promotes five child friendly characters, each with their own positive skillset, to inspire and motivate children. These characters can be found across our school and are allies for our children:
- are open-minded and like to think differently
- will come up with a variety of methods or ideas to solving a problem
- are resilient and never give up even if our methods are not the most efficient
- always enjoy making mistakes and learning from them
- are confident, willing to take risks and are unafraid of failure
- are happy to share and discuss our ideas with others, learning from each other
- are eager, interested and inquisitive, asking lots of questions
At Powers Hall Academy, we ensure that pupils are supported in developing their collaborative and independent skills through a supportive ethos and culture. All pupils are encouraged to develop a growth-mindset through the experience of challenge and success. Teachers proactively promote a ‘can-do’ attitude to mathematics to make sure that children, teachers and parents really believe they can do maths!
Assessment is integrated throughout our lessons and unit structure. This helps teachers make regular assessments of children’s understanding to inform their teaching and measure progress. For children, assessment is a chance for them to review key concepts and reflect on their learning using maths journals.
Opportunities for assessment include:
- Formative assessment within every lesson
- Summative assessment at the end of each unit
- Teacher notes that help identify and address pupils’ misconceptions
Differentiation is achieved, not through offering different content, but through paying attention to the levels of support and challenge needed to allow every student to fully grasp the concepts and ideas being studied. This ensures that all students gain sufficiently deep and secure understanding of the mathematics to form the foundation of future learning before moving to the next part of the curriculum sequence. This prevents students from being left behind and others from skimming and surface learning.
Journaling has become an integral part of our maths lessons which has helped pupils focus on their learning and take ownership of it by providing opportunities for them to record and reflect at different points in the lesson. Pupils have developed the metacognition skills to take responsibility for, and play an active role in, their own learning and show motivation towards learning maths. It has helped teachers assess individual pupils needs and strengths. Pupils are able to articulate their thinking verbally and mathematical ideas are understood deeply, not merely passively received and are worked on by the pupil: thought about, reasoned with and discussed with others.