At Chestnuts, we aim to create confident, resilient and enthusiastic mathematicians, who have a real love for maths. We foster a growth mindset attitude whereby we believe that our ‘abilities’ are neither fixed or innate and that every child can be ‘good’ at maths given sufficient time, support, resources and a ‘can do’ attitude.
The Mastery Approach
We base our teaching practice on a mastery approach, meaning we plan and structure our lessons so that children acquire a deep and secure understanding of each mathematical principle. We carefully build on knowledge and skills and teach children to see the relationships between numbers and other mathematical areas so as to prevent a formulaic, procedural approach to maths.
Our lessons contain fluency, variation, occasions to think mathematically and regular opportunities to spot patterns and make connections. We spend more time teaching topics to allow for the development of depth and sufficient practice to embed learning. Challenge is provided by expecting the children to go deeper into a topic rather than accelerating into new mathematical content.
Reasoning and problem solving opportunities are provided in every lesson to enable children to make connections and see the skill in a variety of scenarios.
The CPA approach
At the heart of our mastery teaching is the CPA (concrete, pictorial, abstract) approach. We explore mathematical concepts with a range of concrete resources to help children ‘feel’ the maths. The use of these concrete resources then helps children to make links and use pictorial representations and jottings to further develop their understanding and really ‘see’ the maths. This kind of experiential learning helps to further commit to memory the principles taught in a lesson. As their knowledge of the mathematical concept becomes more secure, the children are able to make links between the concrete and pictorial and then apply it in an abstract form.
TT Rock Stars and NumBots
We believe that number facts are the fundamental basics of mathematics. They are the building blocks for all other skills and, without these, children struggle to fully embed and succeed in other areas of the maths curriculum.
In the Early Years and Year 1, children regularly explore the identity of numbers and, with regular counting and use of concrete resources, begin to develop and embed number bonds. To support this further, all children are provided with a login to NumBots: a software programme that provides children with fun games to help them develop their number facts further.
Towards the end of Year 1 and in Years 2 to 6, children are moved onto the TT Rock Stars programme which allows them to practise their multiplication and division facts in a fun, engaging way.
Each week in our celebration assembly, we award prizes for the children in each year group that have shown great perseverance, earned the most amount of coins, and improved their accuracy the most. In addition to this, we have a class leaderboard in the school hall whereby classes can earn points each week for the earning the most amount of coins, playing the highest number of average minutes, and for improving the whole class accuracy the most.
Recapping is a key principle in ensuring good progress in any area of the curriculum. With this in mind, we cover 4 fluency starters a week in our lessons to help children build and embed the fundamental basics.
Alongside this, some year groups also cover a short arithmetic session each week to again recap and embed those key number and calculation skills in order to help the children’s progress in all areas of the maths curriculum.
Interventions and Maths Leaders
We believe in the philosophy that children should be encouraged to ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’ so provide same day interventions to provide extra support and guidance with the skills being taught. To allow all children to access these ‘keep up’ interventions, we carefully select a group of supportive, knowledgeable Year 6 children to run small group interventions in an identified year group to help develop understanding and confidence amongst their younger peers.