At Cathcart Street Primary we want pupils of all ages to acquire a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of maths. We provide a mastery approach which are the elements of classroom practice and school organisation that combine to give pupils the best chances of mastering the subject. Achieving mastery means acquiring a solid enough understanding of the maths that’s been taught to enable pupils to move on to more advanced material.
When taught to master maths, children develop their mathematical fluency without resorting to rote learning and are able to solve non-routine maths problems without having to memorise procedures.
- Resources and Training
At Cathcart Street we use Maths No Problem which is a mastery resource, backed by the Department of Education and the National Centre of Excellence for Teaching Maths. This resource is widely adopted by the Department for Education’s Maths Hubs. Maths No Problem ensures that our pupils follow a carefully timed and sequential programme of study which builds small steps of progress over time to master maths. The resources is supplemented by Professional Development materials produced by the National Centre of Excellence for Teaching Maths.
Cathcart Street Primary School works collaboratively with the Department for Education Maths hubs to ensure teachers develop their understanding the Mastery Approach. We use this collaborative learning approach in school using our own expertise, in order that teachers can be reflective about their own practice and develop their practice.
- Whole class moves through content at the same pace
The whole class moves through topics at broadly the same pace. Each topic is studied in depth and our teachers do not move to the next stage until all children demonstrate that they have a secure understanding of mathematical concepts.
Those pupils who grasp concepts quickly are challenged with rich and sophisticated problems within the topic. Those children who are not sufficiently fluent are provided additional support to consolidate their understanding before moving on.
- Time to think
Pupils in lessons are given time to think deeply about the maths and really understand concepts and draw out links between the maths. Concrete materials, contexts, drawings, diagrams and equations all play a role. These are discussed through opportunities for pupil-pupil and pupil-teacher talk.
- Learning Facts
At Cathcart Street, we provide online programmes and learning time in order to support mathematical fluency. These learning of facts are closely monitored by teachers and children are encouraged to keep up in order that their conceptual understanding is not held back by calculations. Both are equally important.
Pupils are monitored during lessons to ensure all children are grasping the maths they are presented. Teachers will make decisions about whether a short catch up session is needed in the afternoon for those children who have misconceptions. On a daily basis, pupils will complete some shorter tasks to assess they have mastered previous learning. Formal assessments also take place on a termly basis as does the tracking of known facts.
At Cathcart Street we provide a mastery approach for all children. This inclusive approach, and its emphasis on promoting multiple methods of solving a problem, builds self-confidence and resilience in pupils.
The slower pace of the mastery approach at Cathcart Street leads to greater progress because it ensures that students are secure in their understanding and teachers don’t need to revisit topics once they’ve been covered in depth.
The focus on pupil-pupil and pupil-teacher talk develops reasoning, flexibility and adaptability in mathematical thinking. Yet these are also the desirable attributes of a person in the work place and managing life in general.