At Fosse Way, we believe that pupils should be able to use reasoning, problem-solving and fluency in maths to make sense of their world and to organise their daily lives. Maths also contributes to our wider goal of developing effective communicators across the curriculum. There is an emphasis on maths in real-life contexts and story. All pupils learn at their appropriate level and teachers have the flexibility to differentiate the curriculum according to the needs of the learners.
Key Stages 1-3 either follow an adapted version of the White Rose Maths curriculum, or the Equals maths curriculum, with a focus on teaching for mastery. The five ‘big ideas’ of mastery underpin the whole curriculum:
- Coherence – the idea that maths is best taught in small steps. Teachers may return to previously taught concepts in order to consolidate learning and help learners to generalize their learning across different contexts.
- Representation and Structure- Maths is taught in a multi-sensory way through use of mathematical manipulatives and images that reveal the underlying structure of the maths. For example we use; Numicon, place value counters, tens frames, Cusinaire rods and bar models, as well as real world objects.
- Mathematical Thinking – Pupils should be able to discuss maths problems with others and explain their reasoning. They may be asked to draw a problem, make it using objects and turn it into a story. Students move between objects, representations and more abstract maths in order to be able explain their thinking. Teachers may use cross-curricular methods to develop communication in maths, including ‘colourful semantics’, PECs and Makaton signing.
- Fluency – Quick recall of number facts helps reduce the load on our learners’ memories and helps them to solve more complicated problems. This may be developed through playing games or teaching through repeated ‘stem sentences.’ Our pupils have access to online resources such as Mymaths at secondary level and Times Table Rockstars in KS2/3 in order to develop fluency. The TEACCH approach supports some of our pupils to work independently on skills that they are close to mastering.
- Variation – Variation is a large part of the mastery curriculum and describes how the order of questioning can deepen understanding of maths (for example by changing the tens number in a series of addition problems). It also means the way that concepts are presented, to help students avoid misconceptions (for example showing a variety of representations of what a triangle ‘is’ and ‘is not’).
Fosse Way School is part of a Boolean Maths Hub Teaching For Mastery work group, to develop these ideas across the school. As a school we are also part of a national project called ‘Realistic Maths Education’ (RME) run by Manchester Metropolitan University, that seeks to teach maths in context in the secondary curriculum. For example, pupils may be taught about algebra in the context of working in a café, while ratio may be taught by adapting recipes.
Where learners need additional support in maths, we have intervention programmes available such as Numicon Breaking Barriers and Number Sense Maths.
The curriculum at key stages 1-3 provide the knowledge and skills to prepare our students for independence and careers as well as future qualifications in maths. Students are set individual targets, which reflect the unique needs of each learner and assessments are used to ascertain their overall progress in maths.
Students within key stage four work towards a range of qualifications that are suitable for their individual needs, such as accredited units from EQUALS, AQA Entry Level and, where appropriate, GCSE maths. In year 11, students who are working towards taking the GCSE maths qualification are offered the opportunity to join a ‘booster’ class, in replacement of one of their selected options classes. This provides students with additional, GCSE-specific practice in the lead up to exams, taught by a specialist teacher, with a focus on modelling exam skills and sharing example answers. These sessions build upon the skills already shared in their timetabled class maths sessions, but are more streamlined and focused on specific areas of the exam components of the qualification. In post-16, students have the opportunity to study functional skills qualifications at the appropriate level for the learner and, where appropriate, work towards GCSE maths.
At Fosse Way we believe that maths is an essential part of preparation for adulthood, both in independent living and careers. For some of our learners, using the TEACCH approach allows them to develop the skills needed to organise tasks in adulthood. For others, qualifications in maths will provide the next step into further education or careers.
All across the curriculum the link is made between maths and the real world. Topics such as money are incorporated into the curriculum in a way that will provide the greatest benefit to the pupil. For example some may learn about money as a means of exchange and what they can buy for £1 or £2, supported by visual symbols, whereas others will learn to budget independently or use a spreadsheet to calculate the costs of running an enterprise project. Some of our learners will gain an understanding of time by learning what the clock looks like at key times of the day. For others, learning about time will be a key part of independent travel training, involving skills such as reading a timetable, calculating time intervals and working with the 24 hour clock.