Purpose of study
Mathematics is a creative and highly inter-connected discipline that has been developed over centuries, providing the solution to some of history’s most intriguing problems. It is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment. A high-quality mathematics education therefore provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.
At Summerside we now use the CPA approach to learning Mathematics. This core practice is used in Singapore, who rank in the top three internationally in Education according to data released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). UK are currently ranked 26th in Maths.
The Singapore method begins by allowing children to start learning about maths by playing with real objects, blocks or pictures. They build confidence with the basic ideas of adding and taking away. There is then a second stage of drawing pictures representing the objects. And only later do they gradually start to add numbers to their drawings.
In education systems in the UK, pre-school children are often introduced to maths and to number symbols at the same time. But number symbols like 5 or 10 as well as symbols like + or - are often difficult for children to understand. And if they are introduced too quickly, there is a risk that young children will struggle and from then on never fully recover their confidence in maths. Failing repeated tests on symbolic sums at school only deepens their anxiety and they soon learn that maths is not for them.
The Singapore method goes more gradually - from handling "concrete" things, to drawing one-to-one "pictorial" iconic representations of them, to eventually understanding and using the mysterious "abstract" symbols with confidence.
A core principal in this scheme and in our new Mathematics curriculum emphasises mastery. Objects, pictures and words are everywhere. We use these to help pupils explore maths and understand the role it plays in their lives. We also ask that pupils always explain maths in full sentences – not just what the answer is, but how they know it’s the right answer. Our scheme of work now ensures that pupils understand basic concepts thoroughly and then builds on these skills throughout the year so that they gain a cumulative knowledge. We spend longer on topics so that pupils become fluent in them. Problem-solving is becoming more integrated throughout every lesson. They represent concepts using ‘bar models’, objects and pictures, and by making connections between different representations. This gives them the confidence, resilience and ability to tackle any problem rather than repeating routines without grasping the principles.
Target Setting and Feedback
All students are given individual targets in Maths which are shared with families and kept in books. Once this target is met, new targets are added to ensure all children make progress. These are personalized to each individual child.
All books are marked according to the marking policy. It is clear whether children have met their learning objective, whether work is differentiated and there is a clear progression of written strategies used and key concepts learnt from FS2 to Year 6.
Learning Environments and Maths Walls
Each class has a maths wall that displays appropriate vocabulary and strategies to support learners. This is particularly successful for our EAL learners to support language acquisition. Teachers adjust and add to the wall as learning progresses throughout the year.
Well done to everyone for going onto the Mathletics website and helping your child to log on and use the website.
Remember this is a learning resource which Summerside Primary school has paid for – you will not have to pay anything. Your child has a username and a password but they can always get it again if they have misplaced it.