Mathematics Mastery

From 2014 to 2017 we have been a partner school for the Maths Mastery Programme, created by The ARK Schools Network.  This educational charity designed the Maths Mastery Programme using research findings and evidence as well as drawing on best practice nationally and internationally.

There is an information leaflet that explains the mastery approach to teaching mathematics and you can follow the link from the logo to the right for further information on the Mathematics Mastery website.  Alice Patterson, our Mathematics Mastery School Lead, will be happy to answer any further questions you may have.

Principle 1: Every student can achieve

Mathematical intelligence is expandable. Every child in Royds Hall Community School can succeed in mathematics, regardless of background or prior attainment, because they are given appropriate learning experiences. Teachers have a responsibility to provide learning experiences that do just that, ensuring that the curriculum and lessons give every child the opportunity to thrive. We encourage a positive attitude in our students and we want them all to say “I can do maths because I work hard at it” and go on to achieve a high pass at GCSE.

Principle 2: Depth of understanding

Students often demonstrate their mastery of mathematics when they work out what to do in an unfamiliar situation and apply what they have already learnt to solve problems. The ability to solve problems is at the heart of our approach and, to achieve this, we develop children’s depth of understanding through three key areas: conceptual understanding, mathematical thinking and communication.  Maths lessons at Royds Hall are full of opportunities to talk about the subject, practise methods and compare different representations.  Teachers encourage all students to explain their ideas and think carefully about their mathematics. Our favourite questions are: “How do you know?” and “Does that always work?” and, most often, the deceptively simple “Why?”

Principle 3:  A shared curriculum for all students

Children in every year group have access to the same core of curriculum content. Each new concept or skill is given several weeks of learning time when it is first introduced, with a focus on depth before breadth.  The curriculum is cumulative, meaning that once a concept or skill has been introduced it is built upon and applied in the learning that follows. This enables higher attaining children to gain a much deeper foundation in key concepts and skills, which better prepares them for the study of mathematics and mathematical subjects at A-level and beyond. 

Each student is supported by teachers and Student Achievement Leaders (classroom teaching assistants) to make secure progress in mathematics.  The approach we take to developing our students’ understanding is very much in line with the principles expounded in this comment by Jane Jones, Ofsted’s Lead Inspector for Mathematics: “Differentiation should therefore be about how the teacher helps all pupils in the class to understand new concepts and techniques. The blend of practical apparatus, images and representations (like the Singaporean model of concrete-pictorial-abstract) may be different for different groups of pupils, or pupils might move from one to the next with more or less speed than their classmates. Skilful questioning is key, as is creating an environment in which pupils are unafraid to grapple with the mathematics. Challenge comes through more complex problem solving, not a rush to new mathematical content. Good consolidation revisits underpinning ideas and/or structures through carefully selected exercises or activities.