The 2014 National Curriculum for maths aims for all pupils to:
- become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately
- reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
- can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions
Here at Fairfields Primary we teach mathematics for mastery, an approach that has been inspired by countries such as Singapore. This is an engaging style of maths teaching that enhances mathematical understanding and increases enjoyment for all children.
What is teaching for mastery?
Being taught to master maths means that children are able to develop their mathematical fluency without needing to resort to strategies such as rote learning. They are able to solve non-routine maths problems without the need to memorise procedures.
Since mastery is what we want pupils to acquire (or go on acquiring), rather than teachers to demonstrate, we use the phrase ‘teaching for mastery’ to describe the range of elements of classroom practice and school organisation that combine to give pupils the best chances of mastering mathematics.
Mastering maths means acquiring a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject. At any one point in a pupil’s journey through school, achieving mastery is taken to mean acquiring a solid enough understanding of the maths that’s been taught to enable him/her move on to more advanced material.
What will you see in lessons at Fairfields?
Concrete, pictorial and abstract (CPA)
Maths can often be seen as difficult because it is abstract. The CPA approach builds knowledge by introducing abstract concepts in a concrete way. It involves moving from using concrete materials, to pictorial representations and then on to abstract symbols and problems.
- Concrete – Concrete is the ‘doing stage’. During this stage, children will use concrete objects to model problems and brings concepts to life by allowing children to experience and handle physical objects. Every abstract concept is first introduced using interactive concrete materials. For example, if a problem involves adding pieces of fruit, children will first handle actual fruit and then will progress to handling resources such as counters or cubes to represent the fruit.
- Pictorial – Pictorial is the ‘seeing’ stage. This is where children will see visual representations of concrete objects to model problems. This encourages children to make the mental connection between the physical object that they have already handled with the abstract pictures, diagrams or models that represent the objects from the problem. Building or drawing a model makes grasping difficult abstract concepts easier for children as they are able to visualise problems to make them more accessible.
- Abstract – This is the ‘Symbolic’ stage. This is where children will use abstract symbols to model problems. Students only progress on to this stage once they have demonstrated a solid understanding of the concrete and pictorial stages. Children are introduced to concepts at a symbolic level, using only numbers, notation and mathematical symbols.
The structure of lessons
As a school, we follow ‘Maths No Problem’ which allows us to follow four steps in every lesson:
We begin every lesson with an ‘In focus’ task linked to the learning of that lesson. This is an opportunity for children to put their previous knowledge and skills in to practise and to explore a problem through discussion, partner work, the use of concrete resources and jottings in order to reach a solution. Children are then given the opportunity to feedback the ways in which they approached this task and will be challenged to reason their thinking and to deepen their understanding through questioning led by the teacher.
The next step in our lesson is Let’s Learn. This is where the children will be exposed to new knowledge and skills and the teacher will scaffold and model the new knowledge to the children. The children will be have opportunities to discuss their new learning and see it in action.
The children then move on to the guided practice section of the lesson. This is where children have the opportunity to put into practise the new knowledge and skills that they have acquired and to ‘have a go’ whilst being guided by the teacher. Children will move through this section at a pace that is right for them and are able to practise what they have been taught using concrete resources and pictorial representations. Teachers will question in order to guide children and to direct their thinking to reach a solution but with a deeper understanding of the concept.
This is final stage of the lesson where children are able to practise and demonstrate what they have learnt in that lesson. Children have the opportunity to complete pictorial and abstract problems in their Maths No Problem workbooks and will also be given additional challenges to tackle in their maths journals. These challenge are called ‘chilli challenges’ and have 3 levels of difficulty.
- Mild – The mild challenge gives children to opportunity to practise their new skills in similar ways to their workbooks but in different contexts.
- Hot – The hot challenge gives children the opportunity to think a little deeper about their new knowledge and skills and to use reasoning in order to explain concepts in more detail.
- Spicy – The spicy challenge allows children to really deepen their thinking and to explain, prove and justify concepts.
At Fairfields Primary School, we recognise the significance of Science in our everyday lives and, as a core subject within the primary curriculum, ensure that it is given the appropriate prominence that it deserves. Across the school, we aim to develop a sense of awe, wonder, excitement and curiosity towards science and the role it plays in helping us understand the wider world around us. We ensure enquiry skills are embedded within each science topic and place great value in promoting each child’s ability to question what they see, learn and understand. Our units of work are designed so that topics are revisited, consolidated and built upon to ensure key vocabulary, concepts and scientific understanding are rooted into children’s long-term memories.
The processes of ‘Working Scientifically’ – questioning, comparative and fair testing, sorting and grouping, identifying and classifying, observing and measuring, experimenting, analysing, explaining and evaluating - underpin our entire curriculum and permeate all science teaching across the school. As a school, we have a clear vision that science should be independent from themes and topics to ensure that children develop a secure understanding of each concept and key block of knowledge. We believe that this will lead children to develop a genuine love of science and a thirst for future learning, ensuring that all children leave Fairfields Primary School with a solid foundation to continue their scientific journey.
At Fairfields Primary School, we ensure that our teaching of history is accessible to all and that will maximise the outcomes for every child so that they know more, remember more and understand more. Our history curriculum is taught through our broad and inspiring Imaginative Learning Projects. We offer a high-quality history education that will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. We also focus on our local area with the new development of Fairfields, the historic town of Stony Stratford and the evolution of Milton Keynes over time. History helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups. It also helps children gain a sense of their own identity within a social, political, cultural and economic background. We allow children to become independent, curious and critical learners as they follow lines of enquiry and use various sources to interpret the past in order to prepare them to be life-long learners.
At Fairfields Primary School, we believe that Geography helps to provoke and provide answers to questions about the natural and human aspects of the world. Children are encouraged to develop a greater understanding and knowledge of the world, as well as their place in it. Our curriculum is taught through our Imaginative Learning Projects with a focus on knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. Geography is, by nature, an investigative subject, which develops an understanding of concepts, knowledge and skills. We seek to inspire in children a curiosity about the world and to promote the children’s interest as well as offer children a range of practical educational experiences. We aim for children to build on prior knowledge and promote a love of learning that will stay with them for the future.
Design and Technology is an inspiring and practical subject and encourages children to learn to think and creatively to solve problems, both as individuals and as members of a team. At Fairfields Primary, we encourage children to use their creativity and imagination, to design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. We aim to, wherever possible, link work to other disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art, through our Imaginative Learning Projects. The children are also given opportunities to reflect upon and evaluate past and present design technology, its uses and its effectiveness and are encouraged to become innovators and risk-takers. Through this they become better prepared for the world of constantly evolving innovation and engineering, in which they live.
At Fairfields Primary School, we believe Art and Design should be fully inclusive to every child and we value Art and Design as an important part of the children’s entitlement to a broad and balanced curriculum, allowing curiosity, creativity and self-expression to develop alongside resilience, confidence, collaboration and critical thinking skills. Our aims are to fulfil the requirements of the National Curriculum, ensuring the progressive development of knowledge and skills whilst developing the children’s competence in various Art and Design techniques.
The skills and knowledge that children will develop throughout each ILP are mapped across each year group and throughout the school to ensure progression. The emphasis on knowledge ensures that children understand the context of the artwork, as well as the artists they are learning about and being inspired by. This enables links to other curriculum areas. A similar focus on skills means that children are given opportunities to express their creative imagination, as well as practise and develop mastery in the key processes of art; drawing painting, printing, textiles and sculpture. The school’s Art and Design curriculum is supported through the availability of a wide range of quality resources, which are used to support the children’s confidence in the use of different media.
In Art and Design, children are encouraged to be reflective and evaluate their work, thinking about how they can make changes to keep improving. Through the implementation of this curriculum, the children are equipped with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design.
As the UK has a rich heritage of culture and diversity, religion and belief for many people, forms a crucial part of their culture and diversity.
Here at Fairfields, we celebrate our diverse community and feel it is important that our teaching and learning of RE provokes challenging questioning about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and nature of reality, issues of right and wrong, and what it means to be human. We aim to develop our children’s knowledge and understanding of principal religions, religious traditions and worldviews. RE also contributes to our childrens’ personal development and wellbeing and we aim to promote to our children mutual respect and tolerance in a diverse society, thus resulting in community cohesion.
Our key properties in the teaching and learning of RE are to:
- Provoke challenging questions;
- Encourage children to explore their own beliefs;
- Encourage children to build on their sense of identity and belonging, which helps them flourish within the Fairfields community and wider diverse society;
- Develop respect for others including people with different faiths and beliefs, and help challenge prejudice;
- Promote children to consider their responsibilities to themselves and others, exploring how they might contribute to the wider Fairfields society and beyond.
Our lessons are every week, every other half term and we follow a set progression of not only skills and knowledge, but have designed our curriculum to build on learning of different faiths, so children have a good understanding of a number of principal faiths throughout their learning journey through Fairfields School. We encourage our teachers to organise visits and visitors to develop an enriched learning experience for the children and promote cross-curricular approaches when possible.