What does this mean in the classrooms?
In maths, where possible, the whole class moves through units and concepts at broadly the same pace. We spend longer on key mathematical concepts in order to give all learners both the practice and depth of understanding they need. This method of teaching is called the mastery approach and at Rose Green Junior School we use the Inspire Maths resources to facilitate this.
All children, in maths, are encouraged to use a wide range of concrete resources and manipulatives to support them in exposing the structure of mathematical concepts and to develop fluency in number.
This approach equips the children with the language to think and reason mathematically and an ability to manipulate number to support problem solving. Through this process children quickly develop the ability to spot patterns in maths and to creatively question ideas in maths, thus building curiosity and interest in the subject as well as a clearer understanding of the beauty and power of maths to exploit cross-curricular links.
Note: The Inspire books do not necessarily match the year groups but are progressive in nature with some units longer than others.
- We teach maths using the Inspire Maths programme, which is a whole school mastery approach
- Lessons are based as the concept of ‘concrete-pictorial-abstract’ and manipulatives are used to support learning across the school
- Problem solving including through bar modelling is central to the approach
- Maths is prioritised in the school day and the timetable is designed to allow teachers to intervene and support children immediately
Our Approach to Maths at Rose Green Junior School
At Rose Green Junior School we recognise the critical importance of a high-quality maths education and the foundation that mathematics provides for everyday life, understanding the world, financial literacy and most forms of employment. We also aim to foster a love of the subject where children understand and appreciate the power of maths and develop a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about mathematics. Our aim is for our children to develop a deep understanding of the mathematical concepts they are introduced to, where they can reason, solve problems and work fluently. With this in mind, in January 2018, we introduced the Inspire Maths approach, a whole school primary maths mastery programme first developed in Singapore and recognised globally as one of the most impactful ways to teach and learn mathematics
Teaching for mastery is central to the Inspire Maths approach. The programme is a whole school approach structured around a rigorous and systematic teaching sequence, which emphasises continuous, active reinforcement of concepts to ensure that children develop deep conceptual understanding. It follows a cumulative spiral approach, and while concepts and skills maybe introduced in a different order to that of the ‘National curriculum in England: mathematics programmes of study’, the programme is ambitious and goes significantly beyond the mathematics National Curriculum in many aspects. Children begin their maths learning each new school year at the exact point that they finished the previous year and our maths leaders rigorously track and monitor each cohort’s progression through the programme.
Manipulatives and the Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract (CPA) Approach
We believe it is vital for children to have hands on experience to support them with new mathematical concepts and develop deep conceptual understanding. Concrete resources and manipulatives are used throughout the Inspire programme and all children in the school have access to them in every lesson. The concrete–pictorial–abstract (CPA) approach is central to the Inspire Maths programme. Carefully considered and constructed representations and images are used in the Inspire Pupil Textbooks and Practice Books to support children’s learning. Through using Inspire Maths we can ensure that there is a consistent and coherent use of models and images as the children progress through the programme.
Problem solving is at the heart of the Inspire Maths approach. The programme builds on the development of skills by ensuring that children are able to apply their learning to increasingly sophisticated problems. We believe that through this approach children develop the deep conceptual understanding, which we aim for. One of the key heuristics used to support children’s problem solving in the Inspire Maths approach is bar modelling. Bar modelling is an integral part of our teaching and learning in mathematics throughout the school with the aim of children being able to confidently and independently use bar modelling to solve challenging problems by the time they reach Year 6.
A Maths Lesson at Rose Green Junior School
As a result of the significant impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on children learning, we have made the decision to prioritise maths in our curriculum. The first hour and 20 minutes of each day is reserved for maths across the school. This session is split into two parts; a 50 minute first session followed by a 20 minute second session, which is used for same day intervention (SDI). In the children’s break between the two sessions the teacher makes quick formative assessments of the children’s understanding and prepares to provide the children who need it with rapid and appropriate intervention so that they progress with their peers and do not fall behind. When the children continue their maths, following the break, the majority of the class continue with their independent work whilst the teacher supports a small group.
At Rose Green Junior School, children are taught in mixed ability classes. In some cases, extra adults are utilised to allow children to be taught in smaller groups. Concrete resources and manipulatives are readily available in boxes on each table and children use them to support their learning.
In a maths lesson at Rose Green Junior School, mathematical conversation is encouraged, ensuring that children of different abilities can support each other and enrich their understanding and vocabulary. All children work toward achieving the same objective and additional challenges and extensions are used to extend the more able. The Inspire Maths approach is based around the use of high-quality textbooks and pupil practice books. Each child has their own Practice Book and these provide children with varied and frequent practice and challenging activities that help children achieve greater depth of understanding.
In addition to their morning maths lessons, each class has regular fluency of number skills practice sessions in which time they work on developing mathematical fluency including the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
Implementation of the Inspire Approach at Rose Green Junior School
The Inspire Maths approach was first introduced in Rose Green Junior School in 2018. We chose to introduce it across the school to ensure consistency of approach. Initially, four teachers from across the school were trained by an Inspire Maths professional development leader. This training was then cascaded to the wider staff through Inset training days and professional development staff meetings. The Inspire Maths approach is used across the Schoolsworks Multi Academy Trust and we benefit from access to and collaboration with a network of skilled and experienced practitioners. New teachers who join the school are quickly trained in the Inspire approach at ‘New to Inspire’ training sessions, which ensure immediate quality and consistency.