Many people think that some students can work to high levels and some cannot because of the brains they are born with, but this idea has been resoundingly disproved. Study after study has shown the incredible capacity of brains to grow and change within a remarkably short period of time.
Professor Jo Boaler, Stanford University
At Flax, we believe that mathematics is for everyone and that no-one should be allowed to believe that they ‘can’t do maths’. All pupils are entitled to access the essential set of rich mathematical concepts and big ideas that will allow them to flourish and become successful and numerate adults. We understand that learning maths is like building a tower; children must have firm foundations and acquire specific building blocks in a certain order. If any of these blocks of understanding are missing, then the tower is shaky and can be toppled at any time.
We have therefore adopted the ‘Teaching for Mastery approach’ and have invested heavily in staff training and resources as we recognise the transformation in children’s learning that this approach can produce. We work with the NCETM (National Centre for the Excellence of Teaching in Mathematics) through our work with the Boolean Hub in Bristol.
‘Mastering mathematics’ means children 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 has been taught to enable him/her to move on to more advanced material. 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.