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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 Bourton, we have adopted a mastery approach. This includes a belief that all children are capable of understanding and doing mathematics, given sufficient time. We believe in fostering a ‘can do’ attitude so that all children can achieve in, and enjoy mathematics. We are delivering a mastery curriculum at Flax where mathematical concepts, key ideas and the building blocks to achieve these are important for everyone. To support our Teaching for Mastery, we have embedded a Scheme of Learning known as White Rose across the school, adapting it where appropriate to suit the needs of our year groups. We work with the NCETM (National Centre for the Excellence of Teaching in Mathematics) through our work with the Boolean Hub in Bristol. We understand the importance of using recent materials such as the Curriculum Prioritisation in Primary Maths resource, provided by the NCETM, in order to enhance our White Rose Scheme and further embed our mastery approach.  By continually developing our practice in the classroom, we aim to equip our children with the mathematical skills that will allow them to flourish and become successful and numerate adults.

‘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 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.

The NCETM have drawn upon research to identify ‘Five Big Ideas’ which are key to our teaching:

Why White Rose Approach?

This approach enables teachers to keep the children working together on the same area, whilst addressing the needs for all children. White Rose provides teachers with blocked units, offering greater time frames to deliver and explore the objectives in. These blocks are further broken down into small steps, giving children the opportunity to take more time to develop their understanding. Lessons will promote fluency, reasoning and problem solving with all children being given the opportunity to achieve and experience these. Children who grasp concepts and small steps rapidly will be further challenged through being offered rich reasoning and problem-solving challenges before any acceleration of new content.

Calculation Policy:

Our Calculation Policy now illustrates how we teach children the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) using the CPA approach below.

  • Concrete – using manipulatives (e.g. numicon, tens frames, base 10 & place value counters)
  • Pictorial – drawing their own representations of the concrete
  • Abstract – calculations using numerals and symbols

Often, children will be encouraged to use concrete and pictorial methods to explain their problem solving and reasoning.

What will you see in a typical Flax Bourton maths lesson?

  • A clear learning journey- The children are encouraged to discuss their learning and reflect on their understanding using success criteria.
  • The majority of the class working on the same small step of learning at a pace that suits them. During the lesson, key vocabulary and key questions are shared and the children are encouraged to use specific mathematical language using ‘stem sentences’.
  • Teacher-led learning (‘ping-pong’) predominates, with time also given for children to practise in pairs and independently
  • Children and staff talk about their maths using clear vocabulary and in full sentences
  • Pre-teaching sessions prior to the lesson to support understanding.
  • Activities which promote children’s fluency of number and their reasoning and problem-solving skills.
  • A range of manipulatives being used to explore key concepts. All children expected to explore these either to support understanding or to explain their understanding.
  • For children who are struggling to grasp the concept, adults will support in class and ‘stem sentences’ are often used to guide understanding.
  • During lessons, pupils are confident and free to share their ideas in a safe, supported space and understand the importance of making mistakes as part of their learning journey. We share ‘marvellous mistakes’ with others to help with misconceptions.
  • Teachers identify misconceptions during whole class teaching and individual work and children who require group support.
  • Post- teaching sessions are provided for children who require additional support to grasp or revisit a concept.

If you would like any further information as parents regarding the White Rose Maths scheme, White Rose have teamed up with TV presenter, teacher and parent Michael Underwood to create a mini-series called Maths with Michael. We understand that many parents feel like maths has changed and can sometimes find it difficult to keep up to date with modern teaching methods in maths. Well don’t worry, please look at the documents at the bottom of this page or follow the link below to watch some short videos: