A mastery approach to teaching Maths was first introduced at The Laurels alongside the White Rose scheme of work in 2017 and is continuing to be developed.
The Mastery model allows whole class teaching to spend the time needed to explore and embed the key ideas in maths, in depth. When learning a new topic or concept, children work at a steady and deeper pace and are fully guided by their teacher. This ensures that they don’t get left behind and have every opportunity to master these key mathematical concepts, that are integral to having a deep and secure understanding of mathematics. Those children who are working at a greater depth are given richer challenges and experiences to deepen learning further.
Mathematics Mastery lessons follow a 6-part structure. This keeps the lesson focused and challenging, gives flow and allows more opportunities to teach creatively, give feedback and assess the childrens’ understanding. This includes:
Do now – A quick task to introduce the maths lesson which children can access without any teacher input.
New Learning – an explanation of the main mathematical concepts for the lesson. The new concept is also carefully modelled to pupils.
Talk Task – Practising the new learning together by talking about the maths using key vocabulary.
Develop learning – Builds on new learning content and helps pupils deepen their understanding of the concepts.
Independent task – Children continue to practise their learning independently and embed these new mathematical approaches. Children are supported with this through careful questioning and feedback.
Plenary – Recap on the lesson objective, checking understanding, celebrating success and planning the next steps in their learning.
Differentiation is now achieved through the wide range of work available, whilst supporting all students to have the highest expectations of what they can achieve. In lessons, pupils have the chance to either consolidate or deepen their learning through more complex questions or, have extra teacher input and intervention if they are struggling. Work is also personalised, through questioning, modelling and feedback to ensure that all pupils are working at an appropriate level of challenge. In turn, this will lead to mastery.
The pace of the lesson is brisk with constant questioning, inviting children to demonstrate methods and solutions and discuss their mathematical thinking. Children spend time discussing concepts and solutions together, sharing ideas and using language of reasoning to record answers. This is displayed in all classrooms as a prompt. In addition, children learn key maths facts such as times tables and number bonds to allow working memory space to focus on developing new mathematical knowledge.
In order to move away from worksheets, we have invested in manipulatives which are accessible throughout all maths lessons. Children have access to plenty of concrete materials such as bead strings, place value counters, numicon and base 10 so that they have time to fully explore mathematics. They use objects and pictures to physically represent mathematical concepts alongside numbers and symbols. This helps them visualise abstract ideas which is then reinforced by the increased use of pictoral methods seen in books.
Children are becoming more confident with exploring mathematical concepts and coming to conclusions in a different way to others. Removing ‘ability groups’ has benefited all children. High attaining children are now able to explore and communicate maths in more depth while lower attaining pupils are able to work at a pace and level to ensure mastery is reached in a topic before moving on.
Beth Collins, Assistant Headteacher, The Laurels Primary School