Maths Mastery at Spurcroft
At Spurcroft Primary School, we follow a ‘Mastery Approach’ to our maths teaching. Our aim is to provide children with a deep knowledge of the key ideas that are needed to underpin future learning and ultimately create life-long mathematicians with a secure understanding of maths.
What does it mean to master mathematics?
A mathematical concept or skill has been mastered when a pupil can represent it in multiple ways, has the mathematical language to communicate related ideas, and can independently apply the concept to new problems in unfamiliar situations.
Mastery is a journey and long-term goal, achieved through exploration, clarification, practice and application over time. At each stage of learning, pupils should be able to demonstrate a deep, conceptual understanding of the topic and be able to build on this over time.
This is not about just being able to memorise key facts and procedures, which tends to lead to superficial understanding that can easily be forgotten. Pupils should be able to select which mathematical approach is most effective in different scenarios.
Multiple Representations and CPA
Within our maths teaching, we use the Concrete, Pictorial and Abstract (CPA) approach which encourages pupils to represent and visualise the mathematics they are learning in a variety of ways and, ultimately, support them to gain a deep understanding.
Concrete – Students have the opportunity to use concrete objects and manipulatives to help them understand and explain what they are doing.
Pictorial – Students then build on this concrete approach by using pictorial representations. These representations can then be used to reason and solve problems.
Abstract – With the foundations firmly laid, students should be able to move to an abstract approach using numbers and key concepts with confidence.
This approach not only supports and scaffolds the learning but encourages deeper thinking and challenges the most able pupils to explain their mathematics in a variety of ways.
Depth and challenge
We aim to give all pupils opportunity to deepen and stretch their understanding of mathematics, regardless of whether they've previously struggled or excelled. Pupils must be given time to fully understand, explore and apply ideas, rather than accelerate through new topics. This approach enables pupils to truly grasp a concept and the challenge comes from investigating it in new, alternative and more complex ways.
At Spurcroft, our children are able to choose their own level of challenge within a lot of maths lessons. Through honesty marking (where children mark their own work during the lesson) they are also encouraged to move on to a further challenge within the lesson as soon as they feel ready.