St Cuthbert with St Matthias CE Primary School

“I feel so proud when I hear my pupils chanting number bonds or times tables in the playground”

Michelle Webster | Year 1 class teacher

In 2012 there was a huge attainment gap in mathematics. My highest attainers were achieving a Level 1c/b and my lowest attainers were struggling to correspond count. My pupils had challenging backgrounds with 48% receiving free school meals. At first I was sceptical – I wanted the approach to work but I just couldn’t see how we were going to close the gap and improve maths across the board.

I taught those children using the Mathematics Mastery approach through Years 1 and 2. At Key Stage 1, 100% of them achieved the national average in maths, with 30% achieving a Level 3c and above.

I think every teacher in the world would understand the pride I feel in these results. That pride is reinforced daily when I hear them chanting number bonds or times tables in the playground, or when I hear them talking in full sentences. Not only in maths lessons, but in all their lessons.

The Mathematics Mastery approach is changing my pupils’ perceptions and mindset about maths. I also see them listening, sharing and cooperating more; a result of the emphasis on communication.

My experience as a teacher has also changed. On a fundamental level I feel I understand how to teach mathematical concepts better myself. I am also better able to communicate them to others, both children and colleagues.

I have had a long and varied career in education, both in academia and in the classroom. My work with Mathematics Mastery feels like a natural extension of the experience I have gathered. It’s been hugely rewarding and I can tell you with confidence that the way maths is experienced by both children and staff in our school has completely transformed.