Thornaby Church of England Primary School
Mathematics Mastery has made such a difference to pupils’ understanding
Jodie Wallace | Mathematics Lead
Our primary school in Stockton-on-Tees joined the Mathematics Mastery partnership in 2016. We wanted to build teacher confidence and improve pupil understanding.
At the end of Key Stage 1, the percentage of our children reaching expected level had always been in the high- to mid-70s. However, with our first Mathematics Mastery cohort, this figure was 90 per cent. Moreover, 37 per cent of these pupils were working at greater depth – a 20 per cent increase since they left Reception.
The difference this year was that the children could make links and apply their understanding. In the past, pupils struggled to understand questions unless they were set out exactly how they had been taught. The programme has deepened pupil’s understanding of mathematical concepts. They now work through problems by drawing bar models and can apply their learning in different contexts.
Using manipulatives helps the children visualise what the numbers mean. It helps with their concrete and conceptual understanding. You can see they are secure in their understanding because they draw the problems really well. With the Mathematics Mastery approach you are consolidating while you are stretching the children. For the vast majority of them it’s a more secure progression than what we used to do.
In the past, our children had a negative perception of maths and I think a lot of that came from society. I used to go and observe lessons, and children were telling me ‘I don’t get it’. But now it’s different. I can see the enjoyment in the lessons I observe. In my own class, and in other classes when the teacher says it’s time for Maths Meetings the children are jumping for joy. They sing the songs when they are out on school trips! I think they also really enjoy the use of mathematical language.
Before, our children would instantly give up if they were faced with something they didn’t know how to do. They wouldn’t even try. But now they are having a good go at it. If they get stuck they try to think in a different way. It’s helping to build on their ability to persevere at problems.
The programme has been brilliant for teacher confidence because of the training and resources available. The videos and learning modules are particularly useful. The high-quality resources are easy to adapt for our pupils, the vocabulary is explained and the consistency is there because of the language.