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“Ofsted praised our adoption of the mastery approach”

13/12/16 | Claire Pettman, Assistant Headteacher
St Stephen’s Catholic Primary School, Kent
“Ofsted praised our adoption of the mastery approach”
We joined the programme in 2014 after realising our pupils did not have a sound understanding of the mathematical concepts underpinning their work.

The Mathematics Mastery programme as a whole has greatly supported our children, many of whom arrived at the school with English as an additional language. A focus on the Concrete Pictorial Abstract (CPA) approach is a core aspect of the programme and this has especially helped our lower attainers develop their conceptual understanding of key mathematical ideas.

During our most recent visit from Ofsted, inspectors praised our adoption of the mastery approach. In particular, they highlighted how teachers use images, manipulatives and practical resources to support problem-solving. As we have seen such a positive impact on our children’s learning already, we have shared best practice with local schools and encouraged them to sign up to the programme.

As well as transforming how we teach maths in school, the programme has enabled us to more effectively help parents support their children at home. We make time to explain the key principles, such as the importance of having a growth mindset and multiple representations of mathematical ideas, especially to parents of older children who can’t immediately see the value of manipulatives. Although the programme has not yet been rolled out across all year groups, our older children are benefitting from a whole school mastery approach.

One of the most rewarding changes we’ve seen since joining is the strengthened subject knowledge and confidence among my staff, as well as higher expectations for our pupils. I have been at this school for more than 13 years and have seen a significant change in the children’s understanding and enjoyment of maths since we introduced the programme.

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