The ability to deal with mathematical problems in everyday life is a basic skill. Our aim is to help our pupils to have a positive and confident attitude towards mathematics. We want to foster a love for maths in our children. We aim to achieve this by children not being afraid to make mistakes and can use this information to improve and make progress.
The teaching of Maths at Carnforth School follows the programmes of study and objectives set out in the 2014 National Curriculum. The objectives are grouped into units of study and the mathematical skills of fluency, reasoning and problem-solving are taught throughout each unit.
At Carnforth School we use The White Rose Maths Hub scheme of work to support teachers to plan maths lessons so that objectives are covered over several days. This allows children to achieve fluency and depth in their learning, and to have the opportunity to apply new skills and knowledge in reasoning and problem solving activities, which are key aspects of the National Curriculum.
Our ethos for teaching maths is based on the CPA (concrete, pictorial and abstract) approach that develops a deep and sustainable understanding of maths in children. It is a tool used in Singapore to develop mastery in maths.
Children (and adults!) can find maths difficult because it is abstract. The CPA approach builds on children’s existing knowledge by introducing abstract concepts in a concrete and tangible way. It involves moving from concrete materials, to pictorial representations, to abstract symbols and problems.
Concrete is the “doing” stage. During this stage, children use concrete objects to model problems. The CPA approach brings concepts to life by allowing children to experience and handle physical (concrete) objects.
Pictorial is the “seeing” stage. Here, visual representations of concrete objects are used to model problems. This stage encourages children to make a mental connection between the physical object they just handled and the abstract pictures, diagrams or models that represent the objects from the problem.
Abstract is the “symbolic” stage, where children use abstract symbols to model problems. Children will not progress to this stage until they have demonstrated that they have a solid understanding of the concrete and pictorial stages of the problem. The abstract stage involves the teacher introducing abstract concepts (for example, mathematical symbols). Children are introduced to the concept at a symbolic level, using only numbers, notation, and mathematical symbols (for example, +, –, x, /) to indicate addition, multiplication or division.
In addition to this a strong emphasis is placed on developing the children’s mental maths skills; children practise their mental maths daily and have weekly timestables challenges: entry level, qualifier, bronze, silver, gold, platinum, championship and ultimate pro.