In their own words
Our Maths — No Problem! journey
We first became aware of high-performing regions in the world, such as Singapore, through the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and subsequently our maths lead attended the In-Depth Mastery Course with Dr Yeap Ban Har.
We were convinced that the Maths — No Problem! programme was right for our school, but our governors were initially sceptical about changing something that was already very successful. However, the decision was made to implement throughout the whole of our school at the earliest possible date.
We believed it was essential to purchase textbooks for every child, so that they could interact fully in the lesson, and thus achieve maximum gains. We were determined to utilise the programme in its entirety, and not just ‘cherry-pick’ certain elements. The materials were in school by October 2015, and we introduced it immediately after half term. We also purchased an extensive amount of manipulatives in order to facilitate the early part of the lesson.
We had sessions during staff meetings, which shared the philosophy and principles behind the programme. All staff were incredibly professional, committed, and supportive. They were most enthusiastic to learn about the mastery methods and those from the Singapore approach.
Maths — No Problem! in our school
We constantly review our practices with regard to teaching and learning. For example, staff reported that with children moving around the school to different classrooms, they were struggling to include all elements of the mathematics lesson in 60 minutes. So, it was agreed that we adjust our timetable in the morning allowing 75 minutes for each mathematics lesson. There were discussions on ways of dealing with our mixed-age classes, and we made use of the online videos to try to address the issue.
We have worked hard to develop the children’s thoughts and comments in their maths journals, bearing in mind that journals are a new concept for them. Differentiation has been a constant subject for discussion, in particular, how to stretch and challenge the more able. Again we have looked at the advice of Dr Yeap Ban Har in training videos and his comments throughout training courses and conferences.
The whole school has never been so enthused about a mathematics initiative such as Maths — No Problem! and we are determined to make it a success, so that generations of mathematicians will have a greater understanding and love of the subject.