In their own words
Our Maths — No Problem! journey
We are a large junior school in a deprived area of Sunderland, which is three-form entry and has 320 pupils currently enrolled. We were judged as good by Ofsted in November 2014 and the maths teaching within the school was then highlighted as a strength. We are also part of a multi-academy trust (North East Learning Trust) and have been since October 2017.
As a group of three primary schools, we chose to implement Maths — No Problem! so that we would have a common approach to teaching maths across the trust. To that end, one of our first orders of business was training in the approach, which started with a two-day course spread over four twilight CPD sessions.
We have implemented the programme across our school (Years 3-6) and although we have faced some challenges — due to the fact that our Infant School does not use the programme — it has been very successful. We have also developed smaller groups for some of our SEND pupils using the Year 1 and 2 books, despite being a junior school. We have seen many of these pupils become able to either join back with their whole class or successfully move into a group higher than the one they were in. We have also been running immediate intervention and pre-teaching groups during afternoons, which have supported children so they can better access their year group’s objectives. Children are no longer falling behind, and they have a more complete readiness for each lesson.
All staff from the school have now attended the two-day training programme (delivered over four twilight sessions). The staff were able to use the support and advice from these sessions to augment their teaching practice.
The maths lead also attended an open day at Selby Primary School in June 2018 alongside colleagues from the trust. This allowed the school to see mastery in practice. As a trust, the maths leads meet once per term to discuss good practice and offer advice to each other.
We have regular CPD for our maths which has so far focussed on the use of concrete apparatus; challenges for those children working at greater depth; the use of working walls; the importance of stem sentences; how to support under-confident girls; and lesson planning. We’ve also looked at how to develop further opportunities for problem solving and reasoning. We are using what we’ve learned implement extension tasks: descriptive, investigative, creative, and evaluative. We renamed these our DICE tasks.