Chiswick House School
What makes Chiswick House an Accredited School?
Chiswick House School started using the Maths — No Problem! textbook programme in September 2016. It is the first school on the Maltese islands to use the maths mastery approach to the teaching and learning of mathematics. The Maths — No Problem! approach has been adopted throughout the whole primary school from Level 1 to Level 5 and will be implemented next year by Level 6 which is part of their Middle School at St. Martin’s College
The shift to maths mastery has been a positive, enriching experience for Chiswick House. It has given pupils the confidence to become mathematicians; maths anxiety has gone down, attainment has gone up and children are now given every chance to discover the beauty and joy of mathematics for themselves.
School at a glance:
- Largest independent school in Malta of 1600~ pupils
- Longest established independent school on the Maltese islands
- Teaches pupils aged 2 to 18 years
- 5.5% above overall national average on CAT
In their own words
Our Maths — No Problem! journey
In January 2016 our Maths Leader (Esmeralda Zerafa) attended an intensive training course with Dr Yeap Ban Har in London. As a doctorate researcher in mathematics education, Ms Esmeralda Zerafa immediately understood the benefits of a textbook scheme based on the fundamental education theories put forward by Piaget, Dienes, Vygotsky, Skemp and Bruner. These theories advocate that problem solving is essential to the daily teaching of mathematics. Upon seeing these theories in action, it became obvious that Maths — No Problem! was the way forward to help improve pupils’ attainment levels and elevate their passion for this learning area.
The enthusiasm to implement the approach at CHS was very high and a month after this training, Ms Esmeralda, along with the two Senior Middle Leaders at CHS, visited a school which had adopted Maths — No Problem! teaching methods, and it confirmed that the Maths — No Problem! approach was indeed the way forward.
In June 2016, the school’s Senior Leadership team decided with Ms Esmeralda that further training and knowledge acquisition would contribute to the programme’s implementation and sustainability. Ms Esmeralda returned to Dr Yeap Ban Har’s training course in London with all six Chiswick Maths Level Leaders. What they learned immediately fired their enthusiasm, adding to their drive to implement the programme at CHS.
Maths — No Problem! in our school
All the maths level leaders worked around the clock on the new learning schemes and lesson plans for the next scholastic year, making use of the teacher guides offered by Maths — No Problem!. The Level 1 and 2 teachers prepared maths journals which would guide our young ones into recording their individual learning trajectories. Maths journals were then adopted across other levels as well and we created a personalized journal for logging every child’s learning — an excellent way for children to revisit their learning later in the year. A list of resources to accompany the approach was drawn up and added to teachers’ existing supplies. These were organised in a resource cupboard in the corridor so that they could find all the resources needed for every lesson.
In September 2016, school staff received training from a Maths — No Problem! training consultant; after that, the full implementation of the programme began. The start was challenging, but the constant support from our Maths Leader and Senior Middle Leadership Team helped see teachers through. The Maths Leader attended all Planning Level Meetings (these take place once a week and include all teachers in a particular level) and together with the teachers, went through the work that would be covered over the following weeks. This helped teachers develop the confidence to tackle each new concept or skill they would be introducing to the pupils. Removing any roadblocks in the way of the teachers ensured that professional development was continuous. The Maths Leader herself also delivered several lessons as demos for the teachers, and encouraged them to watch the many instructional videos in the Maths — No Problem! online video library.
In the second term, our Maths Lead started Professional Learning Walks in which strengths were identified and areas for development were discussed for each respective level. This made sure that the teachers were utilising the Maths — No Problem! approach at a good standard, and that it was leading to both quality instruction and quality learning. These walks also allowed teachers to collaborate, share ideas and build further confidence in the Maths — No Problem! approach.
The CHS Maths Leader has also held numerous workshops for parents across all levels to help them understand the Maths — No Problem! approach to maths mastery. The majority of parents were on board immediately and appreciated the value of a programme that would enhance critical thinking, collaboration and communication skills in learners. They saw how it would improve pupil confidence and general enjoyment of the subject. The workshops were repeated every term to ensure that any feedback from parents was listened to and addressed.
Leading the maths revolution in Malta
The adoption of the Maths — No Problem! approach has been admired by many on the islands. Chiswick House has enthusiastically published articles in the local media as well as photos, updates and videos on social media. Our Maths Leader was invited to speak on TV — an interesting interview carried out by the leading Professor of Mathematics at the University of Malta. This professor also brought in other Maths consultants and overseas professors to discuss the implementation of the programme. Other schools have recognised our eagerness to start the maths revolution in Malta where mathematics was, and still is in most schools, taught in the traditional manner of rote memorisation. National results have testified that mathematics teaching needs a shift, and although the school’s results were always excellent, we still believed that learners needed further development in gaining a deeper understanding of the subject, hence our decision to move forward with this change. We are in the process of putting up a section on our website about our adoption of the Maths — No Problem! approach as well as our Mathematics Teaching and Learning Policy.
We are proud that Chiswick House School is not only the longest established independent school on the islands (over a 110 years) but it’s also the largest, catering to more than 1600 learners from Bumble Bees to Sixth Form (2 years to 18 years). We have maintained an outstanding reputation through all these years and have been pioneers in so many educational areas. We are honoured to have the respect of so many other schools who look up to us and who tend to follow in our tracks.
Our Mission Statement is inspirational and as outlined in the Maths Teaching and Learning Policy, it is highly aligned with the approach to maths teaching advocated by Maths — No Problem! We are sure that our professional approach to teaching and learning and the outstanding reputation that the school has maintained, will ensure that Maths — No Problem! has an international model school which will act as a catalyst to support their mission in revolutionising the way mathematics is learned and taught.