Confidence with Maths and numeracy are hugely important and, in the Maths department at King’s Hall, we believe it is crucial that every child is given the best opportunity to become a confident, numerate learner. Whilst we place great emphasis on stretching the more able, we also recognise that some children find Maths tricky and as teachers, therefore, our challenge is to make Maths fun and accessible, and to provide an atmosphere in which the pupils feel comfortable with their learning and can grow in confidence as they develop their knowledge and skills.
The key factor in achieving these aims is to ensure that every child is working at the correct level and is ‘appropriately challenged’. As such, group work is a strong feature of our Maths classrooms in the lower part of the school, before the children are carefully and flexibly set from the age of 9 according to their ability. They relish working together, learn a great deal from each other in and out of the classroom, and enjoy discovering together the myriad of patterns that are inextricably linked within the subject.
The department also recognises that, regardless of natural ability, children learn Maths in different ways. We therefore place great importance on different creative strategies when planning and teaching that take into account different learning styles. For example, fractions is a topic which can cause trepidation; but not when a chocolate cake is baked and cut into halves, quarters and eighths. The idea of equivalent fractions is then easily gobbled up!
There is also a strong belief that Maths is more enjoyable and better understood when it is related to ‘real life’ and problems are set in appropriate and relevant contexts. This also extends into linking with other subjects and taking Maths outside the classroom – pupils then begin to realise that the wonderful, amazing world of Maths is actually all around them and not confined to the four walls of the teaching room.
The best possible reward for staff in the Maths department is to hear happy and confident pupils saying in an excited voice, ‘We have Maths this afternoon!’ Then we know we must be getting something right.