innovatED Magazine - Issue 3 - Autumn 2019


A lively mix of news, articles, opinion, research, insight and regulatory updates. We take a global perspective and bring the latest developments and outstanding practice from across the world and across different sectors to enable educators to deliver the very best for their pupils. Produced by an experienced and knowledgeable teaching and school leadership team, innovatED is a termly must-read for all staff rooms.


We have had many successes this year. Our children have a

greater knowledge of number, and in many year groups this has

transferred into a greater use of mental strategies when

completing calculations. The children in Key Stage 1 and lower

Key Stage 2 have fully embraced the approach and are

competent in using models to decode problems; consequently,

they have developed their mathematical thinking. I was beaming

with pride as I marked the Key Stage 1 maths papers as the

children applied all of the skills they had been taught. Our

higher ability children excelled and demonstrated a deep

understanding, whilst a small group of children that in the past

would have scraped ARE, proved they had become confident

mathematicians and applied themselves in the test. However,

our Year Six children’s previous habits were hard to break. In

hindsight, would I have rolled out the approach differently and

only focused on Key Stage 1? I think I still would have done the

same as I strongly feel that the children have left our school

understanding mathematical concepts better than they did


Integrated learning

We plan to continue our journey following a mastery approach,

and a key focus will be developing our staff’s knowledge and

learning to dissect mathematical approaches. We aim to

introduce teachers to working in triads to observe lessons and

discuss the approaches afterwards. This will follow a similar

approach to the Teacher Research Groups (TRG) that I will be

continuing to run next year. Also, we have further developed

our plans based on our learning from this year. As the year

progressed, many teachers were discussing how they would link

more topics to number and calculation rather than teach these

as stand-alone topics.

Conversion between metric measures is a prime example of

this. Plans have also been put in place for the number strand

of the curriculum ready for September based on these

reflections. Lesson design is vital, and this will be our

primary focus in the next academic year. Crafting lessons by

using a range of representations and controlling variation is

the key to delivering a highly effective mastery curriculum.

I would strongly recommend that primary schools adopt this

approach to maths; however, I strongly believe that Mastery

in Maths is not just a scheme to follow. It is about having

highly skilled teachers that can teach tricky concepts in a

controlled way. The 5 ‘big ideas’ as set out by the NCETM is

a guide to some of the elements of mastery, and should not

be seen as a tick list. I look forward to seeing our children

develop as mathematicians next year. I hope that they come

back in September showing a good understanding in this

subject and that the time spent this year deepening their

understanding begins to pay its rewards •

About the author, Paul Johnson

Paul has been teaching for over 15 years in a number of

Primary Schools, and has led Maths for the past 11 years.

Throughout this time, he has always been passionate about

children developing a deep understanding of concepts

rather than being taught mathematical rules. He is a PD Lead

and Maths SLE, and has delivered training to a number of

schools on the use of models and representations. He

continues to develop his own practice and is now a NCETM

Primary Mastery Specialist.

Page 18 | Issue 3 | innovatED | Autumn 2019

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