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The maths policy Over the next three issues we will look at ways to build your own maths coordinator’s file. We start by providing you with a model maths policy. In this article, the maths coordinator is referred to as subject leader and subject manager interchangeably. One of the most productive ways to be an effective subject leader is to develop a coordinator’s file. This provides a structure for both teaching and learning, streamlines tasks and organises responsibilities. A maths coordinator’s file is a living and working document that should be consulted and updated regularly. The file should include all papers related to the coordinator’s role. The policy statement for maths The most important document in your maths coordinator’s file will be your maths policy. The National Standards for Subject Leadership state that subject leaders should • develop and implement policies and practices for the subject which reflect the school’s commitment to high achievement, effective teaching and learning • develop and implement policies and practices to ensure governors are well informed about subject policies, plans and policies, the success in meeting objectives and targets, and subject-related professional development plans. It is important that you have a clear understanding of the purposes of the policy itself. Policy statements are required for two purposes. 1 To represent the shared understanding of the staff as to the nature of maths and the characteristics of effective teaching and learning. The policy can therefore be seen as the result of the professional dialogue, informal or formal, which, led by you, has resulted in a common agreement on key issues. 2 To inform audiences outside the school of this shared understanding. Audiences will include supply teachers, newly appointed staff, governors, parents, representatives from the LEA and Ofsted inspectors. The policy statement should summarise the teaching and learning practices in your school. It should describe current practices, rather than changes you hope to promote in the future, which are recorded in the subject development plan. It should be short, concise and positive in tone. It is a professional document and provides a variety of audiences with a first impression of your work. You should feel confident that you can talk through each section, and discuss actual practices in your school which exemplify the policy. Ofsted is an important audience for the policy statement, as the inspectors use this document as part of their decision-making process. The policy is sent to the inspection team before their visit, and is used to help formulate questions for the inspection. The policy can provide information about the vision of the staff and how this converges with the whole-school aims. Ofsted is particularly interested in consistency. Therefore it is important that the maths policy works alongside other documents. On the following pages you will find a model policy to use and adapt to fit the context of your school. And finally… The maths policy should be reviewed and re-written where appropriate to accommodate new initiatives and significant changes in the teaching and learning of maths but also as part of good practice within the yearly development cycle. Reflect on the writing of a policy statement and the way it was formulated. Does it fulfil the two purposes for policies? The statement is the result of your professional planning and development of maths throughout your school. In this way it can be seen as evidence of your success as maths coordinator. John Dabell is series editor of The Maths Coordinator’s File. Policy for maths/numeracy This policy is intended to be read by teachers, teaching assistants, parents and governors of __________ Primary School, as well as by inspectors, support staff and any staff from other schools with which we may develop links. 1. INTRODUCTION Mathematics equips children with the uniquely powerful set of tools to understand and change the world. These tools include logical reasoning, problem-solving skills and the ability to think in abstract ways. Mathematics is important in everyday life. It is integral to all aspects of life and with this in mind we endeavour to ensure that children develop a healthy and enthusiastic attitude towards mathematics that will stay with them. The National Curriculum order for mathematics describes what must be taught in each key stage. __________ Primary School follows the National Numeracy Strategy Framework, which provides detailed guidance for the implementation of the National Curriculum for mathematics. This ensures continuity and progression in the teaching of mathematics. In early years the curriculum is guided by the Early Learning Goals, which mirror the Reception Learning Objectives in the Framework. This policy follows a whole-school format and rationale. 2. RATIONALE All school policies form a corporate, public and accountable statement of intent. As a primary school it is very important to create an agreed whole-school approach of which staff, children, parents, governors and other agencies have a clear understanding. This policy is the formal statement of intent for mathematics. It reflects the essential part that mathematics plays in the education of our children. It is important that a positive attitude towards mathematics is encouraged among all our children in order to foster self- confidence and a sense of achievement. The policy also facilitates how we, as a school, meet the legal requirements of recent Education Acts and National Curriculum Requirements. 3. SCOPE This statement of policy relates to all children, staff, parents and governors of _________ Primary School. The age range of children from _________ must be acknowledged in the creation of policy and the development of the mathematics curriculum. 4. PRINCIPLES The principles of ____________ Primary School for mathematics are • policy and provision are evaluated and reviewed regularly • resources of time, people and equipment are planned, budgeted for and detailed when appropriate in the School Development Plan • the governing body of ___________ Primary School discharge their statutory responsibility with regard to mathematics • cross-curricular links will be highlighted where appropriate • planning of mathematics ensures continuity and progression across all year groups and key stages. 5. AIMS 5.1 General Although relating specifically to mathematics, our aims for the subject are also in line with the school’s general aims. We aim to provide the children with a mathematics curriculum that will produce individuals who are numerate, literate, creative, independent, inquisitive, enquiring and confident. We also aim to provide a stimulating environment and adequate resources so that children can develop their mathematical skills to their full potential. 5.2 Specific Our children should • have a sense of the size of a number and where it fits into the number system • know by heart number facts such as number bonds, multiplication tables, doubles and halves • use what they know by heart to figure out numbers mentally • calculate accurately and efficiently, both mentally and in writing and paper, drawing on a range of calculation strategies • recognise when it is appropriate to use a calculator and be able to do so effectively • make sense of number problems, including non-routine problems, and recognise the operations needed to solve them • explain their methods and reasoning using correct mathematical terms • judge whether their answers are reasonable and have strategies for checking them where necessary • suggest suitable units for measuring and make sensible estimates of measurements • explain and make predictions from the numbers in graphs, diagrams, charts and tables • develop spatial awareness and an understanding of the properties of 2-D and 3-D shapes. 6. PROVISION Children are provided with a variety of opportunities to develop and extend their mathematical skills in and across each phase of education. Lessons follow the Numeracy Strategy format with a mental/oral starter, a main teaching activity and a plenary session. The teaching of mathematics at ________ Primary School provides opportunities for • group work • paired work • whole-class teaching • individual work. Children engage in • the development of mental strategies • written methods • practical work • investigational work • problem-solving • mathematical discussion • consolidation of basic skills and number facts • directed ICT time. At _________ Primary School we recognise the importance of establishing a secure foundation in mental calculation and recall of number facts before standard written methods are introduced. We use a mathematical vocabulary book when planning, to help determine the appropriate terminology to use in our teaching and children are expected to use it in their verbal and written explanations. Mathematics contributes to many subjects and it is important that the children are given opportunities to apply and use mathematics in real contexts. ‘It is important that time is found in other subjects for pupils to develop their Numeracy Skills, eg. there should be regular, carefully planned opportunities for measuring in science and technology, for the consideration of properties of shape and geometric patterns in technology and art, and for the collection and presentation of data in history and geography’ (Numeracy Strategy). We endeavour at all times to set work that is challenging, motivating and encourages the children to talk about what they have been doing. 6.1 Early Years See Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage (Early Learning Goals) and NNS Reception Teaching Programme. 6.2 Key Stage 1 See NNS KS1 teaching programme. 6.3 Key Stage 2 See NNS KS2 teaching programme. 7. ASSESSMENT Assessment is regarded as an integral part of teaching and learning and is a continuous process. It is the responsibility of class teachers to assess all children in their class. In our school we are continually assessing our children and recording their progress. We see assessment as an integral part of the teaching process and strive to make our assessment purposeful, allowing us to match the correct level of work to the needs of the children, thus benefiting the children and ensuring progress. Information for assessment will be gathered in various ways: by talking to the children, observing their work, marking their work, etc. Teachers will use these assessments to plan further work. See the Framework for definitions of short-, medium- and long-term assessment in mathematics. 8. ROLE OF SUBJECT MANAGER The mathematics manager is responsible for coordinating mathematics through the school. This includes • ensuring continuity and progression from year group to year group • providing all members of staff with guidelines and a scheme of work to show how aims are to be achieved and how the variety of all aspects of mathematics is to be taught • advising on in-service training to staff where appropriate. This will be in line with the needs identified in the Development Plan and within the confines of the school budget • advising and supporting colleagues in the implementation and assessment of mathematics throughout the school • assisting with requisition and maintenance of resources required for the teaching of mathematics. Again this will be within the confines of the school budget. 9. ROLE OF CLASS TEACHER • To ensure progression in the acquisition of mathematical skills with due regard to the NNS Framework and consequently the National Curriculum for mathematics. • To develop and update skills, knowledge and understanding of mathematics. • To identify INSET needs in mathematics and take advantage of training opportunities. • To keep appropriate on-going records. • To plan effectively for mathematics (with year group partners), liaising with manager when necessary. See NNS for details of short-, medium- and long-term planning procedures. • To inform parents of pupils’ progress, achievements and attainment. 10. PERFORMANCE INDICATORS Performance indicators, which are the criteria for success of the school’s mathematics policy at __________ Primary School, are • at KS2 (target for year) • at KS1 (target for year) • children enjoy mathematics • children talk confidently about what they are doing in mathematics. 11. INCLUSION AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES Every child has an entitlement to a broad, balanced, meaningful and relevant maths curriculum. We recognise that each child is unique in terms of characteristics, interests, abilities, motivation and learning needs. At __________ Primary School we recognise children’s different learning styles and preferences and aim to provide learning contexts for visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learners. Those children with exceptional learning needs have equal access to high-quality and appropriate maths education. We incorporate mathematics into a wide range of cross-curricular subjects and seek to take advantage of multicultural aspects of mathematics. All children have equal access to the curriculum regardless of their gender, race, cultural background or disability. This is monitored by analysing pupil performance throughout the school to ensure that there is no disparity between groups. 12. SOCIAL, MORAL, SPIRITUAL AND CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT We address children’s social development through the playing of mathematical games, the use of discussion and the opportunities for collaborative work. Moral development is addressed by exploring the ways in which right and wrong are sometimes fixed within mathematics and how this compares with other subjects and aspects of life. Spiritual development may occur when exploring the relationships and patterns within mathematics, which can inspire a feeling of wonder and awe. Mathematics offers many opportunities for the exploration of other cultures, for example the multiplication methods of the ancient Chinese, the structure of Japanese numbers or the patterns of Islam. In other senses, mathematics can be regarded as culture-free. Children with English as an additional language who have previous knowledge of written numbers and mathematical symbols may find that written mathematics is an excellent form of communication in the early days of integration into an English-speaking classroom. 13. HEALTH AND SAFETY Consideration for health and safety is of the utmost importance in maths. Appropriate storage and handling methods are taught to all children. The children are taught to follow simple instructions to control the risks to themselves and others. Teachers make sure that Teaching Assistants are aware of safety procedures. 14. PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT At ____________ Primary School we encourage parents to be involved by • inviting them into school twice-yearly to discuss the progress of their child • inviting them into school in the summer term to discuss the yearly report • inviting them to curriculum evenings or circulating information via half-termly newsletters when significant changes have been/are made to the mathematics curriculum • inviting parents of Year 6 children to a meeting in January on supporting their children with SATs • encouraging parents to help in classrooms • holding workshops for parents focusing on areas of mathematics. 15. GOVERNING BODY At ________________ Primary School we have an identified governor for numeracy and she has reviewed NNS training and is invited to attend relevant school INSET. The numeracy governor visits the school termly to talk with the subject coordinator and, when possible, observes some daily mathematics lessons. The numeracy governor reports back to the curriculum committee on a regular basis. APPENDIX 1 Resources APPENDIX 2 Curriculum coordinator job description This policy was agreed by the governing body on __________________ and will be reviewed in ______________. ______________ Primary School.
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