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VIEW FROM THE CLASSROOM


View from the classroom


to weave a problem-solving approach to maths into all areas of the curriculum.


Did you stop teaching maths skills completely? No. We appreciated that to be able to formulate number relationships to solve problems children had to have a good level of understanding of each individual mathematical skill. We are keen to teach every skill and have a timetable set out across the year to ensure mastery of each one. There are always children who get pleasure from a page of sums with ticks by each one, but we also wanted to make maths practical and purposeful; we always work to apply these mathematical skills to real-life problems. Learning their multiplication tables is one


S


ince 2014, schools across England have been working hard to become fluent in


the fundamentals of the new maths curriculum; revising their teaching to ensure children are able to follow a line of enquiry, formulate number relationships and, in turn, solve problems by applying their mathematical skills to a variety of challenges with increasing sophistication. This month, in our ever-popular series going behind the gates of the UK’s schools, we hear from Hannah Bennett, headteacher at Hadrian Academy in Dunstable, who explains how the school has changed its approach to primary maths over the past year and, in turn, demonstrated such a high level of maths excellence that it has become the national winning school in the Matific UK Games.


You have changed your approach to teaching maths at Hadrian Academy. What drove this change? It was very clear that our students were more engaged in maths when it was made real and purposeful. We therefore launched a big project


example of how we’ve continued to teach the core skills but with a new level of fun to engage the children. We recognised the power of knowing the multiplication tables but very few children were excited when it was time for their weekly times-table test. Even the ones that did well, were not retaining and using their-times tables in lessons. So, we introduced the ‘Golden Test’ which we run every two weeks. It involves children from across the school answering one hundred mixed multiplication questions in five minutes, to win a watch of their choice from a wide selection. The children love the challenge and wearing their new watch around school resulted in everyone congratulating them on being a times-tables master. The changes we’ve made are based on


achieving robust maths mastery by moving on from this to applying their mathematical skills across the curriculum and to various real life problems.


What new ideas did you introduce to result in your students developing such a bed-rock of mathematical skills? We started by making these stand-alone maths


16 www.education-today.co.uk June 2018


skill classes, the first lesson of every day. We also work closely with our parents to help them support their children’s learning; understanding our approach, and why it is so important. Parents of children entering Hadrian in Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) are invited to an evening showing them teaching methods used and how


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