At Decoy, we aim to ensure that all pupils:
- become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately
- reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
- can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.
At Decoy, we believe that mastering maths means pupils of all ages acquiring a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject. The phrase ‘teaching for mastery’ describes the elements of classroom practice and school organisation that combine to give pupils the best chances of mastering maths. Achieving mastery means acquiring a solid enough understanding of the maths that’s been taught to enable pupils to move on to more advanced material.
Teaching is designed to enable a coherent learning progression through the curriculum, providing access for all pupils to develop a deep and connected understanding of mathematics that they can apply in a range of contexts.
Representation and Structure
Teachers carefully select representations of mathematics to expose mathematical structure. The intention is to support pupils in ‘seeing’ the mathematics, rather than using the representation as a tool to ‘do’ the mathematics. These representations become mental images that students can use to think about mathematics, supporting them to achieve a deep understanding of mathematical structures and connections.
Mathematical thinking is central to how pupils learn mathematics and includes looking for patterns and relationships, making connections, conjecturing, reasoning, and generalising. Pupils should actively engage in mathematical thinking in all lessons, communicating their ideas using precise mathematical language.
Efficient, accurate recall of key number facts and procedures is essential for fluency, freeing pupils’ minds to think deeply about concepts and problems, but fluency demands more than this. It requires pupils to have the flexibility to move between different contexts and representations of mathematics, to recognise relationships and make connections, and to choose appropriate methods and strategies to solve problems.
The purpose of variation is to draw closer attention to a key feature of a mathematical concept or structure through varying some elements while keeping others constant.
- Conceptual variation involves varying how a concept is represented to draw attention to critical features. Often more than one representation is required to look at the concept from different perspectives and gain comprehensive knowledge.
- Procedural variation considers how the student will ‘proceed’ through a learning sequence. Purposeful changes are made in order that pupils’ attention is drawn to key features of the mathematics, scaffolding students’ thinking to enable them to reason logically and make connections.