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Mathematics


Intent

The purpose of the maths curriculum is to provide a secure understanding of mathematical concepts, from basic  principles of mathematics to complex topics that combine several areas of study into a single question. The curriculum promotes retention of knowledge and a depth of learning rather than accelerated learning. This  results in confident pupils who take their studies further into sixth form, university and beyond. In all year groups, there is an intentional focus on numeracy which will support pupils not only in their study of maths but but also in their ability to access mathematical questions in other subjects. 

Over the five year course our provision is guided by the following principles:

Entitlement: All pupils in maths are exposed to extensive number, algebra, geometry, proportion, and statistics content. They are not taught on separate pathways until key stage 4. This ensures that all pupils can access all areas of maths and have time to develop their skills before limiting their entitlement to higher maths. In key stage 4, pupils are tiered to provide appropriate challenge for the varied levels of understanding being demonstrated.

Coherence: Our curriculum has been carefully sequenced to ensure that knowledge is revisited without having a spiral curriculum, and to avoid classic misconceptions between topic areas. 

Mastery: Mathematical concepts are taught in-depth and continually revisited with careful interleaving or mixing of content into future teaching topics. The focus on retention of knowledge is at the core of the maths curriculum; the mastery approach supports this. 

Adaptability: Teachers are provided with a fully resourced curriculum that will meet the expectations of the maths curriculum in key stage 3 and key stage 4. Teachers are expected to adapt these resources and have autonomy to decide how they are delivered in the classroom. 

Representation: Maths is universal, providing all pupils with an elegant and logical way of viewing the world. Where our resources include names and places, these have been selected to be inclusive. We believe that a secure understanding of maths is an essential starting point for all young people. 

Education with character: Mathematics is a common language in which all pupils can solve, analyse, and problem solve. Our curriculum supports pupils to build logical reasoning, critical thinking and is mentally rigorous.

The roadmap diagram provided below sets out the route that we expect pupils to take through our key stage 3 curriculum and the sequence of units covered in years 7, 8 and 9, broken down by half-term. All units are compulsory components of key stage 3 teaching and provide a core base of knowledge to begin key stage 4. The curriculum has been carefully designed to continuously interleave content, dipping into different topics throughout. The curriculum focuses on teaching in a sequence that provides building blocks for pupils to access future topics.

Implementation

The maths curriculum promotes a consistent approach to lesson delivery by linking lesson structure to the Rosenshine Principles of Instruction, in line with United Learning’s centralised teaching and learning approach. We use these principles because cognitive research (e.g. Kirschner, Sweller and Clark, 2006) suggests that students need a large amount of subject knowledge in their long-term memory to become competent in any subject.

In maths, students will be far better equipped to apply mathematical thinking to a problem if their working memory is not overloaded with basic calculations. Therefore, our curriculum always emphasises secure content knowledge before moving onto problem-solving tasks. This is a step away from discovery-based learning and acknowledges the gap between teachers as experts and students as novices, with the key point being that we cannot expect students to show mathematical expertise until they have acquired fluency with numbers.

The development of long-term memory is supported by a curriculum that focuses on interleaving content, regular low stakes quizzing, daily starter grids that review prior learning, and formative assessments that feed into teacher planning to close gaps in knowledge. Consistent review of key content is integral to the structure and order of the curriculum itself.

Teachers use Hegarty Maths, Seneca and Sparx to review this content as homework. Our curriculum is designed to provide a challenge for all learners. Teachers are expected to adapt resources for the needs of their students. We use carefully constructed resources that exemplify accessible methods for students and teachers. We provide an opportunity for challenge by depth rather than accelerating through the curriculum. In key stage 4, exam questions are used, when appropriate, to assess understanding of core fluency and application of it in context.

Homework

All students complete homework online on Hegarty Maths or Sparx. Both platforms support the key stage 3 and key stage 4 curriculum, and all United Learning resources signpost to the relevant maths clips on these websites. For example, in summative assessment question level analysis sheets (QLAs), in KPI tests and the scheme of work to support independent work and teaching of prior knowledge.

On Sparx, teachers input the United Learning maths curriculum into the system at the start of the year, breaking down what is being learnt on a week-by-week basis, so that the platform is directly linked to our curriculum.

Assessment

In key stage 3 students are assessed regularly in lessons using low stakes testing and quizzing. At the end of each topic they have Key Performance Indicator (KPI) tests. These, together with high stakes mid-year and end of year summative assessments, inform the awarding of Age Related Grades.

In key stage 4 the combination of low stakes testing and topic tests, together with mid-year and end of year assessments, continues until year 11. At this point, students sit full GCSE papers in November and February, which inform the “Working At” grades on the 9-1 scale.

Extra-Curricular Opportunities

All students can participate in UKMT Maths Challenges. Key stage 4 students have enrichment and revision sessions at various points of the year. Homework support workshops are available to all year groups.

Useful Links

Edexcel GCSE specification 

Sparx KS3 homework and independent learning

Hegarty Maths for KS4 homework and independent learning

Students are directed to use Sparx and Hegarty’s Memri on a weekly basis to access ongoing interleaved retrieval practice to reinforce prior knowledge before meeting new topics.

Visit Career Pilot to find out more about jobs and careers using Maths