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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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