Mathematics is a creative and highly inter-connected subject which provides the opportunity to challenge, engage and inspire. It is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary in most forms of employment. A high-quality mathematics education therefore provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.
The National Curriculum for mathematics aims 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 have conceptual understanding and are able to recall and apply their knowledge rapidly and accurately to problems
- 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 Westfields Junior School, we deliver a curriculum which addresses these National Curriculum aims of reasoning, fluency and problem solving and ensures that pupils embed mathematical concepts at each stage of their education through a ‘mastery approach’.
A mastery approach: a set of principles and beliefs. This includes a belief that all pupils are capable of understanding and doing mathematics, given sufficient time. Pupils are neither ‘born with the maths gene’ nor ‘just no good at maths’. With good teaching, appropriate resources, effort and a ‘can do’ attitude all children can achieve in and enjoy mathematics.
The link below will lead you to our school’s calculation policy, which has been informed by the 2014 Mathematics National Curriculum. This document illustrates the progression of calculation strategies used throughout the school and gives examples that might be used in each year group. The policy is a ‘handy’ guide for anyone who would also like to brush up on their knowledge of number operation strategies as we recognise that these might be different to the ones taught at school prior to 2014.
The Year 4 Multiplication Tables Check is designed to help ensure children in primary school know their times tables up to 12 x 12 off by heart. As well as being critical for everyday life, knowledge of multiplication tables helps children to solve problems quickly and flexibly and allows them to tackle more complex mathematics later on in school.
The Multiplication Tables Check is an online test for pupils in Year 4. Pupils are asked to answer 25 questions on times tables ranging from the two times tables up to the twelve times tables. They are given six seconds per question, with three seconds rest between each question, so the test lasts less than five minutes.
How can I help my child prepare for the Multiplication Tables Check?
The best way to keep the test stress-free is to work some times tables practice into your daily routine well in advance. With regular practise, your child will get used to tackling these kinds of questions with confidence.
TT Rock Stars
Every child at Westfields Junior School has a TT Rock Stars login. Children are expected to practise TT Rock Stars at home regularly and there are also opportunities for children to use the app in school. The app allows children to practise a range of times tables games which are suited to their current understanding. As well as this, they have a chance to play against their peers and other children around the world. While practising their times tables, children will also have the opportunity to earn coins to spend on improving their avatar!
Learn the tricks for difficult times tables
There are clever tricks for remembering several of the times tables. For instance, watch Andrew Jeffrey’s method for tackling the seven times table below:
Play times tables games online.
Games and challenges are a great way to support learning and a few minutes a day will make all the difference. Why not play snap with some times tables flashcards, matching the sums to the answers as fast as you can? Or you could surprise your child by asking times tables questions at random times during the day and seeing how quickly they can respond (this works particularly well as a competition between siblings or friends). Using games keeps practice short and sweet and makes the process much less of a chore for you and your child.
Make it real
If your child can’t see any point in learning their times tables, try showing them how this knowledge is useful in everyday life. Instead of just rote learning their times tables, try to create opportunities for your child to use multiplication in problem solving. For example, ask them to scale up a recipe or calculate whether they have enough money to buy more of their favourite things (such as sweets or football cards). This will help your child see the value of their learning.
Practise on the computer
Help your child become comfortable reading and answering questions on a screen. The website below has lots of interactive activities to help your child practise.
To support the development of number facts and times tables fluency, in class our children participate in our ‘MathMagicians’ scheme. Our scheme allows children to focus on key fluency skills which will support them in every aspect of their Maths learning. Through their time with us at school, children work their way through the ranks, completing short weekly tests. Once children have achieved full marks on two occasions, they receive a certificate awarded by the ‘The Magicians Guild of Mental Maths Mastery’. Below is an overview of the ranks for both number fluency and times tables.
As a school, we use “MyMaths”, an interactive online home learning website, for the development and securing of mathematical concepts.
We love Nrich!
Nrich is a fantastic website! There are hundreds of games and problem solving activities to explore.
You can use the search engine in the top right hand corner to find activities linked to various topics. Activities are organised by level of challenge, 1 star being the simplest and 4 star being the toughest.
We would advise that pupils aim to work around the 2 star challenges for key stage 2 but you may want to try 1 star and 3 star as well!
Try out some Maths games!
TopMarks is an engaging website to practise a variety of Mathematical skills. From times tables to numbers bonds, this website has it all. And the best thing about it is that it is free! Get your child to try out some games on the computer or tablet and we can guarantee they will be hooked! We are sure that use of TopMarks games will support their times tables and Maths fluency knowledge and help them to progress through the Math-Magician Scheme.
Mathematics for Deeper Understanding
The Mathematics Shed is a great website with hundreds of videos, maths resources, problems and puzzles. It may take a little bit of searching to find a resource that will be suitable for your child but your child’s class teacher or Mr Medwell, the Maths Coordinator, will be happy to point you in the right direction.
Maths through Stories
Mr Medwell’s favourite new website! This site is designed to help children who are struggling to access Maths by making it real and tangible, not just rooted in the abstract! The link below will lead you to some videos and stories that have a mathematical theme. You could explore these videos with your child, pausing periodically to discuss the Maths in each part of the story. Give it a go and tell Mr Medwell what you think! He’d love to get your thoughts on the site!
The National Curriculum
Below you will find the National Curriculum for Maths. The National Curriculum gives us a framework for how we structure or curriculum year on year.
Year 5 Yateley School Maths Challenge (November 2021)
The 2019 Westfields Year 5 and 6 Maths Challenge