The vision and values of our school underpin the decisions we make as a department, whether that is about our curriculum or all the plethora of activities outside of the classroom. The St Luke’s maths team is at the heart of the collaborative community of schools within the Ted Wragg Trust. We are at the cutting edge of teaching through the use of our adaptive digital learning platform, Sparx, which is based on research into how children learn and how best to support teaching.
We want all of our pupils to live life to the full and be able to take the next step in their educational and life journey. This is more than just examination results: it also encompasses the problem solving and mathematical reasoning skills that run throughout the mathematics curriculum at St Luke’s.
Following a spiral curriculum enables pupils to master concepts and ideas, revisiting topics to ensure that a greater depth of knowledge is gained.
In line with our whole-school intent, the principles which underpin our maths curriculum are:
- Ambition and Being Inclusive: pupils’ prior attainment does not limit their potential. Topics are taught to all sets at broadly the same time, allowing setting and tier of entry decisions to be fluid. Pupils take responsibility for their own learning and we put no limits on their own understanding. Our curriculum is successfully adapted, designed and developed for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities and those who may be disadvantaged. Within the Scheme of Learning there are different bands or levels that allow teachers to move between different levels of difficulty to best suit the needs of individuals and classes of pupils.
- Evidence-based: our curriculum is coherently planned and sequenced. The Sparx scheme of learning is sequenced in a way that ensures pupils revisit topics and concepts as a ‘spiral curriculum’ building their knowledge and skills cohesively over time.
- Broad and balanced: Throughout the curriculum, pupils study all of the main concepts in mathematics (number, algebra, geometry, probability, ratio).
Throughout the curriculum, pupils study all of the main ideas in mathematics (number, algebra, geometry, probability, ratio). We also include opportunities for learning beyond the classroom through UKMT maths challenges and a variety of mathematically minded clubs.
Our approach to teaching is underpinned by many of the central tenets of ‘mastery’. We know that students arrive with us with very different starting points and we group students accordingly. This allows us to ambitiously teach for understanding; we do not use tricks or gimmicks to only develop partial, or no, understanding of the underlying mathematical principles. Working collaboratively as a department, we constantly refine and develop our approach to teaching calculations so that pupils can genuinely understand the why and not just the how of mathematical processes.
Our teachers utilise the St Luke’s learning structure in every lesson and sequence of lessons to gradually increase student independence and quickly ascertain where misconceptions are. Problem solving and reasoning is embedded into the curriculum. We do this through using a variety of different sources of high-level questions, including tasks which had a low threshold but high ceiling. These include, but are not limited to: the White Rose Maths exemplar questions; goal free problems; Don Steward and Craig Barton exercises; UKMT past questions and many other sources of high quality problem solving and reasoning material. Indeed, every curriculum team meeting begins with us solving a problem ourselves – it is important to us that we get to ‘do’ mathematics and experience problems from the point of view of our pupils.
Our curriculum is enriched and supported by opportunities for learning beyond the classroom through UKMT maths challenges and a variety of mathematically minded clubs. We are very proud to offer Year 8 the option to study Level 2 qualifications in Further Maths and Statistics at Key Stage 4.
Formative assessment is embedded into all mathematics lessons. Teachers adapt their teaching based on assessment, whether this is more formal through exit cards or quizzes or through circulating and reviewing pupils’ work live during a lesson. Teachers’ formative assessment forms an important part of knowing our impact as a department. Spaced retrieval of topics in a weekly low-stakes quiz for all classes allows teachers to make judgements on learning over time, rather than in the moment performance, which can then be used to ensure that students learn more and understand more as their knowledge and skills build over time. Our impact can also be seen through the summative assessment cycles and through GCSE examination results, having achieved a positive progress score for a number of years. The high uptake for additional maths qualifications at Key Stage 4 reflects the passion and ambition of our staff the love of maths our students have. We are proud of the achievements of our pupils in the examination hall, but equally recognise that this is one part of recognising their success. Fundamentally, our impact can be seen in the lifelong skills that pupils develop through our curriculum, allowing them to leave us taking an ambitious next step in their education and leaving them with the skills to live life to the full.
St Luke’s is a wonderful place; is a school full of staff who are dedicated to improving the life chances of every student that attends the school.
Kealey Sherwood, Headteacher