Intent and Implementation

At Hexham Middle, it is our goal to ensure that pupils are confident, resilient and fluent mathematicians. Our curriculum is built upon the core principles of developing fluent pupils who can articulate their thought processes and reason mathematically and approach problem solving with a systematic attitude. We build our curriculum on the principles of mastery teaching with high expectations at the heart of our teaching and learning.

Pupils joining the school in Year 5 will follow the curriculum through well-sequenced blocks of learning. Each block strengthens the three main aims with their foundation on fluency and skills before allowing pupils to apply their learning to more complex problem solving and reasoning. Our lessons (across the school) focus on whole-class delivery where teacher-led formative assessment shapes the subsequent learning. At HMS, expect to see and hear ongoing assessment in every maths lesson – this may be through the use of questioning, mini-whiteboards, quizzes or observations. Practice is also at the heart of mathematics at HMS – we firmly believe that all pupils, regardless of their prior attainment, must have time to practise so that they retain key learning and concepts. In lessons, pupils work through a series of well-prepared ‘ticket tasks’ which mean that variation is woven into lessons and pupils are not spending hours on skills they are already secure with. This approach continues into Year 6 where pupils progress through the age-related expectations in topic blocks. The learning is broken down into small steps to ensure progression for all pupils. The sequence of learning means that pupils are required to draw upon prior learning to build the next block; thus, encouraging memory and retention of concepts throughout the year and developing confident mathematicians who can make links across the curriculum.

To ensure that our pupils are building their resilience and retention with number, you can expect to see and hear lots of fluency practise in lessons. This takes the form of regular fluency starters and arithmetic practise. In KS2, all pupils write the date in Roman numerals to develop a rapid recall. Pupils engage in ‘Little and Often’ sessions each week to ensure that key vocabulary and concepts are at the forefront of pupils’ memories. Vocabulary is hugely important in mathematics and is often the barrier to pupils’ success. Each lesson will feature ‘buzzwords’ which will not only be displayed but referred to and reinforced as key teaching points in lessons across every year group.

In KS3, we want our students to demonstrate perseverance in the face of more challenging problems and to develop their ability to communicate ideas using precise mathematical language and conventional notation. We seek to engender students with a sense of intrigue around the power of mathematics and are curious to discover how key concepts interconnect and apply across the curriculum and in the wider world.

The KS3 mathematics curriculum has a strong focus on ensuring that students are fluent in numerical and algebraic methods. Topics are interleaved across KS3 in order to consolidate topics and aid retention. Number skills are central to the curriculum and are practised regularly; this is in recognition of the fact that difficulties with number fluency can result in cognitive overload when students attempt to learn new material at a later point, such as topics in geometry which rely heavily on numerical fluency in KS4. Students who already demonstrate a secure fluency or who grasp concepts rapidly will be encouraged to apply their understanding to deeper and mathematically richer problems.

The Year 7 curriculum begins with algebraic thinking in order to introduce the children to KS3 with new content. It encourages the use of calculators and enables them to begin to think like mathematicians. Students build on their skills of problem solving by generalising, visualising and developing sequence recognition. Algebra is then interleaved throughout as we move onto place value, proportion and fraction, decimal and percentage equivalence which are covered in order to consolidate and extend the foundations from KS2. Throughout the spring term the curriculum focuses on solving complex problems and deepening mathematical thinking. This is followed by a focus on directed number and further developing fluency with fractions in response to the demands of the KS4 curriculum. The summer term covers geometric reasoning which draws out the ability to articulate mathematical thinking whilst applying number skills. The need for reasoning, justifications and proof is woven throughout our topic blocks.

In Year 8, the curriculum begins with proportional reasoning in order to prepare the students for the increased focus on this area in the KS4 curriculum. The students are introduced to graphical representation which links to the work on proportion and builds on the algebraic work covered in Year 7. The spring term focuses on algebraic techniques, extending the work begun in Year 7 and introducing new terminology and ideas such as inequalities and solving simultaneous equations. The curriculum then develops fluency and reasoning with fractions and percentages before moving on to standard form. This topic develops the understanding of place value covered in Year 7. In the summer term, the knowledge of geometry is developed to include rules and formulae for more complex shapes. The year ends with a data topic in which the students develop their understanding of dispersion and location; this will prepare them for real life application of mathematics.

At QEHS, Year 9 builds upon the work undertaken in Years 7 and 8 and is assured through the close partnership working around the mathematics curriculum intentions. During the autumn term, students work on consolidating and developing their skills in place value, fractions, decimals, percentages, ratio and proportion at the appropriate level. Towards the end of the first term, probability is introduced to connect and apply the learning around fractions and decimals in particular. As the year progresses, students are introduced to algebraic methods, connecting back to earlier number topics and which again, provide a solid foundation for later study of new topics in algebra, geometry and measures and statistics. We recognise the importance of giving students the skills to reason mathematically and to apply their knowledge to problems, once they are fluent in mathematical methods. As such, every lesson in Year 9 incorporates an opportunity for the teacher to model and/or for students to apply reasoning and problem-solving skills, thereby contextualising and applying mathematical methods in a variety of settings.

The Trust is committed to embedding formative assessment in the classroom and as one part of this, students complete short, quiz-style assessments (known as APPs at QEHS) based on each topic studied. There is a hiatus between finishing the topic and completing the assessment in order to optimise the retrieval effect. At three points during the year, students will undertake a longer, summative assessment with broader coverage of the entire academic year to date. This will be used to determine whether students are on track to meet end-of-year expectations and to provide formative feedback on the retention of key composite knowledge over time. It is essential that pupils become fluent mathematicians by remembering key facts and knowledge such as properties and formulae. When they can recall this with ease, they are fluent and confident to apply their understanding to more abstract situations.
Across the Hexham Partnership of schools, we have worked collaboratively to develop a consistent ‘Calculation Policy’ (see below).

Impact

It is important that teachers regularly assess pupils both formatively and summatively. In all lessons, teachers at HMS deploy formative assessment strategies to understand the learning in their classroom. Talk is a fundamental aspect of assessment in maths and teachers will question and observe interactions in lessons. We use regular, low-stakes quizzing as well as topic assessments. In every year group, pupils complete termly (at least) summative testing which allows teachers to plan ahead and build their curriculum to best support their pupils. We use regular arithmetic testing to promote memory, retention and recall of written and mental calculation methods. As a result of assessment, pupils are supported and challenged where required and teachers amend their planning and approaches to ensure that any gaps in learning are covered.

Sequence of Learning

Autumn Term

  • Place value to 1,000,000 (including ordering and rounding)
  • Addition and Subtraction
  • Graphs and Tables (Statistics)
  • Multiplication and Division
  • Measurement: Area and Perimeter

Spring Term

  • Multiplication and Division
  • Fractions
  • Decimals and Percentages

Summer Term 

  • Decimals
  • Properties of Shapes
  • Position and Direction
  • Measurement: Converting Units
  • Volume

Autumn Term

  • Place Value to 10,000,000 (including ordering, rounding and negative numbers)
  • Four Operations
  • Fractions
  • Position and Direction
  • Decimals

Spring Term

  • Percentages
  • Measurement: Converting Units
  • Measurement: Perimeter, area and volume
  • Properties of Shape
  • Ratio and Proportion
  • Algebra

Summer Term

  • Statistics
  • Preparation for End of KS2 Assessments
  • Functional Skills
  • Statistics
  • Problem Solving and Investigations
  • Geometry and Constructions

Autumn Term

  • Exploring Sequences
  • Understanding and using algebraic notation
  • Equality and Equivalence
  • Place Value
  • Fraction, Decimal and Percentage Equivalence

Spring Term

  • Application of Number (Four Operations)
  • Directed Number
  • Fractional Thinking

Summer Term

  • Constructions and Measuring
  • Geometric Reasoning
  • Developing Number Sense
  • Sets and Probability
  • Prime Numbers and Proof

Autumn Term

  • Ratio and Scale
  • Multiplicative Change
  • Multiplying and Dividing Fractions
  • Working in the Cartesian Plane
  • Representing Data
  • Probability

Spring Term

  • Indices
  • Brackets, Equations and Inequalities
  • Sequences
  • Number Sense
  • Standard Index Form
  • Fractions and Percentages

Summer Term

  • Geometric Reasoning
  • Area and Volume
  • Transformations
  • Constructions and Loci
  • The Data Handling Cycle
  • Measures of Location and Dispersion

Supporting Documents