How to help your child with maths
Welcome to the South Green Junior School maths webpage. We believe that all children can enjoy maths and succeed in this important subject. Parents can help greatly by supporting and encouraging their children at home. To help your child become a confident mathematician - read on.
Maths subject Lead - Mr Simmons
Mr Simmons is a Year 5 teacher, Primary Mastery Specialist for the NCETM (National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics), an NCETM Professional Development Accredited Lead and participated in the Department for Education Mathematics Teacher Exchange England-Shanghai in 2019.
Help them explain – don’t do it for them
Children sometimes get stuck on their homework or seem to give up almost as soon as they've started. If your child is struggling, break the task down and tackle one question at a time. Get them to explain how they can solve the problem or what they remember from when they were taught the topic in class. Often, children benefit from drawing a picture of the problem. Then, support them to complete the question or show them a similar example with different numbers.
Let’s make it automatic
At South Green, we talk a lot about automaticity – the instant, effortless recall of key maths facts. This is not about mindless rote learning, but rather it is equipping children with powerful knowledge and deep understanding that helps ensure future success in maths.
We recognise that many adults did not always enjoy maths at school or found it a difficult subject. One of the most unhelpful ideas is that people are either a ‘maths person’ or ‘were never any good at maths’. These are quite commonly held beliefs here in the UK although it is very unusual to hear people say such things in other countries. Passing on such ideas to your children helps to create a negative perception of maths and undermines their future progress. It is much more helpful to emphasize to children that they might not be able to do something ‘yet’ and that hard work and intelligent practice are important components of success.
All children need to learn their number bonds securely so they can tackle addition and subtraction calculations with ease. We use Numbots to help children achieve success in this area. You can download this onto your phone or access it through a laptop, tablet or desktop computer. You can watch this short video to familiarise yourself with this engaging online product. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2L9N8Nbn3U&feature=youtu.be
Every child in the school has their own account and login details. We would recommend 10-15 minutes on week days to fully master number bonds. Numbots presents the questions in a variety of mathematically rich ways and is ideal to support fluency, especially for children in years 3 and 4.
Times Tables Rock Stars is another highly engaging (and strangely addictive) website you can use to help your child achieve automaticity with their times tables. You might want to supplement this with low-stakes quizzing as well as timed practice. Your teacher can set specific tables for your children to practise (every child has their own login details) or the app can select tables that your child currently finds a little tricky. 10-15 minutes on week days will help secure your child’s knowledge of times tables.
At South Green, we learn (and teach) our tables in the following order to help draw children’s attention to the patterns within and between the different tables. Furthermore, children receive a reward card when they have mastered their tables, as follows:
Bronze reward card: x1, x10, x5
Silver reward card: x2, x4, x8
Gold reward card: x3, x6, x9
Platinum reward card: x7, x11, x12
Maths for high attainers
Maths is not a race and we want to encourage our children to explore topics in greater depth rather than seeking to dash ahead before understanding is secure. That said, some children are ‘rapid graspers’ who confidently access new learning. There are a whole variety of additional tasks and challenges that we would encourage you to explore at home.
Corbett Maths provides a very useful five a day challenge at various levels of difficulty and can be accessed here: https://corbettmathsprimary.com/5-a-day/
We use this in school during the week so please restrict yourself to the weekend and holiday sheets (there are plenty – even one for Christmas Day!).
Mathematical Challenges For Able Pupils is now an archived document, but you can still access this range of puzzles and problems here: https://www.egfl.org.uk/sites/default/files/maths%20puzzles%20all.pdf
You might like to explore the Winton Gallery at the Science Museum here: https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/see-and-do/mathematics-winton-gallery
MoMath, the National Museum of Mathematics, in New York has an interesting website and runs a series of online events. You can find out more details here: https://momath.org/
You might also like to explore the Royal Institution's Christmas lecture series for children and, in particular, Secrets and Lies: the hidden power of maths given by Dr Hannah Fry in 2019 here: https://www.rigb.org/christmas-lectures/2019-secrets-and-lies
We have a range of maths books in the school library or you might want to buy Dorling Kindersley’s Train Your Brain To Be A Maths Genius as a special present. Details here: https://www.dk.com/uk/book/9781409384021-train-your-brain-to-be-a-maths-genius/
We follow the National Curriculum for Maths and utilise the White Rose schemes of learning to help teachers plan and sequence lessons. In years 3, 4 and 5, we use Maths - No Problem! textbooks and workbooks. (These very high quality resources were the first to be approved by an expert panel convened by the Department for Education and we secured £2,000 of matched funding due to our involvement with the NCETM - see below.) In year 6, we typically set children in three smaller groups to help prepare them for secondary school.
You can find out more about Maths - No Problem! here:
Details of the White Rose schemes of learning can be accessed here:
The outline for each year group's scheme of learning in a 'normal' year are as follows:
Our teachers adapt and enhance the schemes of learning to suit the needs of our pupils.
Maths curriculum intent
Our vision of teaching and learning for mastery is based on a firmly held belief that all children can and should enjoy and succeed at mathematics. To enable children to become confident and competent mathematicians, there is an interconnected web of foundational knowledge, skills and procedures that must be taught and learnt. We teach maths in line with the National Curriculum, adhering to the principles in the 'Every Child Matters' document.
At South Green Junior School we believe that maths mastery is best explained by the characteristics we would expect a child at the end of Year 6 to demonstrate:
- Children will have achieved automaticity in number bonds and times tables - mental arithmetic calculations are performed almost effortlessly.
- Arithmetical fluency is combined with deep understanding of number - pupils can identify root calculations and apply them to related questions.
- Children can articulate their mathematical explanations using precise, subject-specific terminology.
- Procedural variation provides greater interest and engagement in the subject - children relish challenge.
- Pupils are able to make and explain links between different domains of maths.
- Pupils well-developed number sense enables them to identify incorrect or implausible answers - they can question the answers not just answer the questions.
- The introduction of algebra is seen as a natural extension of existing learning rather than a new departure.
You can find our Maths calculation policy here:
A copy of our Maths policy can be accessed here:
National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics
We work with the NCETM (National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics) as part of the primary mastery specialist programme.
Our involvement with this project has been a real success and gives us access to excellent staff training and development opportunities. You can find out more about Mr Simmons’ trip to Shanghai as part of the Department for Education’s England-China Exchange programme here: https://www.southgreenschool.org.uk/Pupils/Mr-Simmons-in-Shanghai/.
We are currently working with two groups of schools to share best practice in teaching for mastery and are constantly picking up great ideas to bring back to South Green to help improve our teaching and learning still further.
Videos for parents
The NCETM produced a range of very high quality lesson videos originally for use during the first national lockdown. They are all still available free of charge and you might want to use them if your child is struggling with a particular piece of homework. The full set of videos can be accessed here: https://www.ncetm.org.uk/in-the-classroom/teaching-maths-through-the-pandemic/primary-video-lessons/.
White Rose (another part of the NCETM) have also produced many short videos and lessons that explain key concepts and ideas. They are organised by year group and topic and can be found here: https://whiterosemaths.com/homelearning/.
Mr Simmons recently hosted a webinar for parents - how to help your child with Maths. You can view a recording of the event securely below:
Keep it positive
Above all else, a positive and supportive approach combined with regular deliberate practice for number bonds and times tables will help ensure your child thrives with maths.