Mathematics, how it’s taught:

Our aim at Peak School is for all pupils to experience an appropriate, accessible and engaging maths curriculum which enables them to explore a wide range of mathematical concepts. The maths curriculum helps pupils to develop and build upon their knowledge and skills, therefore allowing them to develop a positive identity as a mathematical learner. At Peak School we aim to make maths learning meaningful for our learners, striving for maths mastery development across all pathways. Within these pathways, students develop skills in reasoning and problem solving, which in turn will support them in applying their mathematical knowledge to the wider world and their lives beyond Peak School. 

The Long Term Plans across these pathways are sequential, starting at experiential maths in Leaps and Hills Pathway, more concept-based pre-number learning in Peaks Pathways and leading to more formal maths approaches across the Mountains Pathways.  

Within our maths teaching we embed a Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract (CPA) approach to maths. This is a system of learning in which objects are initially used to build a child’s understanding; this could be with Numicon, base 10, tens frames, real objects etc. All students will start using concrete apparatus in maths blocks. When they are secure with using concrete materials they then move onto using pictorial representations of objects. Finally, if the other two areas are secure, students move onto abstract representations of concepts, including numbers, symbols, word problems etc. so that they can apply their acquired knowledge. At Peak our main emphasis is on the concrete materials and students will always be able to use apparatus to support their learning as needed to ensure that we are continuing to build confidence within maths. 

At Peak School we strive for students to develop their mathematical understanding and to achieve mastery of a number of concepts. In order to achieve maths mastery, taught sessions are designed to enable students to make small steps of progress, building upon their existing knowledge and allowing them to make connections within a concept. Students begin a new concept or topic by accessing fluency activities. They demonstrate their knowledge through the use of resources and practically carrying out activities, often supported by stem sentences and adult led activities. As they gain confidence they should also gain greater levels of independence which allows them to progress to the next step. When concepts are secure, students are then able to apply their knowledge to pictorial representations and eventually the reasoning and problem solving tasks. Staff support students in their maths development by ensuring that concepts are truly grasped before moving on. For example, students need to truly understand numbers to 10 before they are able to calculate with them; they should be able to represent them in a range of ways, recognise them in these formats and be able to show how to make a certain number through careful counting. Although rote counting may have its place within the early number curriculum, it is not a true reflection of a student’s understanding of number.