Posted 9th May 2022
You may have seen the news that our schemes of learning are changing.
That's correct. Our schemes are about to undergo a facelift ahead of the next academic year. Yet before we explain more about the changes and how they will improve maths learning for teachers and pupils globally, we want to reflect on our schemes as they stand today - what they are, why we developed them and how they help thousands of teachers around the world to enjoy teaching maths!
Put simply, our schemes are a method of delivering the maths national curriculum following a teaching for mastery approach.
Teaching for mastery is all about children learning a concept in depth before moving to a new one. By doing so, pupils gain a deep, long-term understanding of each concept which, in turn, helps them grasp more complex topics as they progress through the curriculum step by step.
White Rose Maths has a scheme of learning for the entire maths curriculum from Early Years to Key Stage 4. And the best part? They are a completely free-of-charge resource available at the White Rose Maths website – ready for anyone to download from anywhere!
In 2014, the Government revised its national curriculum to accommodate teaching for mastery. By looking to higher performing jurisdictions such as China and Singapore, the DFE felt the three key aims of fluency, reasoning and problem solving could be better achieved by following a teaching for mastery approach, instead of a more spiral approach (dipping in and out of a concept without mastering it) that many schools were following at the time.
While we agreed that teaching for mastery would apply itself well to maths learning, there were no planning resources to help schools follow this approach. It was time to create an example teaching for mastery curriculum progression that would support teachers to understand what concept to teach and at what stage during the academic year. In 2015, the first scheme of learning was born!
By 2017, the White Rose Maths schemes of learning were being used widely across UK primary schools, with clear guidance about what maths to teach to each age group, and what approaches to use. In particular, our guidance modelled the Concrete – Pictorial – Abstract approach to support children’s understanding which had a huge impact on learning. But despite their success, there was still more work to do.
After looking at how other curricula globally were achieving success with mastery approaches, we could see that each maths concept needed breaking down further into a series of detailed small steps that provided a coherent pathway through the national curriculum.
In the second version, our team of experts introduced our ‘small steps’, designed to ensure children mastered each maths concept in full by progressing with smaller tasks that were easier and clearer to understand and the learning deeply embedded.
For example, the national curriculum suggests that place value is a concept children learn in Year 1. While a school might take a broad approach to teaching place value to within 20 during the Autumn term, our scheme of learning breaks the process down by dividing the concept into 15 small steps, providing deeper clarity to the pupil about how they understand and make progress in the concept.
Alongside these small steps, we provided notes and guidance for teachers, examples of fluency, reasoning and problem-solving questions.
During the pandemic and schools across the UK were forced to close, many children missed out on critical maths learning.
Gaps became apparent, and our team wanted to quickly address these issues within our schemes to help pupils overcome them, learning what was missed and preparing themselves for their standard curriculum concepts.
For example, pupils begin to learn fractions during the Spring term of Year 2. By introducing "recap steps" within the Year 3 schemes, children who had missed this learning in 2020 due to lockdown now had the opportunity to catch up on the Y2 content.
In the same way, we looked at the critical skills missed in each year group and, later that same year, released an updated version of each scheme to ensure any concepts missed had coverage.
Over 80 percent of schools in England are using the White Rose Maths schemes of learning in some way. While many use these incredible resources in their complete form, others dip in and out of the content as required – where their own sequence or schemes need enhancing.
And why are they so well-loved across the UK and beyond? We think it boils down to the following reasons:
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be explaining what to expect in version three, which will be available to view later this term ahead of the academic year beginning in September.
The great news is, all schemes will be updated, with our current schemes also staying available for schools who prefer to continue using this version. So, no need for panic – only excitement at what’s to come in the new version!
Please continue to follow our social media feeds and web news articles for more information. You can also sign up for our emails to stay updated on all White Rose Maths developments.