One Year On – Our Secondary Curriculum and links to the new OfSTED framework
We’re really pleased with feedback received on the new secondary maths curriculum that we’ve been releasing over this academic year. We asked teachers what they like about the White Rose Maths secondary scheme and here are some of their comments:

“The interleaving and constant reinforcement of prior topics. Different ways to think about the topics.”

“Clear sequencing with high expectations.”

“Small steps accessible to all prior attainment and follows well from Year 6 scheme. Especially like sequences and algebra start point in Year 7 and use of calculators.”

“Use of visual representations which continue to build on Key Stage 2 work. Small steps coverage enables pupils to gain an in depth understanding and really master the topics”.

Whilst we’re delighted that the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, colleagues have also made some suggestions to help make our schemes even better. And we have of course listened… that’s why we asked! Here’s a summary of the changes we’ve made to the Year 7 Scheme and supporting material.

What’s new in Year 7?
Timing
The scheme was always intended to flexible in terms of time spent on each unit, but we’ve made that clearer by showing dotted lines between the blocks and changing some of the time allocations:

We’ve also made two little changes to time allocations:

• Sequences has been increased from 1 week to 2 weeks as the first week of Year 7 can be disrupted and it takes time for our new students to get used to new routines. We’ve gained a week back from the following notation block, as this is revisited regularly throughout the year.
• Fractions and percentages of amounts is so key that we’ve removed its steps from the four-week multiplication and division block and given it a week of its own.

Support for Lower Attainers
We believe our scheme is suitable for all students, but some colleagues have been concerned about the amount of content for students at the lower end of the attainment range. We’re going to be providing some additional guidance for every single step in our Core strand as to how to support leaners to access the learning. Here are just a few examples:

More practice questions
Whilst our exemplar questions do include all of fluency, reasoning and problem solving, some colleagues have found it difficult to find high quality materials to support the small steps. As part of our premium resources packages, we are now offering a worksheet to match every step in Year 7 and 8 …and what’s more you’ll get the Year 5 and 6 worksheets free in order to demonstrate progression and again provide support for lower attainers.

Year 8
As you will have seen, we have started to release the scheme for Year 8, so colleagues can start planning for September. In the same way as we released Year 7 this year, we will be releasing the Year 8 material roughly half a term in advance of teaching. There will be mini assessments for each block, the exemplar questions from our small steps in PowerPoint form and interactive whiteboard files to support teaching.

Year 10
Several colleagues have asked us how our scheme will look in Key Stage 4. To demonstrate this, we have decide to release the Year 10 scheme at the same time as Year 8. From the material already released, you can see we will be including “review steps” – steps that revisit content met in earlier years that can be studied quickly or in depth as suitable to classes’ needs. You will see these later in Year 8 and in the other years to come. It is important to realise that we see the scheme as a five-year journey rather than just discrete years and key stages.

Post 16 GCSE resit
Also being released during 2019/20 (with the first units already available) is our one-year GCSE Scheme of Learning for post-16 students who have already met GCSE content. The focus is on key topics and models and representations to help these students make links across the curriculum.

Years 9 and 11
To be released in 2020/21! Then we can start thinking about A level… watch this space!

What would OfSTED think of our school using the WRM SoL?
We didn’t write our SoL with OfSTED in mind, but we were delighted with the messages in the new inspection framework and how closely their expectations matched our thinking! Curriculum is a key feature of the new framework and here’s just a few quotes together with some examples of how our Scheme of Learning meets the criteria:

Intent
“Leaders take on or construct a curriculum that is ambitious and designed to give all learners, particularly the most disadvantaged and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) or high needs, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life”.

• #MathsEveryoneCan is our motto and our Scheme of Learning is designed for all students.
We are developing guidance for lower attainers (see above).

“The provider’s curriculum is coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment”.

• The WRM is cumulative, building on knowledge from KS2 and deepening mathematical knowledge year on year.
• We also lay the ground for future learning, developing the depth of knowledge for KS5 and skills for employment.

Implementation
Teachers have good knowledge of the subject(s) and courses they teach. Leaders provide effective support for those teaching outside their main areas of expertise.

• Notes and guidance for every single small step will support leaders within the department to work with non-specialist teachers of mathematics to develop their vocabulary and their pedagogy, in particular highlighting potential misconceptions and how to address them.

Teachers present subject matter clearly, promoting appropriate discussion about the subject matter they are teaching. They check learners’ understanding systematically, identify misconceptions accurately and provide clear, direct feedback.

• Many of our exemplar tasks are designed to promote discussion and/or face and respond to potential misconceptions head on.

Over the course of study, teaching is designed to help learners to remember in the long term the content they have been taught and to integrate new knowledge into larger concepts.

• Interleaving is another key feature of our scheme. Topics are not taught in isolation, but regularly revisited within other context to aid memory and secure understanding.

Teachers and leaders use assessment well, for example to help learners embed and use knowledge fluently or to check understanding and inform teaching.

• Our exemplar questions, mini assessments for each block and termly assessments provide clear opportunities to assess understanding.

Teachers create an environment that allows the learner to focus on learning. The resources and materials that teachers select – in a way that does not create unnecessary workload for staff – reflect the provider’s ambitious intentions for the course of study and clearly support the intent of a coherently planned curriculum, sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment.

• We provide, in one place, many of the resources needed to effectively deliver the mathematics curriculum throughout the secondary phase. In addition, we focus on mathematics skills that matter in the future – for example, looking at bills and bank balances as early as Year 7, and keeping financial mathematics at the heart of work on topics such as percentages.

We are confident that what we offer provides teachers with an excellent base for teaching mathematics for deep understanding using a mastery approach. We’re already acting on your feedback and will continue to do so – please let us know your thoughts about these latest developments!

If you were to ask anyone in the White Rose Maths team what the most common request from teachers has been over the past few years, there is no doubt they would reply with the following question:

‘When are you releasing something for Reception?’

Drawing together a team of EYFS specialists and teachers, we are really excited to release our brand new Reception Schemes which we hope will support EYFS practitioners within their own settings.

In this blog, we will look at the key points from the schemes and some key ideas that you should keep in mind when using them.

Key points from the schemes
Taking the end of year Early Learning Goals into account, we have created a progression to support teachers in building up the key small steps in learning throughout the year. When working with EYFS teachers, our team found that teachers wanted clearer guidance in what they needed to cover within the year. Our progression helps support the coverage whilst still providing flexibility with how long you spend on different topics depending on your classes’ needs.

The progression is then broken down into small steps which give more detailed guidance on how to approach adult-led teaching of concepts, and how to enhance your provision areas to support teaching. Within the small steps, we have focused on key questions to support all adults within the setting to unpick children’s understanding and to enable them to move forward with their learning. The suggestions for learning could be used for short adult-led inputs or group activities with the children.

When we first released our draft Reception documents, we asked for feedback on what would make the schemes even more useful. The biggest thing that teachers asked for was advice on how to dig deeper into concepts and to extend children’s learning. We have of course acted on your feedback! Now, each of our blocks of learning contain a ‘Digging Deeper’ page with ideas of activities that will challenge children further and deepen their understanding.

Throughout the schemes, we highlight links to other materials that will support teachers further. These include web sites, books, songs and further activities to help provide a well-rounded curriculum. We will also be releasing IWB resources and printable resources to support classroom activities. We hope this will help save teachers valuable time when planning from the schemes.

Key ideas to keep in mind
‘All children can be successful with mathematics, provided that they have opportunities to explore mathematical ideas in ways that make personal sense to them and opportunities to develop mathematical concepts and understanding. Children need to know that practitioners are interested in their thinking, respect their ideas, are sensitive to their feelings and value their contributions.’
DCSF (2008)

The importance of play
As can be seen in our schemes, we provide suggestions of how to enhance provision areas to support play. However, the most vital aspect of children’s play is for them to follow their own interests and for EYFS practitioners to use this as a starting point to develop their thinking. Teaching should be responsive to children’s needs. EYFS practitioners need to feel confident to take their children’s interests and build mathematical opportunities into them. We hope that the questions we provide for our adult-led activities give teachers an insight into the questions that will support in moving children forward in their thinking throughout their play.

The size of the numbers
Looking at the progression overview in our schemes, teachers may worry about only looking at numbers to 5 in Autumn, numbers to 10 in Spring and numbers to 20 in Summer. This is not the case. In Autumn, the small steps focus on numbers to 5 but it is important that children use and experiment larger numbers as well. Large numbers excite small children as they have an air of mystery about them. They see larger numbers all around them in everyday life and this can be brought into the classroom through the numbers used in displays and role-play situations that mirror real life. Although the WRM Reception schemes focus on deepening understanding and build the number sense of smaller numbers, children should also have the opportunity to discuss and experiment with larger numbers so they understand them in context without yet having to understand their composition.

Shape, Space and Measure
Although there is a large weighting towards number in the Reception progression, it is still vital that children are given the opportunity to develop their understanding of shape, space and measure (SSM). This is evident in the schemes through interleaving content into other areas of learning. Understanding SSM is essential for making sense of the world. Teachers should create environments that allow children to experiment with SSM in child-led play as well as through the suggested activities in other blocks of learning from the schemes.

Getting the balance right
‘Direct teaching may be necessary, but effective early mathematics teaching strategies are playful, not formal, so that all children become cheerful, not fearful mathematicians.’
Gifford, S. (2018)

The WRM Reception Schemes have been designed to give teachers support in delivering short adult-led sessions, group activities and games that support the development of early number strategies. Alongside this, it is vital that children are given opportunities to follow their own interests through play, supported by EYFS practitioners with a good understanding of how to move children forward in their learning and foster a lifelong love of maths.