Posted 25th May 2021
After an extremely challenging couple of years, schools are now thinking ahead to how to best provide for their students in what will hopefully be the post-pandemic world in September 2021. This blog looks at why continuing with, or adopting, the White Rose secondary Schemes of Learning will help all students to achieve and succeed in maths in line with our motto #MathsEveryoneCan.
It’s a fresh start for everybody
Rather than the traditional approach of starting with Number, our Year 7 schemes open with Algebraic Thinking, giving students the opportunity to look at something new and exciting without the fear of failure that some will have associated with difficult arithmetic. We encourage the use of calculators to explore sequences and patterns allowing students to be creative, think flexibly and develop their mathematical thinking. Teachers who have used our schemes over the last three years find that students are engaged from the start and have noticed a huge improvement in the quality of mathematical discussion.
Based on extensive research and years of classroom practice, our schemes are written by practising teachers, for teachers. They use a concrete-pictorial-abstract approach to support students to understand the maths they are learning and to be able to use it elsewhere. The “small step” approach means nothing is left to chance – all curriculum objectives are broken down into accessible parts that build on each other so that the learning journey is complete. Example questions are provided together with notes and guidance, key questions and key vocabulary for teaching each step; teachers and students are both supported.
Our schemes of learning cover all of the KS3 National Curriculum by the end of Year 9, and all of GCSE by the end of Year 11. We're acutely aware that some students may be entering secondary school in September having missed a significant amount of learning in 2020 and 2021. Our schemes take into account the overlap between KS2 and KS3 providing teachers with ample opportunity to revise and build on every aspect of the curriculum, including the fundamental building blocks of mathematics such as Place Value and the Four Operations.
Our example questions support the development of reasoning and problem solving as well as fluency so that all the aims of the National Curriculum are met. The schemes are structured to maximise opportunities to interleave learning so students revisit key topics in different areas of the curriculum, supporting retention and deepening understanding. The programmes of study for each year combine together to a five-year journey from the end of KS2 to preparation for KS5.
Our schemes support one curriculum that works for all. All students study the same area of mathematics at the same time, with teachers using their day-to-day assessment to decide the depth of coverage for each topic. In the early years of Key Stage 3, Higher steps can be used to provide challenge or omitted until later in the Key Stage if appropriate, and schools have successfully implemented our schemes in both setted and mixed attainment situations. From Year 10 the Higher steps represent Higher tier GCSE content and teachers can again choose which of these steps to include depending on their learners’ needs.
We also provide additional guidance to support lower attainers for each small step in KS3, and next year we plan to provide more suggestions to stretch higher attainers. We also plan to provide extra material for students with SEND in the future.
As our schemes build students’ learning year-on-year you can use steps from the previous year’s scheme to plug any gaps in knowledge the students may have as a result of lost learning. If needed you can go back two or even three years (accessing our primary materials) to provide support for those who need it, safe in the knowledge that the same approach is used consistently and every small step in their learning journey is catered for. The Home Learning materials produced over the last year will be still be available for you to use in class, with small groups or with individuals to help.
Our schemes are adaptable
In line with our mastery approach to the teaching and learning of mathematics, our schemes are split into blocks that allow plenty of time for thorough study of every topic. Teachers of course know their students and the experiences they have had best. We encourage teachers to use this knowledge to make the schemes work for them, adding extra time where necessary for topics that need most attention and adapting other learning accordingly.
We always continue to learn and to improve. We have started a thorough review of our schemes in the light of the events of the last two years and will be releasing an updated version from September 2023. We do not anticipate any significant changes in structure, and the content will of course remain that of the National Curriculum. We will, however, act on the feedback from teachers to modify and adapt some of our small steps to continue to improve students’ learning.
Everything you need to support your students can be found all in one place:
All of these are provided completely free of charge. In addition, we offer low-cost Premium Resources that include
Our KS3 schemes are also complemented by a series of three textbooks, together with ‘Behind the Questions’ teacher’s guides that illustrate the approach and provide more student practice and pedagogical support for teachers.
We also offer training – online “do it yourself” training and webinars are available and soon face-to-face training will return too. Everything you need can be found on our website without having to look for alternative provision. “Think maths, think White Rose Maths!”
What if schools close have to close again?
We of course hope this will not be the case, but if schools do have to close again then all the materials we have produced for the previous school closures will continue to be available. We would also look again at how we can develop our Home Learning offer and continue to support teachers and students however we can.
For more information on the implementation of the White Rose Maths schemes in 2021/2, as well as a look forward to what new material we will be releasing over the course of next year, book your spot on our free Preparing for September webinar.