The context
This community primary school serves 228 children from Early Years up to Year 6. Inspired by her first taste of Bar Modelling at a White Rose Maths training session, the school’s Maths Lead, Kath Phillips, was keen to introduce her colleagues to the new opportunities that mastery techniques such as Bar Modelling could offer every Thorp pupil.

In fact the school had already made a start by buying concrete resources for the whole school. However, Kath knew that without a clear information and understanding of the potential power of these resources, staff would be unlikely to appreciate or deliver the benefits. The school therefore opted to take White Rose Maths’ complete Jigsaw training package, starting in September 2017 with the CPA session.

At the time of writing, Thorp’s entire class staff and Leadership Team have also participated in the Bar Modelling and Mathematical Talk and Questioning sessions. Kath kindly provided the following information on the school’s progress and some reflections on their experience so far.

A cohesive programme
“I knew that Bar Modelling was a really valuable strategy, and I wanted us to explore mastery in greater depth and detail. We needed a continuing, whole-school programme of development so that we could all understand what we were doing, why – and how it could translate into practical classroom teaching.”

Succeeding together
“In a nutshell, the training is working brilliantly! CPA was the ideal place to start: the staff already had access to the resources but didn’t yet know how to apply them. Since attending the CPA session, not only do staff use the resources effectively and creatively, but the children do, too – and they can explain what resources or diagrams will help solve particular problems. It’s interesting that initially, the older children believed that blocks and counters were for the youngest pupils only. Now, they understand how the different resources can work for them and they’re comfortable using and talking about them – it’s fantastic! Bar Modelling has also taken off throughout the school, and the Jigsaw techniques all fit perfectly together. Most importantly, we know that it’s working and we’re really excited at the changes we’re seeing.”

Building for the future
“It’s great to know that the secondary schools we feed into are also using these White Rose Maths programmes. It means that the maths mastery skills the children are learning now will equip them for lasting success when they move on from Thorp.”

White Rose Maths Awards