Frequently Asked Questions - for Teachers
The sequence of small steps has been produced by White Rose Maths. White Rose Maths gives permission to schools and teachers to use the small steps in their own teaching in their own schools and classrooms. We kindly ask that any other organisations, companies and individuals who would like to reference our small steps wider kindly seek the relevant permission. Please contact email@example.com for more information.
Although children have worked with numbers to 20 in Early Years there is no expectation that they should be able to formally record them. Some Year 1 children might therefore be recording numerals for the first time. With numbers to 10 forming the basis of our number system, it’s important that children develop a strong sense of number and can confidently use them in different ways, e.g. knowing every number bond to 10.
The National Curriculum states that children in Year 1 should be able to count, read and write numbers to 100 by the end of the year. To make this more accessible the objective has been broken down into more manageable stages. Children cover place value to 10 in Autumn 1, to 20 in Autumn 2, to 50 in spring and to 100 in Summer. This helps ensure that skills are deeply embedded and built up slowly, over time. In other year groups, children are expected to use and apply their number knowledge in other areas of maths and therefore do not specifically need to revisit it as a stand-alone topic.
We believe that number underpins almost every area of mathematics. Without firm foundations in number, children are likely to struggle with other aspects of mathematics, e.g. calculating area in geometry. That is why our SOLs devote so much time to number.
Children with an excellent grasp of number make better mathematicians. Spending longer on mastering key maths topics like number will build a child’s confidence and help secure understanding. This should mean that other topics take less time to teach and learn. Schools already using these schemes have also used other subjects and topic time to teach and consolidate relevant areas of the mathematics curriculum.
Don’t worry too much about the exact timing as the long term overviews are not set in stone, the number of weeks per topic in the SOLs are simply a guide.
One helpful option for consolidation week would be to address any misconceptions identified through the termly assessment gap analysis.
This is not something we offer. We suggest that you use our assessments to highlight a child’s strengths and to reveal the gaps in their knowledge. We’d then advise that you plan future lessons, starters and interventions to fill the gaps and build understanding.
Our assessments are designed to check for strengths and gaps in children’s knowledge. While schools sometimes use target percentages of between 50% and 70%, we have not yet gathered enough data from our own assessments to offer what we believe to be a reliable percentage. However if your school wants to decide on a percentage, we’d suggest combining the assessment with your own day-to-day assessments to identify whether or not a child is at expected.
No. These questions aim to give teachers an insight into different methods they might use to teach the topic and suggestions for varying the questions they ask their pupils. Some schools use these questions within their main lesson input and then model some answers with the children before giving them similar questions to practice with.
As highlighted in our Small Steps guidance, one small step does not equate to one lesson. It is up to you to assess when your class is secure enough to move on to the next step of learning. Sometimes a small step will show three different approaches within the varied fluency, and these could take two or three lessons to cover. You should use the small steps as the order of learning and then use your own knowledge of your class to plan how long to spend on each small step once you’re happy that most of the children are secure.
The three main aims of the National Curriculum are for all children to be fluent, to reason and to problem solve. It’s therefore vital that all children can access all the questions. Some children may require more support at times, but we would still expect them to be exposed to reasoning and problem solving questions. We’ve varied the level of challenge in our reasoning and problem solving questions so that some are accessible to every child while others help to stretch thinking and deepen understanding.
Our small steps aim to give you ideas and support your planning, and you can use the sample questions to inspire new ones of your own. Feel free to use any appropriate images and/or concrete manipulatives that will support learning. You could also create stem sentences with your class to help structure children’s thinking.
Our schemes are protected by copyright so unfortunately we cannot offer editable versions. However, should you want to use the images or questions in your own class you can extract them from the PDFs using the snipping tool.
Varied in their precise form and structure, same day intervention processes are increasingly popular. Some schools find it best to split a lesson into two parts, in which the second part is devoted to unpicking misconceptions and ensuring or deepening understanding of concepts tackled in the first part of the lesson. Other schools work with small groups of struggling learners at other times during the day. The goal is always for children to keep up, rather than catch up.
The White Rose Maths SOLs are designed to give sufficient time for teachers to explore and understand concepts in depth, rather than covering it superficially and then returning several times. However, we appreciate that schools will rightly want to enable children to revisit concepts and ensure number fluency.
The schemes interweave prior content with new concepts. For example, when children look at measurement we recommend that they tackle lots of questions which practise the four operations and fractions. This practice and consolidation helps children to grasp the links between topics and to understand them more deeply.
We also recommend that schools reinforce number fluency throughout the year, perhaps via mental or oral starters, or in additional maths time during the day.
Many schools are now making use of the mastery textbooks favoured by maths exemplars in Singapore and China, and the White Rose Maths schemes have been designed to work alongside these books. We recommend that you follow the textbook order and use our materials for additional support and guidance.
Pearson (in partnership with White Rose Maths) have produced Power Maths, a textbook and workbook series that fits alongside the White Rose Maths Schemes.
Power Maths has recently been approved by the DFE as a one of only two textbooks that fits the NCETM’s textbook criteria. White Rose Maths has been proud to work with Pearson on the series and many schools up and down the country are starting to use Power Maths.
Frequently Asked Questions - for Parents
First of all, it’s important to talk to your child’s teacher to give you a better understanding of the topics they’ve covered, the methods they use and any specifics they need to work on. You could ask for a copy of the maths overview for the year and the school’s Calculation Policy to make sure that you and the school share the same approach. The school website may contain links to useful resources which you can access online. When completing maths tasks at home, talking about how and why you found an answer is just as important as getting the answer right!
We believe that every child can succeed in maths, and one of the most important building blocks for success is a positive mindset. It’s therefore essential to help your child feel positive about maths at home, too. For example, you can talk to your child about the maths they are working on in school and encourage them to show you the methods they’ve learned. There are lots of opportunities to help build this positive mindset, because we use mathematical concepts and procedures many times in our daily lives, often without realising that it’s maths! You could talk about the amount of money you have when you go shopping, how much the items cost and how much you have left after you’ve paid the bill. When baking, encourage your child to read the recipe and measure out the ingredients accurately, and when you’re travelling, discuss location and direction.
For more ideas and guidance, talk to your child’s teacher: they will be very happy to help!
White Rose Maths do not produce resources to sit alongside their schemes. You may want to consider buying a textbook/workbook for your child to use at home. Power Maths (published by Pearson) has been produced to fit alongside the White Rose Maths schemes. You can buy Power Maths textbooks from Amazon.