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Maths Mastery Matters

The maths department at Ipswich Academy takes a mastery approach to learning, ensuring our students revisit the same core areas throughout their schooling, so they achieve a level of knowledge which gives them greater capabilities in the subject.

A girl working in a maths book

Lyndsay Collin is one of our mathematics teachers and is also Paradigm Trust’s NCETM (National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics) maths hub specialist. 

“With the Maths Mastery system, depth of knowledge is far more important than breadth,” she says. “By using a consistent approach to teaching the subject in the Trust, from early years at the primary schools through to KS4 and their exams, children moving through the school can grasp the fundamentals and build on them, every time they revisit.“

Having a strong foundation in maths gives a student a good advantage when they come to the more advanced topics at secondary school. This is why Paradigm Trust places a particular emphasis on learning the language of maths. From their very first years at primary school, we build pupils’ mathematics vocabulary to increase their confidence in the use of terms such as coefficient, highest common factor and lowest common denominator. This helps pupils have  better conversations around the subject and makes answering examination questions easier when they reach their GCSE studies.

“There is a real ‘talk for learning’ ethos across the curriculum, so our maths lessons involve a lot of conversation in the classroom.” Lyndsay continues. “A key technique to encourage this at Ipswich Academy is the Agree, Build, Challenge (ABC) model which teachers use to coax enhanced discussion and thinking. For ‘Agree’, we give students two answers and they have to say which they agree with, then explain their rationale to justify their answer. ‘Build’ requires the teacher to ask a student to build upon another student’s answer, elaborating or giving new information. ‘Challenge’ involves us asking a student whether they would like to challenge each other’s answers and opinions in a positive and constructive way.” 

The most recent progress 8 score at Ipswich Academy was a strong +0.29 and Key Stage 3 attainment is above the national average. The number of students achieving between level 4 and level 9 at Key Stage 4 is also increasing. Across the five primaries 71% are attaining level 4+ and 53.7% are working at 5+. Everything the Trust does is evidence based, and these outcomes are solid proof that the approach we are taking with maths is delivering great results for our pupils.

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