Ormskirk Church of England Primary School

Summary of school

Ormskirk Church of England Primary School is a large two-form-entry primary school in the heart of a busy market town. We are a friendly and forward-thinking school that gives our children learning experiences that ‘Inspire, allow them to Aim High, Achieve well and Shine’ in all aspects of the curriculum. In Autumn 2017, through consultation with all staff, the decision was made to begin to implement a teaching for mastery approach to the teaching of mathematics, with the aim of raising standards in mathematics above national average, and to improve pupil attitudes towards the subject. This led to the purchase of a high-quality textbook as the basis of our mathematics curriculum. However, we were aware that using a textbook alone would not improve the teaching of mathematics across the school.

When and how we got involved with the Maths Hub

 

In Autumn 2018, in a bid to gain support with the implementation of a teaching for mastery approach to teaching mathematics, the school joined a Teaching for Mastery Development Work Group with our local Maths Hub, Abacus NW. This Work Group involved the mathematics subject lead and a Year 1 teacher taking part in six teacher research groups across the course of the year, led by a Primary Mastery Specialist. The Work Group was instrumental in allowing colleagues to collaborate with one another and with colleagues across other schools to develop teaching for mastery in their own classrooms.

Our journey with the hub and where we are now

Since initial participation, the school’s involvement with the Maths Hub has expanded exponentially and we have participated in a range of Work Groups including: Embedding Teaching for Mastery, Sustaining Teaching for Mastery, Building Firm Mathematical Foundations in Reception, Supporting Primary NQTs, Specialist Knowledge for Teaching Maths: Primary NQT/RQTs and Specialist Subject Knowledge for Teaching Maths: Teaching Assistant. Additionally, we also have two members of staff who support Abacus NW Maths Hub in developing teaching for mastery in other schools.

Simon Boyd, Maths Lead

“Involvement with the Maths Hub has had a significant impact on my own personal and professional development. It has afforded me the opportunities to collaborate with colleagues in my own school and across other schools, developed my knowledge of The Five Big Ideas of teaching for mastery, re-affirmed and at times challenged my views on primary mathematics, and developed my confidence in managing change. My early involvement with the hub has now led to my own journey as a Local Leader of Mathematics Education (LLME), leading Work Groups for the Maths Hub, and providing me with the opportunity to support other schools who are embarking on their own teaching for mastery journey. I can recommend joining the Maths Hubs teaching for mastery programmes as this will have a huge impact on your capacity to lead mathematics well, and will support you in making sustainable changes to your practice and the practice of others.

What was it about the work with the hub that was beneficial and why?​

As a school, the most significant benefit of involvement with the hub was the ability to collaborate with colleagues in school and across other schools. This collaboration has afforded staff the opportunity to think deeply about the teaching of primary mathematics, and reflect on how to further develop their practice and subsequently improve outcomes for the children. Additionally, the model of lesson study is something which the school has taken forward and has used to develop mathematical pedagogy.

"Leaders have changed the approach to teaching mathematics. The changes are popular with staff and pupils typically say mathematics is now their ‘favourite subject after swimming’. Pupils are making stronger progress in mathematics than they have previously. They enjoy solving problems using their mathematical knowledge and skills." - Ofsted, 2020

Impact on leadership

 

The work with the Maths Hub has had a significant impact on the leadership of mathematics across the school. It provided the mathematics subject lead with a support network of colleagues with whom he could collaborate to discuss systems and school developments and allowed him to gain mutually beneficial insight to other schools. Additionally, the Work Groups have allowed the mathematics subject lead to gain a deep understanding of The Five Big Ideas of Teaching for Mastery and supported him in sharing them widely with other colleagues in school.

Impact on teaching

Working with the Maths Hub has transformed the teaching of mathematics across the school. Despite using a high-quality textbook as a basis of our curriculum, working with the Hub has given teachers the opportunity to think deeply about the principles of teaching for mastery. We have developed our mathematical subject knowledge and mathematical pedagogical knowledge, which has improved teaching. The use of a high-quality textbook has added greater coherence to our curriculum, and allowed teachers to spend more time thinking deeply about the mathematics they are teaching rather than planning “activities". Finally, by exploring the NCETM Professional Development Materials, staff have been able to effectively plan lessons when the step in the textbook is too large for the children to take. None of this would have been possible without the involvement and support of the hub.

Impact on learning

In Autumn 2017, pupil questionnaires reported that mathematics was one of the subjects children least enjoyed, and results for many years at the school had been average, or even slightly below average, for the percentage of children achieving Greater Depth. Assessments through all age groups as of 2019 are now above average for Expected and Greater Depth. In terms of pupil questionnaires, children now report that mathematics is their second favourite subject, which shows a significant shift in attitudes towards mathematics learning. In lessons, children now confidently discuss mathematics using precise mathematical vocabulary, and they are becoming more flexible in their thinking when solving problems.

"Teaching for mastery is being developed across the school and there is an ongoing commitment from the leadership team to ensure that this becomes fully embedded. The school leaders are fully engaged in the Maths Hub’s Embedding Teaching for Mastery Work Group and the continuous professional development of staff - recognising that embedding teaching for mastery will take time. There is a real buzz about maths in the school, a sense of enthusiasm for the subject, and a ‘can do’ attitude." - Maths Hubs Peer Review 2020

Giles Storch, Headteacher

"It is quite staggering how the perception of, pupil attitude to, and enjoyment in maths has been turned on its head over the last few years. Being part of the Maths Hub gave the subject lead the resources, validation and status that what he was trying to introduce was well researched and nationally a success. In the year of the pandemic it still kept maths right up there as a priority, supporting us with high quality CPD at a time when other curriculum development stagnated.