As maths teachers at Monmouth School Girls’ Prep, we aim to provide girls with lifelong skills for maths in the real world. We promote enjoyment and enthusiasm for Mathematics through practical activity, exploration and discussion. We feel that confidence and competence with numbers and the number system is an essential skill that our girls need for life’s journey. At the same time, we make it a priority to prepare the girls with the knowledge and skills to confidently approach the entrance assessment for our senior school.
Girls are taught new mathematical concepts in fun and exciting environments. A variety of teaching styles and excellent use of resources ensures that the needs of all our girls are met with lively and challenging Maths sessions. We recognise the importance of mathematical skills across the curriculum and provide the girls with stimulating and practical opportunities to apply and consolidate their skills in all areas of the curriculum. Whether we are weighing ingredients for a favourite recipe, interpreting data on a graph, or costing an outing for friends, we encourage our girls to recognise that maths is all around us. We want our girls to acquire ability in all areas of Maths, a valuable and essential skill that they will carry with them to the challenges and opportunities of the senior school, where they will continue to build on their sound basis and competence.
In Year 3, we develop confidence and precision, using and applying number to become increasingly fluent with place value, whole numbers and the four operations.
A variety of methods are taught to enable pupils to manipulate numbers, using both mental and written calculations. We place great importance on memorising and establishing quick recall of multiplication tables. We spend time looking for patterns and making links, building on the knowledge acquired during Key Stage One. We also study topics such as statistics, geometry and measurement with practical work used to enhance and develop skills and knowledge wherever appropriate. Mathematical skills are extended through problem solving and reasoning is encouraged across all topics.
An importance is placed on the reading and spelling of mathematical vocabulary and accurate use of mathematical language is taught and encouraged.
In Maths we develop in the girls’ confidence so that they are happy being challenged and stretched with new concepts. The Year 4 curriculum builds upon the strong foundations built in Year 3, consolidating the base skills and developing their abilities further in each area.
There is a strong focus on the learning of times tables in Year 4 and we seek to embed the girls’ knowledge into all areas of the curriculum. There is a three-week cycle of times tables practice, both at home and at school, culminating in a test to assess their learning.
In addition, there is a big drive on developing the girls’ mental mathematical skills. To this end, the girls enjoy weekly mental mathematics activities within the class room, tailored to their individual level. The girls are given a mental mathematics homework and a unit focused homework each week.
In Year 5 we continue to build on the knowledge, understanding and application of mathematical concepts from Years 3 and 4, while aiming to develop confident, independent young mathematicians.
Pupils are grouped by ability to ensure that each learner receives the correct balance of support and challenge. Over the course of the year, pupils continue to develop appropriate written and mental strategies, which are applied to work on the four operations. Focused work on other aspects of number allow for increased understanding and application of place value, fractions, decimals and percentages. Geometry and measurement topics allow the pupils to develop a broader understanding of shape, space and units of measurement, while providing more practical and ‘hands on’ activities. Reasoning and problem solving is embedded into all units of Maths in Year 5.
Mental maths and recall of times tables still plays an important part of the Year 5 Maths curriculum, with weekly activities and individualised resources provided to enhance mental agility and appropriate skills.
In Year 6, the final year of our Preparatory Department, we aim to build confidence and become independent thinkers and workers.
Pupils are split into ability sets ensuring that each girl works at an appropriate level for progression and challenge. Our curriculum follows the same topics covered in Year 5 but at a more advanced level. Greater emphasis is placed on the application of skills and knowledge and solving multi-step problems. We continue to develop our multiplication tables, number bonds and mental arithmetic strategies as these are essential to our learning. We work individually, in pairs or in groups, depending on the task set. We prepare the girls to sit their Entrance Assessment into senior school, encourage participation in the annual Primary Mathematics Challenge.