Education leaders visit Slade Primary School – a model of maths excellence

Deputy headteachers from across Erdington visited Slade Primary School this month to learn more about how the academy has developed its progressive Maths curriculum

The school is working closely with the Central Maths Hubs and the NCETM (National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching) to develop the ‘mastery’ approach and share this with other schools across Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry, Warwickshire and North Worcestershire.

Slade, which is part of the respected Arthur Terry Learning Partnership (ATLP), is extremely fortunate to have Clare Williams as its Maths leader. She has many years’ experience of leading Maths and is one of only four teachers in the Central area to be undertaking training to become a Primary Mathematics Teaching for Mastery Specialist.

Under Clare’s expert guidance, Slade has completely revolutionised its Maths Curriculum. From Clare’s perspective:

We want our children to have the very best education here at Slade. We know that by raising children’s attainment in maths we are giving them the skills they need to compete in the world.  Our approach to maths at Slade enables all children to succeed at maths and develop a deep understanding of the subject.”

The learning and thought behind mastery comes from the Shanghai approach. Shanghai is world renowned for their teaching and student ability in Maths as well as in World ranking tests. It is recognised by the Department for Education to be the leading approach to improving Maths teaching across England.

The main emphasis of the Shanghai approach is that teaching starts from the belief that all children can succeed in mathematics and how the curriculum and classroom are organised reflects this belief. Slade have fully embraced this ethos and it is clear that both staff and pupils alike are enjoying the challenge and opportunity this is bringing “Our new maths lessons help us to understand more, before we were given the explanation and method to do maths but didn’t always understand it and couldn’t remember it. By using the textbooks, equipment, problem solving at the start of the lesson  and taking things a bit slower, we are understanding our work and enjoying maths everyday! ” Khadija , year 6.

The school has a Maths team who lead the development of Maths across the school. This includes Sophie Evans who joined Slade as an NQT in 2015. Sophie is an excellent teacher of Maths and is supporting staff within school alongside Clare. She said:

Maths at Slade has revolutionised, the children are all talking about maths, which is great! It has enabled all of our children to succeed and ‘master’ their learning. I am very fortunate to be part of a team that has such a clear vision and passion.”

Headteacher Helen Hastilow is extremely proud of how the school is developing this approach. She said:

We recognise the importance of all of our children being fluent and able mathematicians. We are extremely fortunate to have Clare leading our Maths team and developing not only teachers at Slade, but also teachers across the Central Maths Hubs to ensure children achieve their full potential”

The Shanghai approach to Maths is recognised nationally as good practice and Nick Gibb, Schools Minister has provided £41 million to developing this in schools over the next four years.