Six recommendations for improving social and emotional learning in primary schools
Eight recommendations to improve outcomes in maths for 7-14 year olds
This guidance report focuses on the teaching of mathematics to pupils in Key Stages 2 and 3.
It is not intended to provide a comprehensive guide to mathematics teaching. We have made recommendations where there are research findings that schools can use to make a significant difference to pupils’ learning, and have focused on the questions that appear to be most salient to practitioners. There are aspects of mathematics teaching not covered by this guidance. In these situations, teachers must draw on their knowledge of mathematics, professional experience and judgement, and assessment of their pupils’ knowledge and understanding.
The focus is on improving the quality of teaching. Excellent maths teaching requires good content knowledge, but this is not sufficient. Excellent teachers also know the ways in which pupils learn mathematics and the difficulties they are likely to encounter, and how mathematics can be most effectively taught.
This guidance is aimed primarily at subject leaders, headteachers, and other staff with responsibility for leading improvements in mathematics teaching in primary and secondary schools. Classroom teachers and teaching assistants will also find this guidance useful as a resource to aid their day-to-day teaching.
Assessment should be used not only to track pupils’ learning but also to provide teachers with information about what pupils do and do not know.
This should inform the planning of future lessons and the focus of targeted support.
Effective feedback will be an important element of teachers’ response to assessment.
Feedback should be specific and clear, encourage and support further effort, and be given sparingly.
Teachers not only have to address misconceptions but also understand why pupils may persist with errors.
Knowledge of common misconceptions can be invaluable in planning lessons to address errors before they arise.
Manipulatives (physical objects used to teach maths) and representations (such as number lines and graphs) can help pupils engage with mathematical ideas.
However, manipulatives and representations are just tools: how they are used is essential.
They need to be used purposefully and appropriately to have an impact.
There must be a clear rationale for using a particular manipulative or representation to teach a specific mathematical concept.
Manipulatives should be temporary; they should act as a ‘scaffold’ that can be removed once independence is achieved.
If pupils lack a well-rehearsed and readily available method to solve a problem they need to draw on problem-solving strategies to make sense of the unfamiliar situation.
There is a large dip in mathematical attainment and attitudes towards maths as children move from primary to secondary school.