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New curriculum - Maths

(54 Posts)
SockPinchingMonster Wed 16-Sep-15 09:33:57

I have twins who have just gone into year 3 so last year they were still working on the old curriculum (as all year 2's were). Both are pretty good at maths and achieved 3A's at the end of the year, they had been going up to work with the year 3 teacher to stretch them a bit and they were really enjoying maths.
However, this year they are working on the new curriculum and so far they have been completely bored in their maths lesson. I wonder if anyone with any knowledge of how the new curriculum works could tell me whether it's normal for the entire class to have to start off by doing tasks that are very basic and they have been confident in since year 1 ( basic ordering numbers up to 10, basic partitioning of 2 digit number etc). They seem to have different bands of tasks; bronze, silver, gold and platinum which get progressively harder and everyone has to go through every task even if the work is way too easy. I don't have a problem with this system in itself but even the platinum level work still seems basic ( so yesterday was order numbers up to a thousand ).
They are really not enjoying it but we've been led to believe that under the new curriculum they won't be given any harder work from the year above for example so what do I do if I have children who are bored and are not being challenged.
So sorry for waffling - just wondered if anyone had the same problem, or if any teachers can clarify that this is how the system is now and we just have to accept that. I don't want to go harassing the teacher about it, she's a NQT so I don't want her feeling that I'm questioning how she does her job - or should I be expecting a bit more from the school and what would be the nicest way to raise it ( without sounding like I'm criticising the school ). Thanks in advance.

OP’s posts: |
PiqueABoo Wed 16-Sep-15 11:15:47

I suspect many primary parents will ultimately have to grit their teeth and live with this scenario. It is definitely worth reading this to understand what is going on and that yes, there are some glaring problems around high-attainers that have been conveniently ignored:

giftedphoenix.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/a-digression-on-breadth-depth-pace-and-mastery/

Cloud2 Wed 16-Sep-15 12:26:08

I don't know what DS2 is doing at school for math at the moment, he is in Y3. But he did mention he and a few other kids are giving harder things to do, most of the time he can do it independently, but sometimes he need a bit help. He seems quite happy with the school.

Maybe OP can talk to the teacher, just say DC feel a bit bored, would it be possible to do some extra interesting math problems once they finished their basic works. It doesn't need to be the stuff in the year above, but some more challenged questions based on the current Curriculum. There are must be these sorts of things on the internet, OP maybe can find some yourself and provice it to the teacher.

I think different teacher would do things differently, even there are same rules. DS1's Y3-4 teacher was a NQT, he was so good, he tried lots of things to get his brighter students to get a bit more chanllenge. DS1 loved him. His Y7 math teacher don't even allow him to answer questions on the class, to save opportunities for other students, as he think DS1 and a few other studends know it too well. DS1 said he can just fall into sleep in math class.

lljkk Wed 16-Sep-15 12:50:18

hmmm, my DS also just started yr3 & hasn't even brought homework home yet. I will ask him about what they are doing maths.

Ellle Wed 16-Sep-15 14:15:01

I don't think that's true.

DS was given work from Y2 and Y3 last year when he was in Y1 under the new curriculum.

And now that he is in Y2, his new teacher (that knew him from last year because she taught him on occasion when he was doing Y2 work), is giving him work from Y3-Y4 that is right at his level -not too easy, not too difficult.

DS is happy, has never said he is bored at school. From what he tells me, I gather they are really good at differentiation at his school because he has maths with his own year group, and works in the same topic, but at a higher level.

SockPinchingMonster Wed 16-Sep-15 15:05:01

Thanks everyone for your replies.

Pique - Thanks for linking to that article, I've had a quick skim read and it looks quite interesting but I will have a proper read of it later.

Ellle - I wish that was the case at our school. However the headteacher had a meeting at the end of the summer term to talk about the new curriculum and he said that it is worded that children should not be working above their year group so that was what the school were going to follow.

I really don't mind my DT's being given the same topic but with a bit of differentiation, I think they should be encouraged to learn things in more depth as opposed to always going into new topics. However last week the class did a topic that my 2 were confident with - quite a few children in class struggled with the work so the teacher told my 2 they were only allowed to complete bronze and silver tasks as too many children didn't understand and they would have to come back to it another day. Both children said they finished the tasks quickly and then just sat and waited because they weren't allowed to move on. That worries me to be honest but I don't want to go marching into the school and become 'that parent' so I'm at a bit of a loss how to tackle this ( or whether to accept it and do more interesting maths with them at home ).

OP’s posts: |
yeOldeTrout Wed 16-Sep-15 16:07:48

yr3 DS just got homework, which is learning timetables and if confident with those, they should practice division facts (35/5 etc). Same tasks that older DS was doing 8 yrs ago when he was in yr3.

The English homework is very similar but maybe slightly easier than what DS1 did 8 yrs ago.

mrz Wed 16-Sep-15 17:23:24

It is up to the school/teacher how they teach and at what point they teach each aspect of the programme of study.

temporarilyjerry Wed 16-Sep-15 17:39:15

The bronze, silver, gold, platinum system would surely only be seen as good practice if children were able to choose (or be guided towards) task with an appropriate level of challenge.

redskybynight Wed 16-Sep-15 17:59:08

My DD had something similar last year (she was Y4 then). The school spent the first term catching up on material that was now in the Y3 curriculum, that the more advanced children had already covered. Extension material was provided but wasn't extending enough!! It did get better in the second term when they started on new (to DD) material, so it might be that that happens for you too?

SockPinchingMonster Wed 16-Sep-15 18:37:09

RedSky - I'm hoping that is the case and it gets better after half term so I will probably hold off mentioning it for now. Glad it got better for your dd.

Jerry - I agree with you about the system they are using, bronze and silver level work is very simple and whilst I don't have a problem with them recapping work it seems silly to have them going all the way back to ordering numbers 1-10 when they're so far past that.

Thanks again everyone. We have a parents evening in October so I will maybe ask the teacher to explain how the system works then.

OP’s posts: |
QueenVictoria11 Wed 16-Sep-15 19:18:51

I was told today that teachers must teach within the objectives for that year group (year 2 in ds's case) and are not allowed to introduce content that is from higher year group.

Please can someone with better knowledge than me tell me if this is correct. I did query it with class teacher but she said this was directed by the headteacher. DS has ASD and a very strong grasp of mathematical concepts and has been working some way above expectations since nursery. All his reports and Ed pysch, paeds note his strengths in maths but I have battle on my hands to get school to teach him anything new if he's restricted to year 2 content. Teacher said I would need to speak with headteacher if I am querying this. Confused now. Please could someone advise me?

QueenVictoria11 Wed 16-Sep-15 22:45:16

Anyone?
Do teachers have to teach within the stage in new curriculum? Can't be this prescriptive can it?

WombatStewForTea Thu 17-Sep-15 06:44:47

Yes Queen that is correct. The focus should be on 'mastering' the objectives at their age group and deepening their knowledge of a particular objective not moving on to the next one.

mrz Thu 17-Sep-15 06:54:43

No it isn't true although it's one of those "facts" that has quickly spread.

page 3 Aims explains
www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/335158/PRIMARY_national_curriculum_-_Mathematics_220714.pdf

mrz Thu 17-Sep-15 07:17:28

"The expectation is that the majority of pupils will move through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace. However, decisions about when to progress should always be based on the security of pupils’ understanding and their readiness to progress to the next stage . Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly should be challenged through being offered rich
and sophisticated problems before any acceleration through new content."

sneepy Thu 17-Sep-15 08:10:58

In my dds' school they have maths lessons with the whole class plus ability maths groups. DD2 has just started year 3 and I don't think the maths groups have started yet as they're still assessing the kids. So maybe they're seeing where everybody is in your DTs class? I'd give it another week or so to see what the plan is.

WRT enrichment/extension--I think dd1's y5 class is doing large number subtraction. Her homework has been word problems with several steps--working out how far someone has to go to get halfway having already gone 112km from starting point for example. I think it works very well--quite difficult, reinforces the concept and doesn't race on to the next thing.

teacherwith2kids Thu 17-Sep-15 08:36:07

I teach in a year group that is not Y2 or Y6, so have been teaching the new curriculum for a year.

IMO - and it is only an opinion - it can take a while for schools whose primary means of differentiation for the more able has been 'acceleration into the written / taught curriculum for years ahead' to get into the idea of what 'mastery / breadth' as a means of differentiation looks like. Other schools have always differentiated in a less 'linear' way and have found it easier to adapt.

The written maths curriculum is a single pathway through the world of Maths, and by definition there is lots of stuff that has 'not been chosen for inclusion', although it is at the right level mathematically. One means of extension is to explore some of this 'unincluded' Maths at a similar level.

Another, as sneepy says, is to explore increasingly open-ended application of the same mathematical content. So from adding 2 digit numbers, the next 'linear' step might be adding 3 digit numbers,, but more open-ended application might be first to use addition to find perimeters of shapes, and then to find a range of shapes with exactly the same perimeter, next to generate systematic rules for generating families of such shapes. then you can go back to the 2 digit addition again and go off in a different direction to do with word problems.

With time, new and old resources that to extend Maths in this 'non linear' way are becoming available / remembered / linked to schemes of work - but as i say, for those schools that have ONLY used 'go onto the work taught in the next year' - or 'go into the next classroom' - as extension for the more able, the changeover in mindset and approach takes longer.

Yes, of course, there are also children who need acceleration onto the next year group's material - the child who was doing A-level Maths before leaving Primary would be an example - but there is a LOT that can be done which is genuinely interesting and challenging mathematically before that approach is required.

yeOldeTrout Thu 17-Sep-15 10:03:49

QueenVic: that's not what DS school is doing. DS (yr3) is on times tables & division facts like I said.

Autumnsky Thu 17-Sep-15 11:18:49

DS2 in y3 had his first math homework since he has started school. I had a look at it, the caculation is very simple, but the topic range is quite wide. From money( word question, to add and multiply 5p, 2p etc) , time to Kilometer. DS2 quite happily did it in 20 minutes. He needed a bit help, for questions like how many halves in 9 whole one, as he didn't understand what the question is asking at first.

I guess this looks like a revision for Infant.

QueenVictoria11 Thu 17-Sep-15 19:51:20

Lots of very helpful replies. Thank you.

I can see how breadth could work, but also how planning might be tricky for teachers if they are not used to this approach and depth is "make as many number bonds to twenty as you can".

What would count as mastery anyway?

motherwithheadache Thu 17-Sep-15 20:14:51

This was exactly the problem with dd last year. Including having to do the easy bits before being allowed to do the more interesting, challenging bits.

Millymollymama Thu 17-Sep-15 20:51:10

The school should explain the new assessment for "mastery". If you do not know what this is, or how "mastery" is achieved, then you cannot make a judgement on whether your DC is ready to progress. I think all schools need to explain the new assessment system and how they are measuring progress. In KS1 there is a lot more emphasis on mental maths and fractions as well as volume . Lower KS2 maths has quite a lot more challenge in it.

QueenVictoria11 Thu 17-Sep-15 21:02:27

That's interesting Millymollymama. Would it be up to individual schools to interpret and assess mastery then?

QueenVictoria11 Thu 17-Sep-15 21:11:50

And yes that's true mmm I can't make a judgement without knowing what
Counts as mastery. Not sure school know though.

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