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Primary maths schemes/text books - recommendations?

(14 Posts)
goingmadinthecountry Thu 16-Jun-16 19:35:57

Is anyone really impressed with a particular whole-school new scheme for maths? We really to get something a bit more organised and easier on teacher time. We're a tiny school with R/1/2, 3/4 and 5/6. Budget is very tight due to our numbers so I'm really interested to know what works for other people.

Many thanks for any input.

MooPointCowsOpinion Thu 16-Jun-16 19:38:08

There's a lovely creative curriculum, I forget who by... It's like mastery but puts different area together.

MooPointCowsOpinion Thu 16-Jun-16 19:39:13

Ledeluge Thu 16-Jun-16 19:42:27

We use Hamilton Trust and I really like it. It's not too expensive, you can just buy one key stage if you like, they have mixed year planning and you can mix and match to meet the needs of the ability spread in your class. It's well resourced and quite practical and engaging.

I dip into their topic planning as well, our main cross curricular planning is from Dimensions, but the HT stuff often supplements it well.

HT have some free units so you can have a look, and I think all their science planning is free too.

toomuchicecream Thu 16-Jun-16 21:49:13

Have you looked at the schemes of learning from the White Rose Maths Hub? I really, really, really like them and they are free. I've got mixed age plans from them as well - don't seem to be in their dropbox but I picked them up somewhere on line.

Your first (and biggest) decision is whether as a school you are going to go for a mastery approach (spending longer amounts of time on fewer topics so you can really embed the learning) or stick with the spiral curriculum we've had since the numeracy strategy where you dot around all over the place, coming back to every topic each term but never spending long enough on anything (in my opinion) to actually learn it properly. Once you've decided that it will determine the direction you go in.

In my school we are using the White Rose Hub stuff as our long/medium term plans and then have several different books for teachers to dip into. So 1 copy per class of Maths No Problem (which I really love, but doesn't immediately seem to be that useful - when you get in to it, the way they explain concepts and the depth they go into is really impressive), 1 copy per class of the Collins Shanghai Maths workbooks and KS2 have Target Your Maths for times when they just need the children to work through some examples to embed a skill.

I absolutely hate, hate, hate, hate, hate Collins Busy Ant with a passion. A local school that invested in the latest version of Abacus is already coming away from it because it jumps around too much and they don't get long enough on anything. In my opinion, most schemes are just money making machines put together by publishers to make them the maximum amount of money by selling you as many different books as possible. You are far better getting a decent structure (both the White Rose Hub and Kangaroo Maths do this free of charge) and then spending what money you do have on resources for teachers to use with the class. As one of my colleagues said to me last year - give me an objective and pupil activities and then I can work out what I need to say to get them to the stage where they can complete the activities. But it's hunting down the activities that takes the time. So I would far rather spend the money on books for teachers/pupils so you've got good ideas of things for the children to do, than something like Abacus or Busy Ant that gives you a script to follow for the lesson. By the way, did I mention that I hate Busy Ant?

As you might have guessed from the length of this post, this is something I'm quite passionate about. I'm a Maths Specialist Teacher (MaST) and NCETM Primary Maths Mastery Specialist, as well as Maths Leader in my school so I've got lots of ideas and opinions about all areas of primary Maths!!

goingmadinthecountry Thu 16-Jun-16 22:24:17

Thanks very much! Lots to look at! Toomuchicecream,I'm planning on doing amaths mastery course next year - have about 7 half masters over the years so thought I'd start to sort out a whole one! Did you find yours useful?

toomuchicecream Fri 17-Jun-16 20:19:33

Going mad - a maths masters or maths mastery course? The two are very different ;)

I got a third of a masters when I did my MaST course but I've never gone back to top it up - I would really like to do it, but I've now reached the stage where I have so many additional responsibilities in school, I think it would be the last straw that tipped me over the edge.

Maths Mastery is a different way of approaching Maths teaching so that children really understand what they are doing, retain that knowledge and then are able to use and apply it in a whole range of contexts. gives you the best idea of what it's about. If you want to know more about mastery, either ask me here or contact your local Maths Hub who will have specialists who've had my training and are ready to help other schools in their area. I love what I am doing as it's made a huge difference to the children, but it took quite a while to get my head round to start with as it's a complete mindset shift from the way I've always taught previously.

goingmadinthecountry Fri 17-Jun-16 21:37:42

It's the 3rd of a Masters one. I have about 5 half masters under my belt, all lapsed so absolutely no good! Am very old!! When dd1 was applying for an MSc at my old university (she starts in Sept) I got a bit nostalgic and did some finding out for me. Not hugely excited by our local provider (Canterbury Christchurch) but it's local and apparently well thought of, plus the sessions are 6 - 9pm 7 times a (big) term. Very do-able.

Thank you - may well be sending questions your way! I teach in a tiny primary that is part of a rural group so will very probably have the course funded as the ht/govs are keen for us to take the lead. I started off teaching secondary music but absolutely love teaching maths. I definitely thought I'd prefer English teaching but I find it really quite dreary trying to torture poor children into daft levels of writing.

toomuchicecream Sat 18-Jun-16 07:55:30

Fantastic - I loved my MaST course and learnt so, so much from it. During the first year of the course my approach to teaching Maths changed completely. Come back and let me know how you get on!

My last school was a tiny village primary - well do I remember the challenges of teaching 2 year groups together in an inappropriate space with no money for anything...

You might want to hold off buying anything until you've got stuck into your course, but if the money is in the budget and needs to get spent before it gets allocated to something else, I think the least bad of the options out there is Target Your Maths. £8 per book, 1 book per year group. Clear, unfussy layout. Plenty of exercises on a page. Not perfect by any means, but the best value for money I've found. Things like Abacus and Collins have 3 text books per year group (1 per term) costing +/- £8 per book, so it works out as 3 times the price.

Finally - do get in touch with your local Maths Hub. Presumably you're in Kent - they've got 4 fabulous people trained up to work with schools like yours. I'm in a different bit of the south east but the Kent & Medway people are in the same training cohort as me. The NCETM mastery approach is harder to achieve with mixed age classes but this link gives an idea of how it can work. Good luck!

goingmadinthecountry Sat 18-Jun-16 08:37:29

Great - I went to a Maths Hub launch and signed up - one of the leaders teaches at dd3's school - and I'm at an all day maths conference on Tuesday. I'm sure there will be loads of books on view! Maths support here in Kent is much better than English support.

toomuchicecream Sat 18-Jun-16 08:54:16

Sounds like you're sorted then smile In my experience, there's a lot more good stuff out there for Maths than English generally. I think it's political - the Government sees STEM as a national priority and so is putting money into support to improve STEM teaching. English isn't as important to them. So they've come up with loads of made up grammar but then put nothing in place to help teachers get their heads round how to teach it. Whereas, if you know where to look, there's lots of Maths stuff at a national level and an increasing amount locally through the Hubs.

QueenofLouisiana Mon 20-Jun-16 21:09:17

I also use Busy Ants- lots of mistakes on the slides, answers, homework sheets etc.

We paid 1000s for it- not worth it.

goingmadinthecountry Tue 21-Jun-16 07:43:37

So frustrating.
Toomuch, am very much liking the stuff on White Rose Maths Hub. Thank you very much for that link.
Am enjoying the bliss of leaving hone after 8 today for a maths conference - 6.45 was a briliant lie in! Here's hoping for lots of inspiring ideas.

BetweenTwoLungs Tue 21-Jun-16 21:17:49

We are going to be using White Rose Hub - they also have assessments and I'd be interested to know whether people use them? And how they've found them?

Numeracy Ninja is a fab free resource, aimed at ks3 but out yr5/6 love it.

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