Inspiring approach to maths all adds up

Harriers Banbury Academy has been appointed as an Inspire Maths Advocate School as a result of the quality of its teaching in the subject this year.

Banbury Harrier maths students NNL-170313-161345001
Banbury Harrier maths students NNL-170313-161345001

The primary school in Bloxham Road has adopted the Inspire Maths teaching practices first used in educating kindergarten age to year six children in Singapore.

The approach teaches children fewer mathematical concepts but at a more deeper understanding. It also uses a three step teaching process divided into concrete, pictorial and abstract stages (CPA).

These three stages take a student from viewing mathematical problems firstly using actual objects (concrete) then using pictorial representations until finally tacking the problem using traditional mathematical symbols and numbers (abstract).

Alex Pearson, executive principal at the academy, said, “Inspire has built firm foundations with numbers for the children at Harriers, whilst embedding a deep understanding of mathematical concepts through the CPA approach.

“We have seen great progress with the children’s fluency of numbers and now recognise the importance of the spiral approach within the teacher’s guide.”

Inspire Maths has taken the Singapore approach and created a whole-school maths program with both textbook and online lessons and assessments that meets higher expectations than the National Curriculum.

Mr Pearson said: “The children are feeling much more confident and positive about their maths lessons, as they are all achieving.

“The pupils are confident with discussing their learning, working in pairs; whilst using the correct language. Inspire has raised standards and enjoyment of maths across the school.”

As part of becoming an Inspire Maths Advocate School, Banbury Harriers Academy will be holding open mornings throughout the year, where teachers from other area schools can observe their lessons and to see first-hand the impact the ‘Singapore’ approach has had on results, and pupil engagement.

Sue Lowndes, Inspire Maths professional development lead for Oxford University Press, said: “I am delighted that Harriers Banbury Academy has become an Inspire Maths Advocate School.

“It has been a pleasure to see how this school’s best practice in following the Singapore approach has developed the teaching and learning for staff and pupils.”

Singapore consistently tops the world ratings for maths and the overwhelming majority of schools use the three stage approach.

In the first academic study of its kind in the UK by the Programme for International Student Assessment and a Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study found that students using the Inspire maths program made significantly more progress.