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Written methods of calculation - what do you use ?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Lois1964, Nov 12, 2015.

  1. Lois1964

    Lois1964 New commenter

    My school has adopted a cluster calculations policy and this states that no formal written methods of calculation are to be attempted in KS2. As I am a Y6 teacher, I am struggling to follow this policy, given the formal methods that are a requirement for the National Curriculum. I don't feel I will be preparing my class properly for SATs and putting them at a disadvantage. Has anyone else come across this? Any advice would be really helpful.
     
  2. summlard

    summlard New commenter

    What? That is the most rediculous thing I've heard in ages!
    The curriculum states quite clearly that children must use formal methods! (Starting from year 3). There is a whole SATs paper on it in year 6. What are your slt thinking?
     
    mystery10 and Vince_Ulam like this.
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    We used to do this about 10 years ago, but we were a middle school so year 6 SATs didn't have quite the same importance as for primaries. Numberlines for all four operations.
    I have to say children did have a much better understanding of number than I've seen in schools where they start formal methods in year 2/3.

    I've not looked closely at the year 6 curriculum, but have got the impression that numberlines may not work for the new tests. But ask around in your cluster and see what the other schools do.
     
  4. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Could you publish the names of all the school in the cluster on here and perhaps in your local paper too? It would be very handy for potential job applicants to know to avoid these mad schools and for local parents too.

    Why do you feel any duty to follow this cluster policy? It's a national curriculum. Not one to be twisted by local madmen.
     
  5. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    mystery10 likes this.
  6. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Ah - do you think that's it? What date was that policy and have the last few pages got missed off perhaps?

    I like these bits in particular:

    All
    written
    calculations
    are
    transparent (students and teachers must be able to clearly see and
    understand mistakes).
    All
    calculations
    MUST be written horizontally so that students can chose which method they use

    Is Norfolk still in England? There was no mention of the National Curriculum but I haven't heard of a recent referendum on Norfolk leaving the Union.
     
  7. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Try this one from another Norfolk cluster who don't seem to want to do anything other than work horizontally until KS3:

    What if?
    Frequently asked questions considered by the Maths Subject Leaders of all
    schools involved:
    What if pupils prefer a different method?
    Allow the child to use their method if they show conceptual understanding and
    can consistently use the method accurately. However, the teacher will follow
    the Cluster Policy.
    One of the aims of the 2014 Mathematics Curriculum encourages pupils to be fluent in their approach to calculation strategies.Therefore, a variety of methods are necessary.
    What if pupils join the school with a different method?
    See above
    What if parents don’t like the methods adopted?
    Explain the reasoning behind the chosen strategies and encourage parents to
    become involved in their child’s mathematical development. Provide parents with
    a copy of the Calculations Policy,making reference to the research used.
    What if parents teach another method?
    See question 1.
    What if all the teaching staff are not able to support the methods?
    Provide appropriate training and support.
    What if Ofsted ask why the school is not moving the children onto standard
    algorithms earlier ?
    The National Curriculum for Mathematics 2014 states that children should only
    progress to the next stage once they have secure understanding. Therefore,
    based on our research and experience in school, these are the most efficient
    strategies for our children to be successful and fluent in calculations.
    It goes onto say: ‘Within each key stage, schools therefore have the flexibility
    to introduce content later than set out in the programme of study.’

    I particularly love the last point. They have decided, and have "research" to prove it, that there's no child in their area of Norfolk that will ever have a secure enough understanding of the horizontal method to move on to any vertical methods in KS2?
     
  8. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    So Lois, according to the policy above, you need appropriate training and support.

    Good luck! Just teach them well and all will be fine .... you'll certainly get better results in paper 1 than any other school in the cluster.

    Hate to think what reading comprehension is like in Norfolk with so many headteachers unable to understand the national curriculum, teach some basic maths and understand the sample question papers.
     
  9. teacup71

    teacup71 Occasional commenter

    My head is hurting. What's going on ? Why are they doing this? What? Did they read the new curriculum? Ignore them. Tell then to get in contact with Lancashire
     
  10. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    @Lois1964

    It should be said explicitly that if this is the case then this cluster is breaking the law by not following the Primary National Curriculum. See, in the first instance, the Year 3 programme of study on page 115 of the Primary National Curriculum. Search the document for formal written method and you will see it occurs in Statutory Requirements a number of times. You should bring this fact to the attention of the cluster's governors and if there is no immediate change, in writing and in practice, then bring the current 'calculation policy' to the attention of the DfE.

    See Mathematics Appendix 1 on page 142 for a non-exhaustive list of formal written methods your cluster should be using.

    Good luck.
     
  11. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    @Lois1964

    You may also wish to let your union know that you are challenging this policy for the reasons you've given and because of the statutory requirements of the Primary National Curriculum. Ensure that you record times, dates and gist of any discussion with colleagues, management &or governors on this issue and preserve any emails or notes.
     
  12. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    We don't know which school Lois works at, but the KES cluster that I quoted above thinks that this is sufficient justification:

    What if Ofsted ask why the school is not moving the children onto standard
    algorithms earlier ?
    The National Curriculum for Mathematics 2014 states that children should only
    progress to the next stage once they have secure understanding. Therefore,
    based on our research and experience in school, these are the most efficient
    strategies for our children to be successful and fluent in calculations.
    It goes onto say: ‘Within each key stage, schools therefore have the flexibility
    to introduce content later than set out in the programme of study.’

    I am particularly "impressed" by the diligence of these schools - they have met up in working hours, funded by the taxpayer, and worked out as a group how to avoid teaching aspects of the national curriculum rather than spending the same meeting time working out how best to teach the contents of the national curriculum. Hats off to them for creativity. Not.
     
  13. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    If they don't have sufficient understanding of what's happening by Year 6 I'd much rather they can at least carry out an algorithm that allows them to get the answer correct every time. Sometimes you just need to teach them how to get it jright and pray that understanding will follow eventually.
     
  14. alexdoncaster

    alexdoncaster New commenter

    One of the gripes I have with the calculation policy referred to above is that it is implied that students aren't successful with the traditional column methods due to a lack of conceptual understanding of place value. I'd suggest that the reason is due to lack of coverage at primary level, often because so much time is spent on the convoluted and inefficient expanded methods before the efficient compact methods are introduced!

    Leaving the compact methods until upper key stage 2 undoubtedly means that some, if not many, pupils are going to lack the required practise to enable them to calculate quickly and efficiently.
     
    mystery10 likes this.
  15. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Quite. And well explained, place value is far clearer in a vertical calculation than a horizontal one. These schools are not advocating late KS2 - they are advocating late KS3 I think.
     
  16. cally1980

    cally1980 Established commenter

    Is it just me or have they made a mistake in the bus stop method in the link Vince posted?
     
    mystery10 likes this.
  17. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Yes - the division by 14 has gone wrong somehow or other.
     
  18. cally1980

    cally1980 Established commenter

    The 6 should be a 9. 297 rather than 267. You would think they'd check!
     
  19. Lois1964

    Lois1964 New commenter

    Thank you for your comments. They have been very helpful and have confirmed my thinking on what I need to do next.
     
    mystery10 and Vince_Ulam like this.
  20. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Hello Lois. It was a good thread you started! Wishing you luck in whatever you are deciding to do next - and I hope it can include cracking on with teaching the year 6 national maths curriculum as it is intended to be and not as your cluster of schools, wherever it is, have decided to interpret it.

    I think we could start a very interesting thread on TES - mad, sad and bad school policies.
     

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