ESSENTIALmaths five top tips for success

    Published: 13 November 2017

    Launched at the end of August 2017, over 150 primary schools in Hertfordshire and beyond have already adopted HfL’s Essential Maths planning. Feedback has been exceptionally positive. Leaders and teachers are finding them invaluable in developing meaningful and effective sequences of learning. To find out what is happening in some of the schools and see the impact on pupils’ maths and in particular their recording skills check out #ESSENTIALmaths.

    As schools are at the early adopting phase, we offer these five top tips to those who are already using the resources and those about to embark on using them:

    1.Don’t avoid the front cover

    Each sequence has a range of key learning information. Read it carefully – don’t be tempted to go straight to the sequence content too soon. This key page provides all sorts of insights into the learning sequence, not least the National Curriculum end of year outcome it covers.

    2.Pin point key learning

    Within the steps, there will be essential nuggets of knowledge, skills and information that needs to be carefully modelled and are the keys to each pupil’s success. Identify what they are. Ensure they are explicitly and carefully modelled to support all learners.


    3.Foresee the bumps in the road

    Think about what aspects the pupils are likely to find challenging and how might this be overcome. Allow time to model and practise the likely ‘tricky’ parts. Take time to practice your ‘patter’.

    4.There is no preferred lesson structure.

    Although pupils will need regular (usually daily) opportunities to record as part of processing and internalising, how you structure lessons and capture this learning in books is going to be best decided by each school and teacher to meet the needs of the children in the class.

    5.Use the destination questions well

    These encapsulate a lot of key information. For example, the pitch of age-related expectations, the range of ways that learning might be presented, opportunities for application and reasoning can all be found within them. They may well be incorporated into the main teaching. They also make great plenary ideas and can be used for next step marking or starters to the following lesson. They can be viewed as mini indicators of whether pupils are securing the learning, as part of ongoing AfL.

    For teachers and schools not (yet) using HfL’s Essential Maths planning and resource, the twitter hash-tag #ESSENTIALmaths gives a flavour of what schools are doing with it. If you are a HfL PA+ subscriber (to the Herts for Learning website), you can find the Autumn term planning available on the website (with sequences for Years 1 – 6 covering the whole Autumn term), but there is also a free sample for each year group available here for anyone not currently subscribing who is interested in seeing what it looks like.


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