Maths Academy

Parkfield Community School welcome you to their very own Maths Academy. This is the place where children and adults learn to wonder at the beauty of mathematics.

Maths & PD Executive for Excelsior MAT (working from the Maths Academy):

Helen Hackett

MaST; SLE; PD Lead (NCETM); Mastery Specialist Teacher (cohort 1); Mastery Lead for Central Maths Hub

Parkfield staff with additional qualifications in mathematics:

NCETM Professional Development Leads:  H Hackett, K Susarla, K Lewis & H Durman

MaST: K Susarla

Maths Specialist Teachers: H Hackett, K Susarla & K Lewis

Mathletics Lead Educators: H Hackett & K Lewis

Central Maths Hub Workgroup Leads (inc SKE): K Susarla, K Lewis & H Durman

SKE secondary: K Susarla & K Lewis

Qualified Intervention Leaders: S Choudhury, L Begum, H Hackett, R Hussain (TA)

Leaders of Mathematics at Parkfield Community School: K Susarla (KS2) and K Lewis (KS1)

Our aim is to equip all pupils with the skills and confidence to solve a range of problems through fluency with numbers and mathematical reasoning. Children are encouraged to see the mathematics that surrounds them every day and enjoy developing vital life skills in this subject.

At Parkfield Community School we have been on a journey over several years in order to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics. There are several elements which have influenced improvements in attainment and these are best discussed in person during your visit.  If you are taking a look around the school however, it may be useful for you to have a little advance notice of things you will see in lessons – things that may look different to the way lessons/books looked a few years ago. We are a Mastery Specialist School and a Maths-No Problem! Beacon school.

The three aims of the national curriculum should be addressed every day (not just in the maths lesson):

Fluency – Reasoning – Problem Solving

In order to meet raised national expectations within the National Curriculum and ensure children develop a deep and sustainable understanding of mathematical concepts, teachers need to deepen their own subject knowledge, alongside developing effective strategies for the teaching of mathematics. Parkfield Maths Academy supports teachers both within the MAT, and beyond, through a wide range of professional development to meet the individual needs of every teacher.

We have researched how other jurisdictions such as Singapore, Japan, Shanghai and Hong Kong educate and nurture teachers of mathematics and have worked with colleagues from other countries and around the UK to developed our bespoke professional development support programmes for staff within our school, our MAT (Excelsior) and beyond.   

Professional development takes many forms such as: whole school development days, workshops, collaborative planning, coaching, mentoring, lesson study, open lessons, the use of Iris Connect, involvement with Maths Hub workgroups, such as subject knowledge enhancement programmes and the Shanghai Exchange Project. We are also an accredited Maths-No Problem! beacon school, with many of our teachers having benefitted from additional training with colleagues from Singapore, for example, the world famous, Dr Yap Ban Har. We are continuously looking to ways we can enhance the teaching and learning of mathematics and this involves ongoing action research, often working with colleagues in FE and HE as well as key mathematical organisations such as the NCETM and ATM. 

Our team of skilled staff can provide a range of outreach support, as well as training at our site, within the Maths Academy or the PD Centre. 

Examples of PD we can provide:
  • Teaching for Mastery - What it is? Ethos and mindsets. Key strategies. Demo lessons. Key resources. Action planning.
  • Maths journals and journaling within mathematics lessons
  • Greater depth of thinking within mathematics lessons
  • Textbooks - how to introduce textbooks from DfE approved list effectively & how to ensure they impact on learning
  • Cross curricular maths & outdoor learning
  • Developing problem solving skills
  • Developing reasoning in mathematics
  • Bar model - introduction & going deeper
  • Representation and structure - effective use of concrete resources (CPA approach)
    schools on use of textbooks
  • Parent workshops
  • 'Wow' days
  • Developing fact fluency alongside conceptual understanding
  • Maths fun and games to support understanding
  • Mentoring/coaching for maths leaders (such as those new to role)
  • The role of the TA within the mathematics lesson
  • Supporting maths learning (programme for TAs)
  • A range of subject knowledge specific workshops (eg: fractions)


Training can be a one-off workshop, or a whole programme which may take place across a school year, or longer. It can be for an individual, a group of teachers/TAs/leaders, or a whole school staff/community. It can take place within our Maths Academy or PD Centre, where we can provide refreshments & lunch, or at your site, which may be anywhere around the UK.

We regularly host open lessons, which are a whole morning of professional development, including observation of a lesson. During these open lessons, observers will see the mastery approach and the use of Maths-No Problem! textbooks (and journals) in action. There are pre and post lesson discussions to help observers understand the approach.

We host mathematics training for other providers, eg: Karen Wilding, Mathletics.

We are involved in providing maths specific training for ITT providers. 

NQT development - we can provide a structured development programme delivered over one year as afternoons and twilights for NQTs or those returning to teaching after a break. 

Maths Leader development - a development programme for maths leaders looking to enhance the impact they have on the teaching and learning of mathematics in their setting. 

Transition workshops - exploring how to ensure the Y6/Y7 transition is smooth and our secondary colleagues are aware of the effective strategies we've used in primary school to teach mathematics. 

Enrichment/Challenge Days (including bespoke sessions for King Edwards Outreach) - challenge days to enrich the curriculum for higher attaining pupils from local schools. 

We also offer support to schools carrying out whole school audits of mathematics provision and action planning for change. 

If you'd like any further detail of the PD opportunities we offer, in mathematics or in other areas, please get in touch to discuss your requirements.

Looking for maths specific professional development?

Contact to discuss your requirements. 

Considering maths textbooks to support a TfMastery approach to maths teaching?

We can help with that -  Parkfield Community School is an accredited Maths-No Problem! beacon school and hosts regular open lessons.

Tel: 0121 464 1131

If you would like to read further information about our approach to the teaching of mathematics at Parkfield, please click here. 

Parkfield works with the following organisations to enhance the teaching and learning of mathematics:

Our aim is to equip all pupils with the skills and confidence to solve a range of problems through fluency with numbers and mathematical reasoning.

Children are encouraged to see the mathematics that surrounds them every day and enjoy developing vital life skills in this subject.

At Parkfield Community School we have been on a journey over several years in order to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics. There are several elements which have influenced improvements in attainment and these are best discussed in person during your visit. If you are taking a look around the school however, it may be useful for you to have a little advance notice of things you will see in lessons – things that may look different  the way lessons/books looked a few years ago.

The three aims of the NC should be addressed every day (not just in the maths lesson) – Fluency – Reasoning – Problem Solving. Lessons are designed by teachers with the five big ideas of Mastery teaching in mind: variation, fluency, representation and sturcture, mathematical thinking and coherence. 

Mathematics Planning

Split Lessons - In Years 1 – 4 maths is taught in two 30 minute maths lessons each morning, split by break and sometimes assembly (children record in books during the second part of this split lesson). This break allows for children to process their new learning, reflect on their thinking and make real life connections with the maths outside.

Whole class together – we teach mathematics to whole classes and do not label children (this includes within the classroom). Lessons are planned based on formative assessment of what students already know and we include all children in learning mathematical concepts. At the planning stage, teachers consider what scaffolding may be required for children who may struggle to grasp concepts in the lesson and suitable challenge questions for those who may grasp the concepts rapidly. Decisions are not made about who these children may be prior to the lesson.

Longer and deeper – in order to address the aims of the NC, our long/medium term plans have been adjusted to allow longer on topics. Each lesson focus is on one key conceptual idea and connections are made across mathematical topics. To outsiders it may appear that the pace of the lesson is slower, but progress and understanding is enhanced. Our assessment procedures recognise that the aims of the curriculum cannot be assessed through coverage (ticking many objectives off a list) but through depth within a topic.

Key learning points are identified during planning (collaboratively in year groups) and a clear journey through the maths should be shown on flipcharts (also reflected on working walls). Teachers do not produce separate paper plans for lessons as the flipchart clearly shows the plan for each lesson and we prefer teachers to spend time on collaborative lesson creation rather than writing paper plans for monitoring purposes. Questions will probe pupil understanding throughout and responses are expected in full sentences, using precise mathematical vocabulary.

‘Tricky bits’ are identified during the planning process and children will be supported through these.  

Fluency – We recognise that ‘fluency’ is not just about remembering facts and develop all aspects of fluency through lessons, this is clear to see when looking at flipcharts. Fluency with basic facts - there is a whole school focus on developing an instant recall of key facts, such as number bonds, times tables and unit + unit addition facts.  Regular homework and parent workshops support this.  

Lesson Structure

Exploration - instead of ‘Let me teach you…’ as a starting point, children are encouraged to explore a problem themselves to see what they already know. At the beginning of each lesson in our school this exploration is referred to as the ‘anchor task’. Lesson objectives are not shared with the children at the beginning of the lesson, because we want the children to reason for themselves. At some point from the middle or even at the end of the lesson, the children will be asked what they’ve been learning that day. Children will write a ‘title’ in their books, but this may not look like a NC learning objective (visitors wanting to see these should refer to the lesson flipcharts).

Develop reasoning and deep understanding (contexts and representations of mathematics) – problems are often set in real life contexts - carefully chosen representations (manipulatives and images) are used by all to explore concepts. These representations will appear in books as children show their understanding, rather than answers to a series of calculations. The use of practical resources, pictorial representations and recording takes place in every lesson (the CPA approach).

Structuring - the teacher will organise the findings of the exploration, compare/contrast strategies and guide toward the most efficient strategy (or the one being learnt that day).

Step by step approach – journey through the mathematics (these steps may appear small, especially at the beginning of a lesson, there are points when suddenly a jump appears to have been made, or an extra challenge appears – this is normal). The flipcharts clearly show this step by step approach – we recommend you look through a flipchart with a teacher/maths leader to discuss this.

Questions to challenge thinking – teachers use questioning throughout every lesson to check understanding – a variety of questions are used, but you will also hear some being repeated; How do you know? Can you prove it? Are you sure? Is that right? ‘What’s the value? What’s the same/different about? Can you explain that? What does your partner think? Can you imagine? Listen out for more common questions. Questions are also used to challenge children who have grasped the concept. Children are expected to listen to each other’s responses and may be asked to explain someone else’s ideas in their own words, or if they agree/disagree etc.

NB: Due to the episodic style of the lessons with frequent questioning, lessons may appear to move slower than in the past. There will be more talking and less recording in books. The recording that does take place however, shows greater depth of understanding and intelligent practice. We do not want children to attempt independent recording until we believe they are secure with the concept. We do not want them to practise errors, therefore teachers may decide to have a guided group working with them in a lesson (the TA may circulate).

Discussion and feedback – pupils have opportunities to talk to their partners and explain/clarify their thinking throughout the lesson, but are expected to complete written work independently (unless working in a guided group with the teacher).

Journal - recording the learning – not just pages of similar calculations – in Y1 – Y5 maths journals are used. In Y6 you will see maths books used for both journaling activities and practice – we are at a transitional stage at the moment. Journals were introduced in Y1 several years ago and rolled out gradually through the school. We are developing the use of journals and regularly compare our journals with those from other schools on the Mastery Specialist Programme.

Reflecting - this may be linked to use of the textbook – images on the IWB may be from the textbooks – you are unlikely to see textbooks in use in the classroom, except with a guided group, but they are used by teachers during the planning and preparation stages.

Practising - not drill and practice but practice characterised by variation – in Years 1-5, this is done in the workbooks that accompany textbooks, in other year groups it will be recorded in maths books, supported by detailed medium term plans & ongoing CPD.

Rapid intervention (same day keep up/catch up) – in mathematics new learning is built upon previous understanding, so in order for learning to progress and to keep the class together, pupils need to be supported to keep up and areas of difficulty must be dealt with as and when they occur. We do this through same day interventions of 20 minutes in the afternoon. In addition, we still run intervention sessions outside of the maths lesson for some targeted children who have gaps in their learning.

Marking – the marking policy for mathematics acknowledges the different style of teaching in maths, and follows the NCETM guidelines published April 2016. The policy requires that learning is ticked and a comment is only made if/when a teacher feels this is necessary to move learning forward. Highlighting the ‘title’ shows if the learning objective has been achieved. Gap tasks may appear for individual children in their books, but usually gaps are addressed through same day catch up and therefore will not be recorded in books, except with a catch up symbol. The most valuable feedback is given during a lesson. Children are encouraged to use green pens for self/peer assessment.

SEND pupils – may be supported by additional adults, different resources, differentiated activities. They will also complete additional activities outside of the mathematics lesson.

NB: We do not label our children. We have high expectations of all children and strongly believe that all children are equally able to learn mathematics. Some may take longer to grasp concepts and may need careful scaffolding or extra time/support (guided groups, same day catch-up, additional homework, pre-teaching, intervention group, morning/after school clubs, specific parent support), but when concepts are presented in the right way all children can learn. Please do not ask us about our ‘more able’ or ‘less able’ children as this does not fit our ethos.

Many thanks for showing an interest in our mathematics teaching, we do hope you find your visit useful and welcome any feedback.

Helen Hackett

Excelsior Multi Academy Trust Maths Lead

(updated June 2019)

The state of pupils' numeracy is always in the news and in particular politicians have pledged that every child in England will know their 12 times table before they leave primary school as part of a "war on innumeracy".
Fast Factors -
"Fast factors can be used when you are learning a times table and are not confident you know all of the facts. It presents you with the answers leaving you to just match up the multiple with the product.
Instructions: Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to collect all the multiples of 7 in order while avoiding the Conga Virus! You can earn a Transum trophy for each times table you complete.
Revise multiplication facts by racing across the screen to match the times tables question with the correct answer without getting hit by lightning.