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Mathematics Mastery empowers Liverpool College pupils with mathematical language

Mathematics Mastery empowers Liverpool College pupils with mathematical language

School context

Liverpool College is a unique school serving children from reception to A Level. In 2012 they transitioned from a private school to an academy in order to serve more children in the area.

The transition brought many changes, and the school rapidly grew from two-form entry with around 19 pupils per class to an oversubscribed three-form entry with an average of 28 pupils per class.

With vastly more pupils to teach and a sudden influx of new staff, the school’s maths lead, Claire Robinson, explains: “We wanted some kind of consistency across the school, and there were few providers that could tick that box – a programme that runs throughout the school, Primary and Secondary.”

They were using Mathematics Mastery Secondary with their Key Stage 3 students and then introduced Mathematics Mastery Primary for Reception, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. With the conversion to an academy the new cohort of children came from different starting points, and Claire was keen to meet the needs of everybody. “We still had the high achievers, and we love the challenge that’s available in the programme.”

Practical CPD inspires teachers

Following the changes, there was a pressing need to get the new intake of staff up to speed.

Mathematics Mastery includes extensive subject-specific professional development, and Claire says: “The CPD element, right from the beginning, was extremely impressive. The training is such high quality. Pedagogically, it gives us consistency.She also finds it a great support for Teaching Assistants. “We put every new member of staff through the training.”

Laura Hunter, maths teacher, tells us: “I’ve found all the training really useful. It gives teachers the confidence to deliver the lesson successfully. It also challenges your teaching. It improves your practice across the board.

The training gives her lots of practical ideas. “Sometimes you go to training and think ‘I’ll never be able to do that, I can’t fit that in’, but this training is always doable, I always come away equipped with ideas and solutions to problems.”

Laura also finds the website with supporting resources, such as modelling videos, invaluable, “It’s so comprehensive” and Claire agrees: “The resources are very directly linked to the programme.”

Both attended the Ark Curriculum Plus Annual Conference in 2024. It was Laura's first time and she said: “I loved the conference. There were these huge names in maths speaking. Everyone delivering workshops was very knowledgeable and experienced, they were all teachers, so they know exactly what it’s like and have realistic expectations. They were also really passionate and enthusiastic. I’ve caught that … and that’s huge as a teacher, to walk away with that kind of inspiration.”

Improved pupil outcomes

Over the past decade, the school has seen improvements in expected standards, and growth in the area of greater depth.

Claire reveals that, “73% of pupils achieved at the expected standard in maths in 2016 and last year 92% of our cohort achieved that.” In 2014 they were getting 10% of pupils to Level 6 (the equivalent of greater depth today). “Last year we got 58% of our cohort achieving greater depth, so the figures are good for us.”

Use of mathematical language

But what stands out even more than these improved results is the way children and staff are now talking about maths, and the language that they use. Claire explains: “Mathematics Mastery has equipped our staff with the correct terminology to talk about things. It empowers their subject knowledge; it empowers them as teachers. It empowers our pupils.

Laura agrees: “Despite the different abilities of children, they can all access that language. They’re using it in their reasoning as well. They retained it, it’s embedded because we’ve revisited it so many times.”

A supportive partner

The team feel well supported by Ark Curriculum Plus (AC+). Laura says: There’s just so much support, it massively eases your workload. Whether that’s using the pre-prepared resources or emailing the Mathematics Mastery team – they’re always so helpful and they really know what they’re talking about.”

The school has a dedicated AC+ Delivery Lead, who helps Claire understand the curriculum and helps staff to deliver the programme.

“A lot of teaching staff have started to realise why this is used there, why it’s sequenced like this, why these numbers have been chosen. It’s because it links back to what they covered four weeks ago, or that links to what’s coming up. You’d be surprised what’s been thought of just within one lesson.”

As well as providing insider knowledge and subject expertise, the Delivery Lead is there to observe on school visits and to suggest improvements. Claire tells us: “It’s really lovely to have somebody else write a report, so it’s not just you singing the positives or seeing the areas for development. Outside eyes are really helpful.

Claire is committed to continuing to improve outcomes for pupils, as well as her own professional development. “The process they put you through as a maths lead is a good prompt for self-reflection. I can make sure I’m equipped with the knowledge, and confident in why I’ve made certain decisions.”

Making a big difference

In conclusion, Mathematics Mastery supported the school effectively during its transition to being a large academy, when pupils joining had a wider range of starting points and there were lots of new members of staff to onboard. The programme’s CPD has had a particularly positive impact on staff, building their confidence and giving them new pedagogical strategies to use in the classroom. Subsequently, nearly all pupils achieved the expected standard in maths in 2023 with nearly 60% at greater depth. This is testament to the school’s dedication to sustaining high quality maths teaching.

How can we help?

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Contact our friendly partnerships team who will be happy to talk you through the programmes and help you decide on the right approach for your school.