White Rose Maths
At Veritas Primary Academy, we believe that Maths should be fun, clear and challenging; we want every child to leave Veritas with a love of Maths and a deep grounding in the basics needed to progress.
What is White Rose Maths?
White Rose Maths is an organisation that provides maths resources and Schemes of Learning for pupils of all ages, from early years to secondary school. The Schemes of Learning (SOL) outline yearly frameworks that break down what children need to learn during each week of each term to master the learning objectives laid out by the National Curriculum. And resources that are aligned with the White Rose Maths frameworks are designed to be enjoyable, engaging and varied, to help pupils develop a love of learning and work towards mastery with differentiated resources.
But what defines White Rose Maths more than their resources and frameworks is their approach to teaching maths. At the heart of their resources and frameworks is the motto “Everyone Can Do Maths: Everyone Can!” — a slogan that we wholeheartedly agree with!
Their mission is to support primary school teachers and parents all over the UK in helping children work towards maths mastery and change attitudes towards this subject, encouraging a growth mindset in both teachers and learners. Adopting a White Rose Maths approach to teaching means making sure all children have the same opportunities to learn and the support they need to fully grasp concepts.
The philosophy behind White Rose Maths also focuses on making maths fun for children and helping them to find enjoyment in number problems. Because when children are engaged in learning and enjoying maths, that's when lessons really sink in and deep learning happens.
So what is the CPA approach?
Children and adults can find maths difficult because it is abstract. The CPA approach helps children learn new ideas and build on their existing knowledge by introducing abstract concepts in a more familiar and tangible way. This approach is proven to be highly effective around the world.
Concrete is the “doing” stage, using concrete objects to model problems. Instead of the traditional method of maths teaching, where a teacher demonstrates how to solve a problem, the CPA approach brings concepts to life by allowing children to experience and handle physical objects themselves. Every new abstract concept is learned first with a “concrete” or physical experience.
For example, if a problem is about adding up four baskets of fruit, the children might first handle actual fruit before progressing to handling counters or cubes which are used to represent the fruit.
Pictorial is the “seeing” stage, using representations of the objects to model problems. This stage encourages children to make a mental connection between the physical object and abstract levels of understanding by drawing or looking at pictures, circles, diagrams or models which represent the objects in the problem.
Building or drawing a model makes it easier for children to grasp concepts they traditionally find more difficult, such as fractions, as it helps them visualise the problem and make it more accessible.
Abstract is the “symbolic” stage, where children are able to use abstract symbols to model problems.
Only once a child has demonstrated that they have a solid understanding of the “concrete” and “pictorial” representations of the problem, can the teacher introduce the more “abstract” concept, such as mathematical symbols. Children are introduced to the concept at a symbolic level, using only numbers, notation, and mathematical symbols, for example +, –, x, / to indicate addition, multiplication, or division.
Although we’ve presented CPA has three distinct stages, a skilled teacher will go back and forth between each representation to reinforce concepts.
Our approach encourages teachers to vary the apparatus the children use in class, for example, one day they might use counters, another day they might use a ten frame. Likewise, children are encouraged to represent the day’s maths problem in a variety of ways, for example, drawing an array, a number bond diagram or a bar model. By systematically varying the apparatus and methods they use to solve a problem, we help children to make quicker mental connections between the concrete, pictorial and abstract phases.
When teaching young children, exposing to abstract concepts too early may mean that children are missing out on the opportunity to build the conceptual mathematical understanding which they need to take them through their education. However, it should never be a case of concrete ‘good’, abstract ‘bad’. It is important to recognise that the CPA model is a progression. By the end of KS1, children need to be able to go beyond the use of concrete equipment to access learning using either pictorial representations or abstract understanding. What is important, therefore, is that all learners, however young, can see the connections between each representation.
Impact White Rose will have on our children
- Children will understand how to use resources to support their learning
- Provides consistent methods across the school for your child to access
- It will challenge them to grow as mathematicians
- Supports children in the lead up to their SATs
- Children will be able to articulate their ideas clearly and represent their working in a range of ways
- It will help your children to become confident mathematicians and enjoy maths
You can also look at some great Home Learning Workbooks if you would like any more information.