Primary maths – publishing your scheme of work and calculation policy

The New Primary Maths Curriculum is to spring into life officially from September 2014 but schools have been busily digesting its contents and slowly introducing its new recommendations since the guidance was published.

Many schools are now at the point where they know exactly how they’re going to introduce it to their pupils and will be almost there on finalising the schemes of work for the subject.

Accountability now means that schools have to keep parents fully informed about how they intend teaching the main subjects so that parents can choose appropriately between schools for their children where choice allows. Part of that accountability comes in the form of published schemes of work and for maths, the publication of what is called the Calculation Policy. Publication of the scheme is overseen by the governing body who have the responsibility for sharing information.

Most schools will have already got theirs in place for the previous incarnation of the maths policy but will need to review it to take account of the changes in the New Primary Maths Curriculum. With the schemes of work and the calculations policy, you can create your own, buy ready made schemes and policies or have bespoke ones made.

You need to bear in mind your audience for both the schemes of work and the calculations policy. If you really want the parents of the children you teach to take an interest in what you’re teaching them then it has to be aimed appropriately. Some schools have gone for very visual versions whilst others have adopted the text approach with accompanying illustrative diagrams.

Both sets of documents need to be loaded onto the school website and schools which don’t have a website are being strongly encouraged by the DfE to get one. You need to allow for parents who don’t have access to the internet and offer the documents in translated formats if you have a number of ESL pupils.

A good tip is to ensure you can easily amend the documentation. It’s surprising how many changes will be needed following an INSET on the teaching of mathematics or the arrival of a new maths teacher with different ideas. Whilst it’s not vital that the documents are updated immediately, the recommendation is that they are monitored for necessary change on a six monthly basis. It’s important to make parents aware of this schedule too.

Finally, after the completion and publication of such documents, the temptation is to sit back and simply follow them. The curriculum is a living creature and evolves on almost a daily basis. Don’t allow yourselves to be constricted by what the documents state you will be doing.

If you know you can do it better, do so and then take the time to update the published documents so that parents and children know you are a progressive school with the effective education of the pupils firmly in your sights.

Dave Lewis
Primary teacher

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