In order to free up working memory and lighten the cognitive load, pupils will find it much easier to tackle new content if they are able to rapidly recall key number facts. To attain rapid recall children need to overlearn these skills and this knowledge in order for it transfer to their long-term memory. Overlearning can only happen with dedicated practice, which requires opportunity and motivation.
Times Tables Rockstars
We have a paid subscription for TT Rockstars. All children from Year 1 upwards are enrolled on to the system. Children in LKS2 in particular should have dedicated weekly timetable slots given to using this is in school. It also forms part of our homework package. There is also a lunchtime club. There are prizes and certificates given to reward special achievements, and we organise competitions within and across schools as part of our external trust network.
Number Facts Awards
We also have certificates for the learning of the key number facts, which include rapid recall of number bonds, multiplication and division tables, fluency with squares and primes, as well as recall of percentage, decimal and fraction equivalents. When teachers feel that children have a secure mental recall of these number facts, they will be sent to the maths coordinators to be tested and if successful they will be presented with a Number Facts certificate. The maths coordinators have a tracking spreadsheet which means that we know which children have not met the expectations for the year groups with regards to recall of key number facts. These gaps in learning can then be identified and targeted.
To facilitate overlearning and fluency, classes should participate in fortnightly ‘three-minute challenges’. These progress from writing the numbers 1-20, to filling in a 100 square to completing empty multiplication grids.
We have recently purchased school accounts for Maths Shed, primarily to be used as part of our homework package to run alongside Spelling Shed. As well as being used at home, teachers can promote its use in school and incorporate the resources into lessons.
Regular arithmetic tests
There are various arithmetic resources available to teachers in Our Maths Toolkit. Regular use of these is encouraged (fortnightly as a rule of thumb) with scores tracked. Areas of particular weakness at both a class and individual level are to be identified and acted upon with additional practice.