I’ve already blogged about some of my hopes and fears for the new curriculum here. In this blog, I want to think more particularly about introducing the curriculum to schools and suggest some useful resources.
It’s important to plan the change carefully and make sure teachers are well prepared. As the KS2 assessment arrangements don’t change until 2016, our current Years 3 and 4 will be the first to be assessed under the new curriculum at the end of KS2. The expectations for them in some areas will be higher and it may well be that schools choose to start teaching at least some of the new content this year so that there is less for these children to catch up in Years 5 and 6. This is particularly true in the areas of written calculations and fractions. Similarly in KS1, the tests and reporting arrangements will remain the same until 2016. This means that from September 2014, Years 2 and 6 should still continue to be taught using the current curriculum but all other year groups will need to move to the new curriculum.
Expectations for fluency with number facts and calculation methods will be raised and it may well be worth tackling this with some whole school initiatives. Some schools are choosing to give an extra 10-20 minutes each day to focus on this in particular, outside of the maths lesson, rather in the way that phonics is often taught discretely. For number bonds and tables, it would be well worth listing exactly which facts your school expects children to learn in each year group and sharing this with parents. It’s also worth tracking the facts that children know so that children who are falling behind in learning these can be given extra support. It would be good to discuss as a staff just what you all understand by ‘rapid recall’ of facts. You may find that some teachers feel children know their two times tables if they can chant the table, whereas others would expect them to be able to answer mixed 2 times tables questions, answering 20-30 or more in a minute. I have suggested some ideas and resources for teaching number facts and tables here.
The NCTM has a growing library of resources to support introducing the new curriculum. In particular, their Resource Tool could be a useful starting point. So far, only material for Years 5 and 6 have been added, but we are promised other year groups’ material before too long. For each year group, the content has been divided into several different strands. Selecting a particular strand and year group and choosing ‘Show Selection’ brings up the information below the tool. So for each of strand and year group, there is information on subject knowledge, connections (to content in other year groups, to other mathematical topics and to other subject areas), articles about good practice in teaching that strand, some suggested activities that could be used in teaching it, exemplification of the expectations and videos that support aspects of the strand.
The subject knowledge resources may be particularly useful for teachers in UKS2 where raised expectations may mean that they need a refresher in eg. calculating with fractions.
For more information about the new curriculum and some resources which might prove helpful when introducing it, my New Curriculum Pinterest board may be helpful. For subject leaders or senior leaders based in the Midlands, you may be interested in a course I am running next month on preparing for the new curriculum. I have lots of ideas and resources to share!