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Procedural competence is not enough.
Mathematics is so much more than just about numbers but crucial to children's success and confidence in maths is their ability to understand and manipulate the number system in arithmetic and subsequently algebra. Establishing number sense and understanding the structures that underpin arithmetic are essential for a pupil's progress and the principles of teaching for mastery underline the importance of getting the basics right at whatever stage before moving on prematurely to more complex aspects.
This is not just relevant for younger children and many teachers will recognise the issue of re-teaching the basics to older students because they haven't mastered the fundamentals. This problem will not go away quickly and despite the introduction of a teaching for mastery strategy in some schools, as a country we are many years away from establishing satisfactory progress and true understanding for all our children. Even those schools who have adopted the teaching for mastery principles will take time to fully develop their practices and in many schools where progress has apparently been outstanding the bar of our expectation must be raised such that procedural competence is not enough but fluency and mastery are the goals we as professionals should be seeking to develop in our students.
The South Yorkshire Maths Hub aims to support teachers and schools to reflect on their current practices and develop a teaching for mastery strategy that works for their students. SYMH encourages feeder primary schools and secondaries to work closely together as well as clusters and alliances of schools. SYMH will endeavour to share best practice and resources but encourages colleagues to contribute to this local collaboration by engaging in professional reflective dialogue, sharing experiences within schools and across the region.