Advice for Autumn 2020 Back to School

To support schools using Power Maths this term and beyond, we're adding some new resources and features and we have also compiled guidance for the key challenges teachers face. This is set out in FAQ format below. All new resources mentioned are available on ActiveLearn. There is a summary document on the main Planning page (log into Power Maths and click the Planning tile).

Please see our recent Power Maths webinar, Getting ready for Autumn 2020, for more details. You can watch a recording here: 


New resources 

What's new for Power Maths?

The new resources and features for Power Maths this autumn are designed to help schools provide appropriate teaching this year, allowing for gaps in children's learning, and to support remote learning if and when necessary.

In ActiveLearn, there is a matching chart to show pre-requisite lessons for each unit, and another matching chart to show where topics from the summer term are revisited in the year above. The end of unit checks have been collated so they can be used more easily in combination with these charts to assess prior knowledge and source materials for targeted follow up as needed. We are also adding the Summer Home Editions to the Power Maths online content (previously accessible via links for use at home) in case teachers want to use these to consolidate key topics from the prior year.

Power Maths lessons have also been matched to the White Rose Maths schemes of learning for 20/21 giving an option to follow a specific recap curriculum. In addition, the lessons are matched to the new Ready to Progress criteria from the DfE. 

To support remote learning we have created a small number of video lessons and (temporarily) made it possible to allocate a range of Power Maths resources for children to access via their own login. Read through the Q&A below to find out more about all these resources and how to use them. 

What existing Power Maths resources could help this term?

The Power Ups may be particularly useful because they provide daily practice of number fluency, which is likely to be a barrier to some children accessing their lessons as normal this term/year. To find Power Ups for particular topics, see the Power Up Progressions on the Planning Guidance page in Active Learn. You could use any Power Ups children haven't done from the prior year to provide fluency practice.

The Progress Tests are an additional resource (outside of Active Learn). These photocopiable books provide half termly Arithmetic and Reasoning tests that assess what children have been learning and show progress against age-related expectation using a 6-step scale. You can use the online markbook in Active Learn the track progress and analyse trends. See 'Assessment and gap filling' below for how these might be used to provide baseline assessments this term.

How can a Maths Flex free trial help?

Maths Flex uses AI technology to provide personalised digital practice for each child, allowing children to consolidate gaps in their learning (including steps prior to the current topic in the scheme of work) and go into greater depth as appropriate.  It's perfect for Power Maths as it also follows the White Rose Maths schemes of learning for 20/21.

You can sign up here for a free 6-week trial to begin in September.

How can Pinpoint Maths resources help?

Pinpoint Maths provides flexible extra resources that will be particulalry useful for the 20/21 academic year. It uses a simple 3-level approach throughout (Towards, Securing, Deeper) to ensure appropriate challenge for all.

Problem Solving and Reasoning: these cards for Y1-6 provide deep, challenging problems for children to work on independently. If you are catering for a large spread of attainment, these 'low threshold high ceiling' tasks are invaluable, allowing some children to explore the topic in greater depth while another group receive extra support. 

Times Tables: a bank of materials to teach, practice and assess times tables throughout Y2-4, building deep undersanding of tables and how to apply this knowledge, as well as fluent recall. The teacher book provides a bank of creative 10 minute activities, while the Times Tables Detectives books provide independent practice.

Word Problems: photocopiable books for Y1-6 with a bank of differentiated problems for each objective in the Programme of Study. These can be used flexibly e.g. as a 'cold task' to check understanding after teaching, as quick assessment of a given topic, or to follow up main teaching.

Find out more about Pinpoint resources


Choosing what to teach

Should teachers start where they left off with the summer term content or start with term A?

Circumstances will vary considerably from school to school, so we're not trying to give 'one size fits all' advice. That said, our general recommendation would be to teach term A content. Generally, the nature of the content is such that term C topics will be easier to catch up on, or will hinder work on new topics less, when compared with term A topics. You may need to spend longer introducing new topics, especially at first.  See below for how to assess children before teaching a unit, and for advice on extra fluency work. Also see below for how the DfE's new guidance can help with identifying the most critical topics, if ulitimately you find you can't cover everything as normal.

Power Maths progression or lessons linked to White Rose Maths recap scheme...?

It will be best for schools to decide this based on their individual circumstances. Generally speaking, if teachers are relatively confident using Power Maths, we would hope they can use the materials effectively following the Power Maths progression using suggestions here: i.e. start the autumn term content, pre-assess and try to fill gaps, give extra fluency work alongside, don't be afraid to be selective when you need to (priortise key topics), and don't be afraid to use resources flexibly (e.g. to cater for attainment spread). If this feels too daunting based on teachers' experience/confidence with the resources, you could use the Power Maths lessons linked to the White Rose Maths recap scheme of work (this may reduce initial decision-making although it will inevitably be a bit fiddlier moving between the Power Maths resources). We will provide ebooks of Practice Book pages that are needed for the recap scheme from the prior year (e.g. Y3 pages which Y4 teachers will need access to). 

What if schools are new to Power Maths?

The recap scheme of work will help get started with Power Maths if teachers aren't very familiar with the resources. Some teachers have fed back that they got quicker as they got more used to teaching Power Maths lessons (i.e. it became easier to fit the content in). Don't be afraid to use the resources flexibly to support you in teaching a great lesson. For instance, you don't necessarily have to cover every question with every child to make sure everyone is engaged and building their understanding. The Power Maths Facebook group is a great forum for asking other teachers for advice, especially as this year will be quite unlike any other. Would recommend watching our recent webinar and looking at this blog from our series editor, Tony Staneff (which is pre-Covid) 

What support is there for mixed age planning?

We are creating new mixed age plans to be used from autumn term. These are aligned with the White Rose Maths mixed age plans. The main aim of these plans is to allow teachers to cover the same topic with both groups more often than with our existing mixed age plans, which follow the Power Maths progression more strictly in each year group. They also cater for Y2/3 and Y4/5 as well as Y1/2, Y3/4 and Y5/6. While using these new plans in 20/21, teachers can use the resources for assessment and gap filling as described below. (An alternative would be to use the recap scheme and follow this separately with each year group.) Josh Lury makes some suggestions for mixed age teaching towards the end of the 'Getting ready for autumn 2020' webinar.

How can the government's Ready to Progress criteria help?

There are matching charts showing how Power Maths covers these (Planning Guidance page in ActiveLearn). It should be clear from the Ready to Progress criteria that the approach, models and images used are well aligned with Power Maths. This is natural as they aim to support schools using high-quality mastery textbooks and Power Maths is recommended by DfE. The criteria will help Power Maths schools with decisions around where to spend more time vs other topics they might need to cover more quickly, i.e. teachers should be especially careful that children have mastered those lessons linked with the criteria.


Assessment and gap filling


What resources are available for baseline assessment?

The Progress Tests include full end of year tests, which can be used as baseline assessment for the year above (e.g. use Y3 assessment at start of Y4) with the diagnostic mark scheme supporting follow up. How and when these are used might depend on children's confidence and how this can be supported as they reacclimatise. See the samples here  

Some teachers may prefer to use the collated End of Unit Checks as a softer way of baselining, e.g. children working through the Y3 checks at the beginning of Y4 to gauge understanding of different topics. These will be available from the Resources page.

What resources are available for ongoing assessment?

Before teaching a Power Maths unit, look at the chart of pre-requisite units (we will add this in the Planning Guidance area). Use the End of Unit Check from the pre-requisite unit in the prior year to gauge understanding.

How can teachers fill gaps in children's learning?

If an End of Unit Check from the prior year (or baseline assessment) suggests a gap, you can then use the 'Strengthen' activity from that pre-requisite unit, and textbook pages (e.g. Discover & Share) from the key lessons indicated by the pre-requisite unit chart, to provide targeted follow up. (E.g. Y4 children are about to tackle place value. They do the end of unit check from Y3 place value unit as per the chart, and follow up if needed with Strengthen activity and textbook pages from Y3 place value unit. NB: Strengthen activities are found on Active Learn.)

In the markbook, can you input scores for a different year group, e.g. if using Y3 end of year test to assess Y4?

Yes, you can change the 'Academic Year' dropdown to assess Y4 children against the Y3 tests etc, (i.e. in 2020 put the year back to 2019). This dropdown is next to the Class dropdown.


General advice for Power Maths teaching this term


What advice is there for differentiation / dealing with larger than usual range of prior attainment?

See the recording of our recent webinar where our author and series editor Josh Lury makes some suggestions. It will be a particular challenge for teachers this term that children have done a varying amount of maths during lockdown. Using the resources flexibly can help. E.g. consider the really key learning all children need to master; then find a question in the lesson that can easily be widened out to be an open-ended challenge while you support children whose understanding is less secure... The Pinpoint Problem Solving and Reasoning cards are very useful for this, as above. Ongoing work on number fluency alongside the lessons should also help children access new learning.

How can teachers improve childen's fluency?

Teachers can focus on filling specific gaps in children's learning, but children's general number fluency is also likely to be a challenge this term when teaching new content. Extra focus on this is therefore recommended. Our series editor Josh Lury gave some advice on this in our recent webinar. Various Power Maths resources will also be valuable here, including the Power Ups and the Summer Home Editions (see questions above about new resources and existing resources that will help this term). If children have mastered their times tables this will be a great advantage in KS2 - for this we recommend Pinpoint Maths Times Tables (see above). 

Year 1

What advice is there for Y1 teachers, given they don't have all the same component types from the prior year?

Unfortunately teachers in Y1 can't access linked units from the prior year like Y2-6. However, term A of Y1 mostly focuses on numbers to 10. By taking this content steadily, teachers can aim to build a strong foundation for the year, even if children are not secure against ELGs. Content from Reception summer term is revisited later. 


Resources for home and using the allocation feature

Is there any support for children who can't come to school?

To support schools with Covid disruption, we are providing access to Power Maths resources via pupil logins for the autumn term (which would normally be an additional purchase). Teachers will be able to allocate e-textbooks, Power Ups, deepen activities and videos to children, which they can access in the Pupil World via their own login. Use the Help (top right corner in Active Learn) to see how to do this. See the sections on setting up your class and allocations in the teacher help menu.

We are also making a few lesson videos for each year group, which will appear on the Resources page (with Pupil Video as the 'Type').  These will aim to bring the pages to life by showing how to discuss the contexts etc. They will be similar to the examples we did for the BBC here.

How do you allocate resources to children?

You can use the Allocate button on the Resources page but you need pupils set up with logins. In Active Learn, go to Help in the top right, and then Teacher Help. The 'Setting up your school' section shows how to create and use pupil logins. In the 'Resources' section, see also 'Allocation'. 

Alternatively, you could watch these help videos: 

What if schools have to close again or operate with fewer children in class at once?

If schools have to cater for some children working at home, teachers can allocate e-textbooks and send home Practice Books, and we hope the videos will model how other lessons could come to life remotely.  If restrictions are introduced that effectively limit teaching time with each child, teachers would need to make decisions about which Power Maths content to prioritise and where to save time. Josh Lury offered some useful suggestions in our recent webinar (see recording) and the DfE Ready to Progress criteria will also be valuable.



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