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D R A G O N S T O D AY S U MM E R 2 0 1 6

Maths: A New Revolution

‘Modern’ Maths is quite different from

maths of the old days, explains Head of

Maths, Emily Macmillan.

“These days,

everyone has a calculator with them at all

times - in the form of a mobile phone- so

being able to do long division is just not

as necessary now as it used to be.”

But a quiet revolution is taking

place at the Dragon, to ensure

that this mindset is changing...

Emily has a doctorate from Oxford

University in Mathematics Education,

a Masters in Educational Research

Methodology (Oxford), a PGCE (Oxford),

and degree in Mathematics from Imperial

College. She leads a team of specialists

who range from primary to secondary

trained teachers who all have the children’s

best interests at heart.

Emily explains that these days, it is much

more important for children to be able

to compute in their heads, have a good

understanding of numbers and be able

to apply techniques to solve real-life


True to the Dragon ethos of providing a

safe and happy learning environment that

enables children to develop their unique

gifts and talents, they are taught in three

broad groups, ranging from smaller classes

where they get more one-on-one support,

eople think maths is a bit

like Marmite – you either

love it or hate it. But a

quiet revolution is taking place

at the Dragon to ensure that this

mindset is changing - by making

the subject practical and useful

rather than simply a set of learnt

techniques that are reproduced

without understanding.

through to groups where children are

encouraged to explore concepts in more

depth and at their own pace. However, be

assured that all children – whatever their

ability - cover the same core curriculum;

it’s just that those who grasp concepts

and techniques more quickly focus on

using and applying them in increasingly

challenging problems.

Problems are often differentiated by

outcome; in other words, different

children are afforded different learning

opportunities from the same problem.

We teach every child about perseverance,

working systematically, and recording

and communicating their thinking. Some

will, of course, go beyond these learning

objectives, improving their algebra skills,

learning about formal mathematical

proof, abstracting their ideas to different



problems and posing their own questions.

Other children will need more help to get

started and often the classroom teacher will

scaffold their work by providing hints and

suggestions about how to get started.

We want children to be resilient learners

and to realise that the process is more

important than the product in Maths.

“We’re rarely interested in the answer to

a problem,”

she says.

“In fact, I often give

children the answer to their prep before

they take it home as it is the process of

trying to find the answer that is of interest,

and it is this that grows children’s brains!”

The curriculum is written in such

a way that a child who show

great interest and aptitude in the

subject can explore ideas in great

depth, go “off piste” and learn

other areas of Maths...

The teachers use as many hands-on

resources as possible to illustrate the

real-life nature of Maths as well as using

different teaching aids such as mini-

whiteboards, physical activities and ICT to

assess understanding and give immediate

feedback to children.

Maths is taught in a very practical way

and children get to use and apply their

knowledge in real life contexts, such as