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Broadbent Maths
Broadbent Maths - creative primary maths

How do I manage teaching maths to a mixed age class with a wide ability range?

I am based in Lincolnshire where there are many small schools with mixed age teaching – the last class I taught was a Y4/5 mixed age class so I know the difficulties. However, differentiation is obviously an issue in most single age classrooms too and having a mixed age just makes you have to use strategies to target the different abilities.  

Keeping the overall maths focus the same across the years, with clear objectives and an eye on the lines of progression are key to managing the maths. The Broadbent Maths Menu matches the maths topics between years, so Y1/2, Y3/4 and Y5/6, having corresponding units that can be taught together. I suggest teachers look at pairs of Unit Planning templates to see the objectives, Success Criteria and AfLs side by side. 
Teaching maths around a context is a good way to bring a class together with a common purpose when in fact children may be focussing on different age-expected tasks. Problems and simple starting points linked to the context can be extended and provide challenge for the different abilities.
Probably the biggest help are the Small Step Progression Charts. These highlight what needs to be revisited if a child needs more support and the next step when they are ready to move on, wherever they are working in relation to their age. Each year has the appropriate steps of progression within the Unit Planning Template shown in bold and the steps from the years above and below. Have the progression chart for a given maths area with you when planning and while you are teaching to fine tune the appropriate step for the different abilities in your class.
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