Spotlight On: Maths – Learning the Fundamentals

Maths is a core part of the curriculum here at Marlborough College Malaysia, and there is a strong focus on creating both enjoyment and success for pupils in the subject, starting with learning the fundamentals in our Pre-Prep School.  


Establishing a solid base of numeracy skills is essential so our Pre-Prep maths curriculum is made up of four key areas: number, measurement, geometry, and statistics. When working with young learners, it is crucial to avoid rushing into more advanced skills, as this can lead to gaps in their understanding that may hinder future learning. That’s why every lesson begins with a fun starter activity aimed at encouraging quick and precise recall of number facts. Our beaks also adopt a ‘hands-on’ approach so children can touch and interact with mathematical concepts for example, pupils learn about money through a pretend shop and explore 2D and 3D shapes on the school grounds, encouraging them to link their maths skills to the real world. This ensures that each child grasps the concepts thoroughly before progressing onto the next stage. 


Learning Enrichment and Maths Specialist beak Mrs McGlinchey said, “Maths is built on foundation – the stronger the base, the more secure the learning will be as children progress through the Prep School.  It is important to distinguish between knowledge (how to solve a problem)  and understanding (what are we achieving by solving the problem?)  Real world maths is not based on theoretical knowledge, rather it is being able to identify what the problem is and then working out a solution to it.”


Once pupils move up to the Prep and Senior School there is an emphasis on cultivating a growth mindset, enabling pupils to make mistakes and persevere in the face of challenges and setbacks. 


Head of Prep Maths, Mr Baxter said, “”Embracing mistakes in mathematics is not a setback but a stepping stone towards mastery. By encountering challenges and overcoming them, children cultivate a deep-seated affection for the subject. Each error is a lesson, each hurdle a chance to grow, fostering a resilient love for mathematics that flourishes with every problem solved.”


This approach allows pupils to develop into confident mathematicians and there are ample opportunities for them to nurture their passion for the subject. Events like the Aims Maths Challenge,  our own House Maths Challenges and most recently the Prep School’s Maths fixture with Repton this week, offer a way to engage with the subject in a fun and stimulating way, to appreciate the beauty of numbers and problem-solving.


With a solid understanding of the fundamentals of Maths, pupils are well prepared when they transition to more formal Maths lessons and more importantly, are able to use their skills in their day to day lives.


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