(If you have encountered a problem with the functioning of the digital tool and need support, please contact us using the Technical Support Form)

Who should be the Maths Lead and what will that involve?

The Maths Lead will usually be the maths subject leader or teacher in a similar role within a school and is vital in supporting the Learning Partner to successfully deliver the Maths Counts programme. The Maths Lead will be responsible for using school data to select pupils, carry out the recommended Sandwell pre and post tests and carry out the Diagnostic lessons at the start of each intervention cycle. The Maths Lead will also deliver a minimum four CPD sessions to Learning Partners over the first cycle of Maths Counts. Guidance for these CPD sessions can be found under Resources for Maths Leads on the website. Crucially they will act as a mentor and first point of reference to support the Learning Partner.

Who is a Learning Partner?

The Learning Partner is the adult that works with the Learner on a day to day basis, with the in-school support of the Maths Lead. The Learning Partner will be an appropriately trained adult working regularly in school and is most likely to be a teaching assistant or teacher.

Who is the Learner?

At the current Pilot and Trial stages of this research programme, KS2 pupils at greatest risk of not achieving age related expectations in mathematics are selected for the programme, specifically those not achieving the year 2 programme of study. There is further guidance for selection under Resources for Maths Leads on the website.

What can children ‘miss’ to do Maths Counts?  i.e. Should they come out of class during maths or other lessons?

This will depend entirely on the needs of the individual Learner and the preferences of the school. Consideration should be given to issues such as whether or not the Learner is successfully accessing class maths lessons. If not, for all or some maths lessons, then perhaps time is best spent on Maths Counts. If a learner is to leave class during other subjects, consideration should be given to how this will feel for the Learner. Are they always “missing” a favourite subject? Are they given a few minutes of support to re-engage with a class lesson if they return part way through? The “gold standard” would be a rolling two weekly timetable for the intervention lessons (i.e. the same class lesson is not missed each week) but it is recognised that this can be challenging to timetable.

What evidence will we have for success of the programme?

Schools will continue with their own assessment procedures. In addition, the Sandwell Early Numeracy Test is suggested as a pre and post intervention assessment tool, carried out by the Maths Lead and giving a progress score in terms of “number age gain” for the intervention. For the Trial phase of Maths Counts, the evaluation team at Durham University also require a one-off test at the end of the programme.

How do we ensure that we create independence rather than dependency?

A key feature of the Maths Counts programme is that we support and encourage ‘learning to learn’ behaviours.  This means that Learners will be encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning, understanding for example ‘why’ they are learning a particular skill, how their own attitude to learning can affect their success and what helps them to learn or can be a barrier for them. Throughout the programme, and particularly in the Exit Phase, Learning Partners will make links with learning in the classroom, for example in encouraging the Learner to independently use those manipulatives or visual images they have found useful in Maths Counts during class maths lessons too.

What planning is required for the lessons?

Maths Counts is designed to be a ‘one-stop-shop’ meaning that a wide range of tried and tested activities are readily available and easily accessible on the digital tool. This means that planning time is kept to a minimum. Following the Diagnostic Lessons at the start of the programme, information about each Learner is entered in to their own profile on the tool and this effectively creates a personalised “next steps” Learning Plan with clear, achievable objectives. After each lesson, the Learning Partner will need a minimum of 10 minutes to reflect on the needs of the Learner and to select appropriate activities, within a given lesson structure, for the next lesson. Lessons are planned one by one, building on the lesson before. Class teachers and Maths Leads are asked to support the Learning Partner with guidance and perhaps additional planning time, particularly in the early stages of “their” first cycle of Maths Counts.

Can two children work together?

Experience shows that those Learners with the greatest need at KS2 have very disparate needs and are best taught one to one on a personalised programme.

How many Learning Partners and Maths Leads can there be in one school?

This depends entirely on the needs and resources of each school but is it suggested that any setting has a minimum of two Learning Partners and one Maths Lead. This allows for on-going mutual professional support and dialogue.

How should we organise our Maths Counts learning space?

Each Learning Partner/Learner will need a small, quiet working space, which can be both personalised and available reliably for each lesson. This minimises disruption during the lesson and ensures that the full 30 minutes allocated for each lesson is used as learning time rather than for searching for a space/setting up/tidying away etc. A comprehensive list of the key resources required is available on the Maths Counts website, some of which are downloadable. These should be assembled before the intervention starts and made available for every lesson. Where a fixed display board for personalised models and images is not readily available, a personalised “privacy board/screen” has been found to be extremely effective, both to identify and enclose a learning space and to allow the personalised display resources to be portable when necessary.

Is there a plan for families to access the digital tool at home?

Yes. Each Learner will have access both at school and at home to a personalised screen on the digital tool. From this screen pupils/parents/carers can be directed by the Learning Partner to suggested home learning activities which will both celebrate and consolidate learning going on in school.

Can Learners have more than one cycle of Maths Counts?

Yes, if required and resources can be allocated. It is suggested however that each cycle of approximately 3 months is “ring fenced” and evaluated/celebrated in terms of progress for the individual Learner, rather than simply “carrying on” indefinitely.

How does a Learner “leave” the programme?

Exit from a cycle of Maths Counts needs to managed sensitively for the Learner. Please see the suggested “Managing Exit” Guidelines under Resources (Maths Leads and Learning Partners) on the website.

Where do I go for help if I have a problem with the digital tool

If you experience a technical problem with the digital tool, please complete the Technical Support Form, including as much information as possible about the problem.