In 2017 we started writing Number Sense Maths with the idea of developing the phonics equivalent for maths: a systematic and structured number fact teaching programme that would free children from being reliant on counting in ones to calculate. A key starting point was an article Clare C wrote on achieving fluency in addition and subtraction facts for the NCETM Primary Magazine. This was based on her research and classroom observations over the previous 10 years, including maths lesson observations in Shanghai.
There is a wealth of research evidence telling us about the mathematical development of young children. Our aim has been to use this understanding, along with our experience teaching maths and maths teachers, and parenting young children through KS1 and beyond, to develop a highly visual number facts teaching programme, led by content not technology, that is straightforward for teachers and parents, achieves results for children, and enables communication and engagement between schools and families. We believe Number Sense Maths does just that, providing all children with solid foundations for a lifelong enjoyment of maths and confidence with number.
Following a successful pilot of the approach in 25 schools during the academic year 2018/19, we extended the programme into a fully resourced scheme of work, and launched the Number Sense Maths programme to all UK schools in January 2020 through our online Teacher Portal. The feedback has been hugely positive. Schools have told us they find it easy to understand and implement, and most importantly that they can see real improvements in children’s number sense and factual fluency within a couple of weeks of starting the programme.
Through the 2020/21 school year we have developed our training, which is an integral part of the programme. We launched our free introductory training webinars which are open to all, and soon after introduced free coaching sessions for teachers & TAs at subscribing schools. January 2021 saw the first cohorts of our in-depth training course.
We have really enjoyed meeting everyone who attends our PD sessions. This twice weekly contact with so many teachers and TAs from around the country, several thousand through the course of this year, provides a constant source of feedback for us and the programme. This has been particularly critical over this Covid period, as the needs of schools have fluctuated through the year. As a result we have extended the range of support materials we provide to include daily factual fluency session plans for Years 1 – 3. Based on feedback from schools who have dipped into Number Sense in Reception, we will be providing more materials and guidance for all schools to use in Reception from Autumn 2.
Alongside Number Sense, Clare C is still a teacher in Bristol, so the programme is firmly rooted in a day to day understanding of what is happening on the ground, and what teachers want and need. Clare H works full time from Somerset supporting schools with Number Sense Maths. Together we continue to listen very actively to our schools, and develop the materials and support we provide based on the feedback we receive. Our focus in 2021/22 will be shaped by this.
Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about the programme.
Clare Christie and Clare Hawkins, June 2021