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 in 25 schools during the academic year 2018/19, we extended the programme into a fully resourced scheme of work, and launched the Number Facts Fluency 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 developed our training programme, which is now an integral part of Number Sense Maths. We launched free introductory training webinars for all, and 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, many thousands through the course of a year, provides a constant source of feedback for us. This was particularly critical during the Covid pandemic, as the needs of schools fluctuated. Based on this feedback we extended our range of support materials to include daily factual fluency session plans for Years 1 – 3, guidance for mixed age schools, and guidance for using the programme in KS2 and beyond.
Our early adopter schools fed back to us that they were using our subitising animations as a focal point for teaching in Reception resulting in rich class discussions and hugely positive impact. With their help we developed and piloted the Early Years Number Sense Programme during Summer and Autumn Term 1 2021. Live from the beginning of Autumn Term 2, this programme has been designed in line with the "Educational Programme" for maths in the 2021 statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage.
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 listen very actively to our schools, and we develop our resources and guidance based on the feedback we receive. Our focus in 2021/22 will continue to be shaped by this.
Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about the programme.
Clare Christie and Clare Hawkins, October 2021