Numeracy process: end of year reflections

This year has been eventful in terms of the impact of Numeracy at my school.
I started off the year coaching teachers to use Numeracy in their lessons . Some did not need coaching at all as their confidence in using Numeracy was impressive.
The students were unfazed that it was part of their lesson; mainly because they use Numeracy (albeit implicitly) everyday. I wanted teachers to ‘traffic light’ areas where Numeracy would enhance the learning of the students. This is because our students forget some of the Maths they learn. See article here by William Emeny, (taken from New Theory of Disuse by Dr Bjork) perhaps because they do not see the relevance of what they are learning.
As teachers ( whether Maths or not) it is our duty to make the case for Maths and Numeracy .
As National Numeracy clearly showcases here, adults and students alike need the skills that Maths and Numeracy gives to enjoy excellent employment prospects .
With this in mind, I have proclaimed all year through staff briefing , 15-minute forum, conferences including our own Cabot Learning Federation conference in July , where I took part in the ‘I want to know’ sessions . My session was called Numeracy in every classroom. I was privileged to present to some prospective NQTs and encouraged them to put this on their agenda from day one of their teaching careers.
Next steps:

Set up a South West Numeracy hub; and plan my rescheduled Teachmeet on the back of this so that the impact would be bigger and far reaching than just in the locality of Bristol.
Accessing schemes of work in every department. I am committed to keeping Numeracy on the agenda in every department thereby ensuring that Numeracy has a place in Teaching and Learning at least twice in a sequence of lessons. How will I know this is successful ? I will observe lessons through a series of learning walks for each department after the scheme of work has been amended.
At some point during the year I would like the Performance Management lesson plan proforma to include Numeracy so that where applicable the teacher can show that Numeracy has been used.
Teachers will still access coaching before and after observations so that they are clear on how to make an impact with Numeracy so that their confidence level and that of our students continues to increase.



15 minute forum slides


15 minute forum slides. Technology teacher shared her lesson on Anthropometrics and discussed how numeracy was used


Anthropometrics lesson


Maths and music. Number and Algebra hand in hand.


15 minute forum today 8th May 2015 at Bristol Brunel Academy. Future Maths hub ? Yes please! Great turnout and fantastic feedback from staff.


I am very excited about the numeracy project I have leading here @BristolBrunel. My first blog was an introduction to what I had been doing so far.

I am committed to growing the project and hoping that it will take off in a meaningful way that will benefit more staff and hence students.

I have been pushing myself and others (with my requests for their time) in order that the project keeps growing.

“When you have momentum on your side, the future looks bright, and obstacles appear small. An organization with momentum is like a train that’s moving at sixty miles per hour” John Maxwell

I have shared my idea in an all staff briefing on the last week on Term 4, and I am due to share a 15 minute Forum on the importance of cross-curricular numeracy for our teachers and subsequently our students.

I am observing other teachers through Learning Walks. This week I observed a Technology teacher and her lesson was on designing and making a hat.

Students were encouraged to use the correct terminology. She was asking the right questions about why it was important to be accurate when measuring; and why was using millimetres better than using centimetres.

The students were engaged and interested, and their Oracy was excellent. I believe this teacher is confident is using Numeracy in here subject and it showed.

I learnt a new word; anthropometrics. And as always I am always excited to talk to the students about what they are doing in other lessons.

I met with a group of teachers on a Friday afternoon. Science , Technology , Music and History were represented .
The aim of the meeting was to get them thinking about how some Maths objectives could play a part in their lesson .
For example statistical objectives of drawing a bar chart , making predictions, and finding the average.
I found it interesting how a science teacher linked some of this objective to a non statistical aspect of science .
I had other objectives for them to review such as finding the nth term . A music teacher described a lesson that he did that week which I thought gives a very friendly nod to a maths objective such as finding a pattern  (otherwise known as finding the nth term ).
I did a forum the following Friday lunchtime and asked the teachers to show their annotations and bring a lesson where they have used any of these objectives . Number objectives were there as well , such as adding and subtracting fractions , being able to use long division and long multiplication .
I reiterated the vision : confidence the use maths and numeracy in your subject area .
Teachers were encourage to make mistakes in front of the children , as this improve confidence of the teachers and students. This creates a powerful leaning environment for both parties .
I personally have benefited from this . At my school I am encourage to take risks and I have enjoyed a steep learning curve and some useful information of what works and what does not .
A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new (Albert Einstein)
Keep the main thing the main thing – be confident to teach maths and numeracy in your subject area .

Continue reading

The main thing


Leaugue of Nations lesson


Pressure and moments lesson


Pressure and Moments lesson


League of Nations- students eager to finish the numeracy task and start compiling their arguments for who should be in the League of Nations


Pressure and moments lesson

I started a numeracy project at Bristol Brunel Academy last November after securing the TLR post for numeracy .

My vision was for every non-math specialist teacher to have confidence in teaching Maths and Numeracy in their subject area .

One of the painful things I have  heard during parents’ evening is when a mum says in front of her daughter that it is ok not be good at maths because of their own failure in the subject.

I have a passion for my subject; students always marvel at the fact that I spend all day teaching maths. I derive an insane amount of pleasure from it .

With this in mind, I take time to highlight the wonder and delights of other subjects with my students and always share my education experience with them.

I started by meeting with a science teacher and co-planned a couple of lessons on Pressure and Moments. Students were expected to use the formula to find a missing variable. Some were stretched to re-arrange the formula; a key skill that comes up regularly in Maths GCSE questions.

I also started meeting with a history teacher to follow the same model of coaching sessions after school. Initially we attempted to plan a WW1 lesson however we could not find the data necessary to introduce numeracy to that topic; it was too time consuming and was not readily available.

Then we started planning a Leaugue of Nations lesson, I must admit he had to explain the concept of this to me. I thought it odd that a country should make decisions without any economic merit. This is where the Maths and Numeracy came in.

In the League of Nations lesson, students were given a table with information such as: GDP ; GDP per capita; and Population . Their objective was to find which other G20 countries besides the ones already on the League of Nations, could join based on economic clout rather than being a country than went to war and won.

The history teacher commented that students did not ask why they were doing maths in a history lesson . Of course!

I plan to continue working with other teachers in this way. The end result being that students will expect to see maths and numeracy across the academy and engage with it . Furthermore that teachers will want to include it in their subject area and be confident and enabled to do so. This should lead to improved attainment for our students and encourage a high aspirations culture in maths and numeracy across the academy.

The main thing- confidence to teach maths and numeracy in your subject area.