New Skills during Covid 19

This strange situation that we all find ourselves in have I suppose had some advantages….. I try to look for the positives! We are all learning new skills – whether it be baking banana bread or growing vegetables. This lockdown has given me the opportunity to learn new skills. I had never even heard of Zoom in February but now I’m trying to get be head around scheduling meetings and organising breakout rooms! My network meetings will be taking place virtually and I’m looking forward to ‘seeing’ you all.

Another new skills I have been acquiring is the use of Padlet. This was in response to a subject leader contacting me about CPD for her staff during this terrible situation. I’ve organised some ideas which you may wish to share with your staff. Password: MATHS

Primary Network Meetings: Spring 2020

I almost made it to the end of the spring term mathematics network meetings. Unfortunately due to the current situation, I was unable to deliver at the meeting for Uttoxeter schools. As always, we discussed a whole range of issue both at a national level and more local one. Ofsted deep dives, EEF report Improving Mathematics in EYs/KS1 and the MTC were key topics of discussion.

We discussed resources that we finding useful and I shared the Swimming in Maths website. We discussed the maths in this picture and then went onto explore the links between square and triangular numbers.

In addition, we explored the NCETM Primary Mastery PD materials, in particular unit 2.6 quotitive and partitive division. Lots of discussion about the language of multiplication and division – when do you introduce the language of dividend, divisor and quotient?

Hopefully, we can resume network meetings in June. I have time to look into alternative methods of delivery.

Keep safe and healthy.

10 things to do with …..

My latest resources are the first in a series of activity booklets: ’10 things to do with Numicon’ and ’10 things to do with Times Tables’.

10 things to do with Numicon – Based on a concrete-pictorial-abstract approach, Numicon encourages children to explore mathematics using structured imagery and apparatus in order to understand and explain mathematical concepts. Numicon is a flexible tool which can be used in different ways as you progress from year 1 to year 6. In KS1 it is often used as a calculating tool but can be used to develop problem solving as you progress into KS2. These 10 Numicon activities can be used with children in KS1 and 2. Many of activities for two or more children and encourage children to problem solve and generalise.

10 things to do with Times Tables – Times tables recall is a real focus in primary schools with the introduction of the Multiplication Times Tables Check (MTC). Recall is important but the teaching of times tables is also important. These 10 activities give opportunities for children to develop their recall as well as exploring links between representations and looking for patterns in the tables. Although resources such as playing cards are suggested, alternatives have also been given as well as extensions. These activities are aimed at KS2 children.

To download either resource, just visit www.teachcr.com/shop and add to your cart. Each resource can be downloaded for a cost of £3.00 each title.

Coming soon: 10 things to do with Dominoes ………

Primary Network Meetings

Primary Network meetings are now open for booking. These take place in Lichfield, Tamworth and Burton during November, March and June. Find out what’s new in your subject whether it be mathematics, English or science. They are delivered by subject experts – Vanessa Brown, Karen Lawley, Jenny Hart and Wendy Precious. As always, there will be plenty of opportunities to network, share ideas and discuss school priorities.

To book your place, just drop me an email. For more details, see the fliers below.

New resources for Autumn

Over the summer holidays, I have been working on putting resource packs together to aid planning. My first pack is now available: 10 Fun Maths Games to Use in the Classroom.

sample game

Learning to play a game is an important social skill for children to gain. It can also give a good opportunity to develop fluency in their mathematics. These games will practise bonds to 5, 10 and 20 as well as giving the opportunity to rehearse subtraction, multiplication and division skills.

Each game could be enlarged onto an A3 paper and laminated to give a longer shelf life. Additional equipment may be needed such as dice, counters and whiteboard pens. For some children you may want to provide additional manipulatives such as dienes or Numicon.

The games are aimed at children in years 1 – 4 and to sharpen skills in Upper Key Stage 2. They are suitable for pairs or small groups under the guidance of an additional adult. They can also be used at home with parents and carers to develop family numeracy.

To download this pack, just visit www.teachcr.com/shop and add it to your cart.

Planning for Autumn term 2019

Summer holidays means one thing …… thinking about the autumn term.

In the new Ofsted Inspection framework taking effect in September 2019 it highlights the importance of mathematical subject knowledge.

the school has taken steps to ensure that all teachers of mathematics, including non-specialist teachers of mathematics, have sufficient mathematical and teaching content knowledge to deliver the topics they teach effectively

Ofsted Inspection Framework: September 2019 Para 287

I am offering a range of subject specific CPD across Staffordshire at various locations as part of the work I do with Teachers’ Resources and Courses (TCR) and formerly Rob Snaith Consultancy. You can book your place by visiting TCR’s website and book your place on line.

Summer Primary Network Meetings

It was great to catch up with mathematics subject leaders during the summer term. For me, it is great that we are really focusing on mathematical pedagogy and leaders were able to celebrate their achievements and acknowledge their next steps. We discussed the 2019 key stage 1 and 2 SAT questions that caused confusion, disbelief and a range of other emotions. the early algebra of this key stage 1 questions intrigued me. Many schools who have used Solve Emoji said there children were not phased by this.

Of course, I had to pick Adam and his rectangle as this caused a huge furore on Twitter. This question split the room; love it or hate it. A great question to use in the classroom to discuss strategies and explore other rectangles.

We discussed children’s and teacher’s responses to the Multiplication Tables Check (MTC). Many teachers feel that Times Tables Rockstars (TTR) is making a real difference to children’s recall of times tables facts and was the most popular initiative that leaders celebrated.

As usual we have explored what’s happening in White Rose Land and no subject leader meeting would miss the opportunity to discuss all things Numberblocks. As one Cannock subject leader said to me “all you seem to do is watch Numberblocks and play with Playdoh!”

Such is the life of a maths consultant. 🙂

Dates for the autumn term are being finalised and meetings will be ready to book in September. Have a great summer holiday and don’t forget to look for something mathematical and take a picture of it,

NCETM WM Conference

I have the great pleasure speaking and again leading a session at the NCETM West Midlands conference on Tuesday 2 July 2019 at the Walsall Campus of the University of Wolverhampton. No Johnny Ball this year, however I will still be going for the selfie with Mr Kangaroo Maths himself Steve Lomax. Watch this space – those of you who have attended by CPD sessions know how much I like Kenny’s Pouch.

The day will bring together teachers from all over the West Midlands with some great sessions exploring mastery delivered by a range of specialists will be part of the day’s programme. So hope to see you there.

To book your place, please follow this link.

Summer Term Network Meetings 2019

Preparation is already afoot for the planning of summer term network meetings for mathematics, English and science. In addition to our meetings delivering within clusters of schools, we also offer meetings in Lichfield (am), Tamworth (am) and Burton (pm). These take place within the school day. Meetings are delivered by either Vanessa Brown or Karen Lawley (maths), Jenny Hart (English) or Wendy Precious (science).


To book your place at just £50 per person, just email me with your name, school and choice of venue.

The summer term is a great time to evaluate this academic year as well as starting to make plans for the next one. Whichever provider you choose, being updated as to the latest developments is an essential part of a core curriculum leadership role. These meetings provide an ideal opportunity to network with other colleagues from schools in your area.

Summer Mathematics Courses 2019

It’s that time of year when we have every intention of getting ready for September and the new academic year. So you may want to start considering CPD needs for your staff. The proposed Ofsted framework for September 2019 highlights the importance of mathematical subject knowledge.

the school has taken steps to ensure that all teachers of mathematics, including non-specialist teachers of mathematics, have sufficient mathematical and teaching content knowledge to deliver the topics they teach effectively

Paragraph 297

As a result, my CPD sessions in 2019 – 2020 will focus on developing subject knowledge as well continuing to address the mastery agenda. As you can see above I am offering a new subject knowledge session on Place Value as well as familiar titles of bar modelling and manipulatives. I continue to work with Rob Snaith Consultancy around the Staffordshire offering interactive and thought provoking professional development. For further details or to book your place, please visit robsnaith.co.uk.