Primary Headteacher Update – Spring 2019

Caroline Holder, Jane George, Jenny Hart, Karen Lawley, Vanessa Brown and Wendy Precious are all highly experienced, knowledgeable consultants; qualified teachers; DBS checked and fully insured with a proven track record of working with schools to strengthen subject knowledge and pedagogy – thus improving outcomes for learners in Mathematics, English, Science and PE.

This meeting will give you as a HT an overview of the latest developments in mathematics, English, science, PE and assessment as well as key questions to discuss with your subject leaders back in school.
Click on this link for timings and programme.

Network Meetings – Now booking!

Inspiring Maths works in conjunction with Jenny Hart, Karen Lawley and Wendy Precious to deliver termly network meetings in Burton, Tamworth and Lichfield to develop and inform subject leadership in English, maths and science. These affordable and valuable meetings will inform subject leaders about the latest national and local developments and give a real opportunity to network and share practice at a cost of £50 per person.  Contact me for more details. We will encourage reflection on your own setting and your next steps. Click on the location for dates and times.

TAMWORTH Spring 2019

LICHFIELD Spring 2019

BURTON Spring 2019

Times Tables

Many schools are targeting times tables recall this year with the potential opportunity to trial the Multiplication Tables Check (MTC) this academic year before it becomes statutory in summer 2020.

I’ve been delivering Times Tables CPD in schools this term and reminding colleagues about the importance of the teaching of times tables sitting alongside the testing of times tables. Many schools are buying into TTR – Times Tables Rockstars – which is a real motivator for many children to develop their quick recall.

But let’s remember about teaching time tables as well, thinking about the key teaching points of repeated addition, commutativity, related facts, inverse and fact families. Using manipulatives can highlighted many of these key features.

I have also been showing the ATM clip of Jill Mansergh teaching a large group of student teachers the x17 tables. My delegates have been watching this open mouthed, often reluctant to join in at first then unable to resist by the end. One teacher asked a great question after watching it: “does it work for any table?”. We then proceeded to practice with a counting stick using the table of their choice (most chose x7). If you have never seen this clip or haven’t for a long time, I strongly advise that you look it up on YouTube

Interested in finding out more….

For more details and to book your place, please visit:


Seeking out the maths …..


I’ve spent this summer in Portugal travelling from north to south. It’s really amazing just how much mathematics you do encounter along the way when you’re looking with your ‘maths eyes’. There is a great deal of Moorish architecture in both Portugal and Spain and the Portuguese were great explorers and mathematicians. I just love the fact that a city, in this case Coimbra near Porto, has a ‘Mathematical Road’.

So I’m always on the lookout for mathematical images and interesting stimuli that I can use as part of CPD. I think they can also form a great (and easy) working wall with pupils encouraged to contribute their mathematical questions via post-it notes. Pupils can then follow a line of inquiry that is of interest to them. Sometimes there isn’t an answer and that’s ok too.


Pictures are a great stimulus for mathematical discussion and differentiation can be achieved vary easily by varying the complexity of the question posed or discussed.

Tiling and architecture are often symmetrical and provide a good starting point. The top left is a window that demonstrates both reflective and rotational symmetry. On the lower right, we could discuss repeating patterns, sequences, arrays or symmetry. On the lower left, we have a tessellation and could discuss angles and therefore the properties of shapes.

On the top right is a great grate that I happened across in Sintra, near Lisbon and couldn’t resist taking a photo of it. Assuming that the triangles are contained within a square, what other angles can you calculate? What other assumptions have you made?

Using Numicon and Other Concrete Resources to Develop Secure Understanding

Tuesday 11 September  09:00-12:00

This course is aimed at teachers and TAs and will discuss the concrete, pictorial and abstract approach and why it is so important for teachers to use manipulatives in the classroom at both KS1 and KS2.

We will explore how different manipulatives (Numicon, Multilink cubes, counters, bead strings, Cuisenaire rods, counting sticks, place value cards, hundred squares, digit cards, dice, dominoes) can support conceptual understanding in the primary classroom as well as being developed to be used as a reasoning tool.

For more details and to book, please go to go to


Meeting a Maths Hero at Maths Hub Conference


On 5 July, I had the pleasure of delivering a workshop at the NCETM  North Midlands Peak, Central and Salop & Herefordshire Maths Hub Secondary Conference at the University of Wolverhampton, Walsall campus . My session was a highlights version of the work group work I have been carrying out this academic year on Challenging Topics at GCSE for the North Mids Maths Hub. The topic we have been exploring has bee ratio and proportion starting off with the question – “ratio and proportion, what’s the same and what’s different?”



Of course the big highlight for me was meeting my maths hero Johnny Ball so I of course couldn’t resist a selfie along with Prime Maths Solutions. Johnny is still passionate about mathematics and gave a great lecture on the history of mathematics with a couple of ideas that I can’t wait to try out with 


Upcoming CPD for mathematics

It’s all go at this time of year. We are in the middle of exam season having gone through end of KS2 SATs, completed end of KS1 SATs and then the last GCSE mathematics paper yesterday. You feel like you have some give in the timetable to start getting ready for next year but before you know it, it’s the end of term and you haven’t done half of the jobs you intended to.

I do have some CPD coming up before the end of term that might be of interest to you and/or your school. There now may be that opportunity to release you from your class. Go to for further details and booking.

North Midlands and Peak Maths Hub Conference – 5 July 2018

I never thought I would be in a position of being able to say that I am speaking at the same event as Johnny Ball but yes I will be. Johnny and I will both be speaking at the NCETM North Midlands and Peak Maths Hub Conference for Secondary and FE colleagues on Thursday 5 July 2018 at the Walsall Campus of Wolverhampton University. Well he’ll be delivering the keynote and I’ll be delivering a workshop of my work as a work group lead for exploring ‘Challenging topics at GCSE’. The focus of this work group has been ratio and proportion across both KS3 and 4 and I’ll be sharing some of the ideas and activities we have been exploring.

See this flyer for more details and use this link for booking your free place.

Johnny and I hope to see you there! 

Using Numicon and other concrete resources to develop secure understanding in fractions

Thursday 21st June 2018, 9:00am – 12:00pm

This course is aimed at teachers and TAs and will discuss the CPA approach and why it is so important for teachers to use manipulatives in the classroom at both KS1 and 2 particularly when working with fractions. Learners often find fractions a tricky topic and apparatus can allow for learners to demonstrate a deeper understanding. 

We will explore how different manipulatives (Numicon, Multilink cubes, counters, bead strings, Cuisenaire rods, counting sticks, dice, dominoes) can support conceptual understanding in fractions in the primary setting. 


Course Content:

  • To gain an understanding of how to make best use of manipulatives in the classroom when teaching fractions. 
  • To experience activities that allow learners to express themselves mathematically using apparatus.
  • To consider the use of resources such as Numicon as part of a CPA approach for teaching fractions.

To book your place, please visit