How do we evaluate our work?

All our workgroups are fully evaluated using structures devised by the NCETM and often with the help of external experts. We work as a team and support each other to develop as leaders of professional development.

Project workgroup coordinated by Caroline Hamilton

TAs are important partners in a pupil’s learning journey, and the better we support them with great training, the more they can achieve. This project set out to give TAs practical experience in using all kinds of concrete manipulatives to bring maths to life.

The project

Around 60 TAs from 30 primary schools across the region met fortnightly for a full afternoon’s workshop. Focusing on place value, each delegate took part in hands-on, practical sessions on how to use a plethora of manipulatives for interventions as well as pre- and post-assessment. Between each workshop, and using the Hub lesson plans provided, the TAs would deliver four sessions with a small group of pupils, bringing back their experiences and observations to discuss at the workshops.

Each participating school also received a box of handy manipulatives to use in their classrooms, and a number of the schools followed up by providing manipulatives for the whole school.

 The outcomes

All pupils taking part in the programme completed pre- and post- assessments, and the results showed that every pupil made significant progress, with an average improvement of 103% – a tremendously exciting outcome.

The feedback from the TA delegates was fabulous… Delegates commented that the programme gave them fresh ideas for interventions and resources in their own schools. They noted that in subsequent lessons, their pupils showed greater confidence and more readily used concrete manipulatives to solve difficult problems.

Project coordinated by Steph Kirk

As Carol Dweck’s seminal work on mindsets has highlighted, a major issue in maths is that pupils often see the subject as irrelevant to their daily lives. Set in the fabulous surroundings of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP), this project allowed primary pupils to discover the magic of maths in all sorts of unexpected, real-life places.

The project

Led by Steph, this event brought together 250 primary pupils from eight schools to participate in a trail of fun and absorbing activities around the glorious YSP. The activities were based around different sculptures, such as the array of Zak Ove’s 80 identical two-metre tall statues. The pupils’ task was to follow the trail and discover the answers to a series of intriguing questions, all of which explored the many mathematical concepts that play a part in everyday life.

The outcomes 

Enthusiasm for maths was a key objective, and it was uplifting to see the pupils’ excitement at discovering maths in the sculptures and other locations around the Park.  All the schools gave very positive feedback after the event and the day was a huge success – one that we’d like to run again for other school groups. We’ve also made our Teacher booklets and Student booklets available as free downloads at, an offer which has proved extremely popular.

Maybe other schools could create their own trails in this or different settings… These activities are a perfect way of combining homework with family days out, too.

Project workgroup coordinated by Emma Davison

Seabourne (2006) found that SKE courses led to “improvements in subject knowledge, attitude, understanding and confidence” and that student evaluations found an “awareness of the importance of understanding the subject in depth and making connections; the value of collaborative working; enjoyment of engagement in mathematical activity”

This Work Group aimed to help maths leads and primary teachers improve their knowledge of primary mathematics content (subject knowledge) with a particular emphasis on mathematical structures in key areas. Participants also developed their understanding of the background pedagogy (how children learn maths) so that their teaching can be more effective. Approaches explored during the Work Group were consistent with teaching for mastery.

The project

Around 26 maths leads and teachers from 13 primary schools across the region met fortnightly for a full afternoon’s workshop. Focusing on specific domains of the primary maths curriculum. Each delegate took part in hands-on, collaborative and practical sessions which set about developing their subject-matter and pedagogical knowledge for each area of the primary maths curriculum.

Between each workshop, participants would complete gap tasks which further developed their knowledge and understanding of concepts covered in each workshop. This allowed participants time to implement theory into practice and share what they had learnt with colleagues back in their own settings.

The outcomes

Participants completed a pre and post questionnaire about their confidence and subject knowledge surrounding the 5 big ideas of teaching for mastery, subject matter knowledge for specific areas of the primary maths curriculum and how to teach these areas using a CPA approach to promote depth of understanding. 100% of participants expressed significant improvement in their confidence levels and understanding in relation to the five big ideas of teaching for mastery; particularly variation theory and the importance of representation and structure.

The ongoing evaluation and feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive. They described increased levels of knowledge, understanding and confidence; a new found love and passion for teaching maths; observations of first-hand, positive impact on children’s understanding within their own lessons; and the tools to lead whole school change.

Project workgroup coordinated by Rebecca Holland

The current focus of NCETM work on teaching for mastery has been aimed at Primary / Secondary age phases. This has led to schools and practitioners questioning what a teaching for mastery approach might mean for younger children and how to adapt the current curriculum to support effective transition from Reception to Year 1. The work undertaken in this NCP seeks to ensure firm mathematical foundations are developed and embedded ready for Year 1 learning and beyond.

The project

Around 12 teachers along with their teaching assistants / nursery nurses from 14 primary schools across the region met 4 times over the academic year. This Work Group aimed to ensure that Early Years practitioners have an awareness of the key concepts in Early Years maths provision and the opportunity to study the concepts of Cardinality, Composition, Change and Comparison in greater detail. These concept were explored and developed through a focus on developing practitioner’s subject knowledge, how to plan for the small steps in learning including how to challenge, how to develop these concepts in provision across the setting and how to ensure professional learning is developed across all staff members in the setting.

Between each workshop, participants would complete gap tasks which further developed their knowledge and understanding of concepts covered in each workshop. This allowed participants time to implement theory into practice and share what they had learnt with colleagues back in their own settings. There was also the opportunity to observe teaching and view provision in another setting.

The outcomes

In the final session, participants delivered a short presentation about how the workgroup had impacted on their setting, subject knowledge and practice. Participants completed a post questionnaire about their confidence and subject knowledge and impact on the outcomes of the children in their settings. 100% of the participants said that the work group met/fully met the intended outcomes around professional learning and that their subject knowledge around the key concepts had improved significantly through being part of the work group.

100% of the feedback said that the work group participants had begun to implement recommendations within their setting. Participants also fed back about the impact in school on data and commented on the rise in attainment in maths / GLD and children being ‘year 1 ready’. Many practitioners explained how the children are now able to articulate their mathematical understanding more accurately and are keen to show multiple representations of numbers and the concepts explored.One participant said:

As an experienced early years practitioner, I have found that my subject knowledge around the small steps in Maths has been developed much further than I anticipated and my confidence to add the skills learned to the provision has grown. I feel that the project has benefited the staff in my EY team in their confidence, subject knowledge and pedagogy and has benefited the children in their approach to Mathematics and deeper thinking.  The children are now speaking in full sentences when talking about Mathematical concepts and using reasoning to support their answers.