Improving progress in Mathematics is a priority here at Knowle and as such last year, we visited Vauxhall Primary School in London, to observe a new, exciting and powerful Maths programme -that had been created and was accelerating children’s progress. Number Masters© is a unique two-year programme created by mathematics teachers in the Oval Cluster (a cluster of nine primary schools in Lambeth), aimed at the development of number mastery and fluency in Key Stage 1. The number and calculation skills covered are taken from the 2014 National Curriculum for Mathematics. The programme ensures that mastery is achieved at the end of each unit through practical, easy to plan, engaging, and age-relevant activities.
Each lesson in the Number Masters© programme is taught to a small group of pupils, maximum of 8, by a class teacher or teaching assistant, for 15 minutes a day, five days a week. This is to ensure that children’s engagement with numbers is intensive and consistent, with the proven effectiveness of small-group work, using scripted materials. Assessment activities happen at the end of each week, where children's successes are celebrated.
The key features of the Number Masters© programme are:
- Lessons, designed by teachers for teachers and teaching assistants, are aimed at achieving mastery and computational fluency by focusing on frequent, short and snappy lessons.
- Proven effectiveness of small- group work using scripted materials.
- Practical activities using resources that engage, stimulate and evaluate thinking.
- Fulfils the requirements of the 2014 National Mathematics curriculum for Key Stage 1.
How Effective is Number Masters©?
Recent independent action research and our own experience to date confirms the effectiveness of the Number Masters© materials in developing children’s number skills and computational fluency in Key Stage 1. In addition to the significant gains made by pupils, the following observations were also noted by teachers and teaching assistants who have implemented the programme:
- There is a massive improvement in children’s automatic and rapid retrieval of facts as they answered questions with ease.
- Children’s engagement with mathematics is heightened as they have more opportunities to participate given that they learn in small groups.
- Mastery is facilitated not by repetition but by varied activities and by manipulation of practical equipment, while working on the same objective.
- Children show high levels of mathematical confidence as the activities are planned in small steps, aimed at pupils’ feeling of and attainment of success.
- Each Number Masters© session creates a learning buzz in the classroom, with all the adults working with small groups of children who display focus, enthusiasm, and engagement.
- Pupils who were taught using the Number Masters© materials showed enormous progress in their number skills, some achieving more than one national curriculum level.