2017 Number.bee: All School Times Table Championship

We are very proud to be working with Caddington Village School to bring you the Second Annual Number.Bee Competition.

  • enter your best times tabling pupil
  • compete against other schools in the area
  • learning activities between rounds of game-play
  • teams of four pupils (up to Year 6)
  • prizes of FIVE 7" Android tablets

This is a no cost event that will bring together staff and pupils who avidly teach and practise their times tables!

Put the date in your diary - FRIDAY 7th JULY 2017

Register by emailing numberbee@caddington.cbeds.co.uk

We look forward to seeing you there!!

Partnership Education Learning

We'll be presenting at Parnership Education's Teaching Tools and Technology Learning Event next week so if you are interested in a technology event focused on teaching then look at the programme below. The event is free to attend (with a free lunch!) so just register here.

Hope to see you there!


10.00 -10.30 – Registration & Introductions

10.30 – 10.50 – ESET – GDPR: Changes in Data Protection Legislation

10.50 – 11.10 – ESET - Crypto Virus: How to protect yourself

11.30 – 11.50 – iPads - Impacting on learning with iPads - 5 Key Apps

11.50 – 12.10 – iPads - iCoding - teaching computing with iPad

12.40 – 13.00 - Clevertouch – Effectively utilising classroom technology

13.00 -13.40 - Flurrish – App to Support Numeracy

13.50 – 14.10 - Arbor – Analysing Pupil Data

14.10 – 14.30 - InVentry – Fire Safety Procedures

14.40 – 15.00 - Impero – Safeguarding and the PREVENT Duty

15.00 – 15.20 - Wizkidz - Going Google

Flurrish User Group 2017

Earlier this month we ran the 2017 Flurrish User Group at Caddington Village School, organised through Central Bedfordshire CPD.

The day kicked off with a keynote by Dr Tom Mitchell from Liverpool Hope University titled the "Learning Imperative" looking at the psychology of the growth mindset (see Carol Dweck's work). As part of this, he reviewed attribution theory and how this can explain part of how an individual responds to learning (in terms of motivation and so achievement) and so the notion of growth. Modelling correct behaviours-attributions is key to making progress. This is about building praise into feedback, developing resilience in learners and so a positive psychological cycle. This can link closely to maths anxiety and, by using the notion of growth mindset, improve performance and move towards mastery. Flurrish's Number.fy can form part of a successful intervention strategy to achieve this.

Richard Kingham (Caddington), then talked about "The Home Straight" - using Number.fy with year 6 in preparation for Key Stage 2 SATs. This was very much "front of house" from a teacher with extensive experience of incorporating Number.fy in to delivery of the curriculum. Outlining when it's used in class, how it's used as a strategy for improving number fact knowledge and his experience of the sorts of outcomes achieved by pupils. This included a summary of the extent of current number fact knowledge and performance on a weekly maths skills test.

Mike Smith (Flurrish) then followed Richard, outlining how data recorded by Number.fy can be used by teachers to underpin their classroom practice. That is, how do individual pupils perform, what do they know/not know and how can they improve? This included a review of the Cupid statistic (Questions per Pupil per Day; QpPpD) to ensure that everyone is getting enough daily practice. However, not just daily practice but QUALITY practice. Are they playing randomised questions across all 12x tables? And what proportion are correctly answered? Once you know that, the SPEED with which they can achieve that is a good measure of mastery. And the results? Well we presented a plot of Richard's class' maths skills against number fact knowledge - whilst only representative of one week, it shows a strong correlation.

Jeni Houghton (Headteacher, Hawthon Park) then outlined their approach (using assertive mentoring) to improve curriculum outcomes at Hawthorn Park. Number.fy forms one of a number of strategies for this with the data helping teachers understand misconceptions and so target appropriate interventions. She concluded with quotes from staff and pupils which included:

"The impact of more secure times table recall is really being seen across all areas of the Maths curriculum."

"Flurrish trains your brain to do times tables. It's fun when we hold competitions."

After lunch Sue Teague (Headteacher, Caddington) then reminded everyone that DATA is NOT INFORMATION, which is NOT KNOWLEDGE, which is NOT WISDOM. As educators we have a responsibility and duty to best use the data we have and make wise decisions based upon it. So... use headteacher's report from Flurrish to review Cupid, percentage correct and proportion of randomised questions. Do this at school, class and individual level to use granular, detailed and useful data and make decisions based upon it.

The day finished with the exciting launch of our whitepaper "Learning Number Facts" with delegates receiving their own printed copy - if you haven't got your copy yet, then download it today. We concluded by outlining a roadmap for continued development of the Number.fy app and results website - watch this space, but just to let users know that v2 (aka "Nero") will be available for update shortly with v3 currently in development. More news next term!

We were proud to be able to participate in such a productive user group day and grateful to Caddington Village School (and Central Bedfordshire) for organising it. Those who presented provided thought provoking and inspirational talks. We look forward to next year's FUG!!


The Learning Imperative, Dr Tom Mitchell-Gallagher, Liverpool Hope University

The Home Straight (part 1), Richard Kingham, Caddington Village School

The Home Straight (part 2), Mike Smith, Flurrish

Gap Filling and Number Crunching, Jeni Houghton (Hawthorn Park School)

Demonstrating Progress, Sue Teague, Caddington Village School

FREE Whitepaper: Learning Number Facts

Number facts are one of the “essentials” for succeeding in life as they underpin the way we understand mathematics and progress in the subject. As adults, we use them daily for calculating shopping totals or estimating building quantities. Memorising number facts allows us to focus our mental energy on the core task and not get bogged down in calculation, yet many children and adults don’t “know” them

Flurrish is proud to announce the publication of it's whitepaper "Learning Number Facts." This has come through working closely with educators at Caddington Village School and researchers at Liverpool Hope University. It is intended for teachers, senior leaders, parents, learners - all those who have a interest in the learning of number facts.

We present an outline of how memory works and how schools use this in traditional methods for learning number facts. But, given recent research on memory, what might optimum strategies for learning use and, if we implemented them, what might they look like?

We believe this will provide an invaluable synthesis for all those who want to impact upon number fact learning and the benefits this can have upon numeracy during later learning.

Please goto our download page if you would like a FREE PDF copy.

Using School Performance Data

Following on from the previous blog about Flurrish’s headteacher report, this is a guest post from Sue Teague, headteacher at Caddingon Village School.

So, what did you do with YOUR data? These were my actions as soon as the e-mail landed...

  • Shared the e-mail with key staff in briefing and forwarded them the flurrish e-mail (Time: 2 minutes)
  • Sent the mail to admin and technical staff and asked that they check the correct number of children are registered with the app and playing; in short, do the mumbers/names tally? (Time: 5 minutes)
  • Made sure the app is being played at an appropriate level (i.e. the 'Goldilocks Factor'). Too little could mean pupils won't learn and progress, too much might mean they are being given the devices instead of high quality teaching and learning. (Time: 5 minutes)
  • I saved the data, ready to use at the next Teaching and Learning committee meeting of the Governing Body to provide feedback to governors. It directly demonstrates how we are using the app and shows value for money (Time: 2 minutes)

The data provided is too valuable to just sit in your inbox - share it, use it, learn from it.

Times Table Testing Back on the Agenda

The BBC reported yesterday that statutory times table testing is now back on the agenda for schools following Nick Gibb's comments at the Commons Education Select Committee. We commented on this in an earlier blog and it was notable at the time for increasing the stakes in Year 6 (as part of SATs) as well as being mooted as the first computer-based testing. As we noted then:

"This is part of Nicky Morgan's "non-negotiables" that aim to ensure all children have a floor standard in terms of competencies."

Justine Greening then put all new testing on hold (although no news on how the actual trials went), but these look set to go ahead. As we noted back then:

  1. Testing is a fact of education, a fact of life. Once it is routine it becomes easier and is therefore a positive benefit for pupils. We wouldn't agree with testing for the sake of it or where (beyond reasonableness) testing becomes the goal, rather than learning.

  2. Schools have a responsibility to ensure a good education for all pupils. Responsibility without oversight leads to abuses in the system - this is one potential solution to ensuring delivery of non-negotiables.

But that's where the rub is for many teachers - they don't know what their kids don't know. And our original work reporting the hardest times table question showed just how poor times table knowledge can be - for schools using Number.fy, this won't be an issue but expect some suprise when the initial league tables are produced.

The Headteacher's Report

Following on from the previous blog (about our QpDpD, known as Cupid, stat), one of the services we provide at Flurrish is a half-termly summary performance report that is sent to the headteacher. This provides a detailed class breakdown. Here’s an example of one:

What can the head immediately see from this? Over the half-term (5 weeks) the 2-class intake primary school has

  • a total of 106,596 times tables questions answered
  • Class 5A have answered a large number of questions per pupil over this period, but the percentage correct is relatively low.
  • Class 5B have answered far fewer questions (Cupid=16.6) , more slowly but their accuracy is better
  • 6A have a large number of questions answered per pupil, rapidly with a high percentage correct
  • 6B have played very few questions (Cupid=6.6) although are accurate

The headteacher can also see how they have performed (in bold) against other 10 other schools in the area (ordered by Cupid):


Some further points to draw out:

  • they are in the top three for Cupid (38)
  • however this masks the two low Cupid scores for 5B and 6B
  • the accuracy is broadly similar between schools, but masks variability between classes

Remember that these classes should be able to complete 40 questions in a 10 minute starter session. If a 30 pupil class plays every day, then (30 pupils x 5 days x 40 questions) they’ll answer 6,000 questions per week.

Next blog is about actions you might take following a report like this.

Flurrish User Group 2017

A quick half-term note to say that, in collaboration with Central Bedfordshire and the Acorn Teaching School, Caddington Village School are hosting the Flurrish User Group (FUG) on Friday 24th March 2017.

Keynote: The Learning Imperative: psychology of the growth mindset (Dr Tom Gallagher-Mitchell, Liverpool Hope University)

See the attached flyer for the full programme

Book now at http://www.centralbedscpd.co.uk

We look forward to welcoming you!

Cupid - what are you pupils doing?

At Flurrish we provide reports to our schools on a regular basis with summary gameplay on a daily/weekly basis by class and half-termly monitoring of classes within schools (which we send to the headteacher) and of schools which we anonymise so that schools can see how they are doing comparatively (and we'll be outlining this in a follow-on blog).

But Cupid? Well, just a reminder from our webpage outlinig "why Flurrish":

MASSIVE practice: a 10-min starter, 30 children and 40 questions a day. That's 6000 questions a week!!

If times table learning is embedded in the classroom it should take an age 8 pupil who knows their times tables about 1 minute to answer 20 questions. Achieving 40 questions per day is a realistic goal and one that leads, as we say, to 6000 questions per week.

So, that's our statistic - Questions per Pupil per Day (QpPpD) or Cupid!!

It's helpful as it summarises how much a child, class or school is playing over a period of time and allows you to investigate anomalies further.

Why 40? Well experience has suggested that this leads to effective repetitive practice, but it's an area we are working with schools on to see what is effective. At this stage we would suggest this is a minimum, but any comments based upon classroom experience would be welcomed!

The Home Straight

As we approach half-term we are closing in on halfway through the year and whilst for some this might seem like a “glass half empty” scenario (another half to go!), we are fully aware that for those taking Key Stage 2 SATs, it really is very much the “home straight”. With the mathematics papers timetabled for Wednesday 10 May 2017, it’s only a few weeks after the summer term starts back up following the Easter break. Now that mocks are out of the way, staff are focusing upon targeting key gaps in knowledge for groups and individuals, practising taking tests and enabling the children to achieve the best possible results. Think of Usain Bolt easing ahead over a 200m race – he comes off the bend and has the 100m straight to go. He ups the gear, puts his head down and powers through to the finish.

Times tables obviously only forms a part of numeracy at KS2, but it is fundamental to rapid mental maths, accessing more complex manipulations of numbers and overall confidence. Pupils enter the realm of “can do”. So what have our classes actually been doing over this period? In terms of raw questions answered, these are the top 5 classes (all Year 6):

211904 (yes, that’s over 200k!), 144020, 121656, 117360, 113792

OK, but how many is that per pupil?

6836, 4801, 4055, 4347, 3924

Now, heck, that’s a lot of practice! The top class are nearing 7,000 questions (on average) for each pupil in their class, with what we’d consider a good class doing around 4,000. Now that sounds a lot – it is a lot!! But what does that equate to per day? Well, here are the figures (based upon 82 statutory school days up to last week):

83, 59, 49, 53, 48

Seriously! That is 50+ per day – pupils who know their 12x tables can do 20 questions in less than 1 minute. So, as a starter activity this is 10 minutes. Net result, 100,000+ questions answered by the time you get to mock SATs. This is such a strong motivator for the power of practice.

If you aren’t quite at the 100,000 question mark yet (and you can check exactly how many there are for your class on our results website simply by changing the date range) then you may well be doing some or all of the following already (and trying to avoid doing the Grannies and eggs thing!) over the next 61 days:

  • use the results website to 'download dataset' for your class and identify those pupils who do NOT yet know their times tables properly (e.g. are scoring less than 90% in random 20s). Ensure these pupils have specialist intervention by a teacher, HLTA or other mentor
  • Identify the 'tricky' times tables using the interactive results site or weekly summary headteacher reports. Get pupils to write them down – use black pen on a yellow post-it note (to aid memory recall) – then stick them around the classroom and home (by the toilet or bathroom mirror are prime places!)
  • Convince pupils that they have made real progress by showing them a few examples of class results and individual pupils’ results from the results website. Compare a week in September to a week now - reward them as appropriate, build confidence!
  • Make sure pupils use their mathematical agility by applying what they have learned. For example, tell them they can “buy one, get three free” - if they know 8 x 4 is 32, then the know 4 X 8 is 32, 32 divided by 8 is 4, 32 divided by 4 is 8. What a bargain!!
  • Issue certificates in assembly – "I know my times tables"
  • Have a mini competition at lunchtime to promote an ethos of rapid recall - give small prizes for the fastest and most accurate times tables/number bonds to 20 for the top 3 pupils
  • Loan devices out (with an agreement form) to pupils who may benefit from extra practise over the weekend or holidays - even if they cannot connect to wifi they can play in guest mode and so keep their daily practise going
  • Praise, praise and more praise - confidence is key to pupil success - cultivate a can do attitude. When a pupil says they can't do something - say "you can’t do it yet!!"

(with thanks to the staff at Caddington Village School!)

Top 11 Hardest Times Table Questions

Just following on from our earlier blog updating the hardest times table questions, we wanted to flag the top 11 in the times table hall of shame!! These are:

  1. 8x6
  2. 6x8
  3. 7x8
  4. 8x7
  5. 4x8
  6. 6x7
  7. 8x4
  8. 7x9
  9. 7x7
  10. 7x6
  11. 9x7

And that's an interesting group - a classic mistake for Stephen Byers (who famously answered 8x7 incorrectly), but (as we noted at the time) shameful of George Osbourne to dodge the question. However there is nothing like being put on the spot (by Sky News) to make the heart race.

As we see in the graphic below, it's that central area that causes the problems and thats the reason for the top 11. Of that central area of 16 questions running from 6-9 by 6-9, 9 of them are the hardest questions. That top 11 also includes 4x8 and 8x4 (notable outliers) and after that we see some of the 11x and 12x creeping in. This is core critical to number fact mastery and, given that they are hard to compute, storing them in long-term memory is important for success.

Are there better ways we can focus on this area??


Redux: What is the hardest times table question?

Way back in 2013 we reported on a research project at Caddington Village School on the hardest times table questions where

we logged a total of 60,000 questions across 232 children in years 5-8 using our intuitive smartphone/tablet app. Each child logged in to a centralised server using a fast graphical routine (no tricky passwords!) and played games that were batches of 20 random questions across the 12 times tables. All the answers (and the time they took) were then returned to the server

Sue Teague (the Headteacher at Caddingon Village School) and I followed this up with a published paper in Mathematics Teaching called Why is 48 so hard to remember?.

Well, we thought it was about time we updated some of the data on this area using all of the results we recorded for 433 children across 10 of our schools for the 2015-16 school year (encompassing years 2-8). All results recorded were from playing games of 20 randomised questions giving a total of 1,303,260 answers.

From these data (and with a little data wrangling in R) we have produced the visualisation below (left) which shows the percentage incorrect and can be directly compared to the original 2013 data (right). Some initial things worth pointing out:

  • there are alot more questions
  • there are alot more children
  • it's not a snapshot in time, but represents all games over the whole year. The children will have memorised more answers as time went on
  • whilst not the purpose of this post, ongoing research is looking at the impact of using Number.fy to memorise times tables. This would utilise a snapshot approach at the start and end of the year (similar to the startling year trial at Caddington Village School)

OK, so what are the takaways here:

  • the number of errors has reduced from 20% to 15%!! And it's worth noting that this dataset is year 2-8 (with very few year 7-8), whereas the origial trial was year 5-8. The improvement is therefore far more significant.
  • the hardest 21 questions in 2013 had a range of error rates from 40-62.5%. That extended "tail" of very high error rates now no longer exists with a maximum error rate in 2015 of 36%.
  • the order of hardest question has changed, although is very similar. The top two hardest questions remain the same: 6x8 and 8x6.
  • perhaps not surprisingly, those questions that are the hardest occupy the "middle" of the chart on the left and are shown by the distinctly red hot spots!!
  • and the 12x questions are being answered correctly more often.
  • after practise, this data probably represents the best estimate of the times tables children find the hardest and that the 12x is perhaps not as cognitively difficult as adults might think (or maybe it simply represents greater practise?)
  • those 6s, 7s, 8s, and 9s still remain dang hard!




Times tables tests put on hold... for now

The TES reported that the government have put times tables tests put on hold which is suspiciously or coincidentally close to the appointment of new Education Secretary Justine Greening. That said, it really is too close judging that the news release came from the Standards and Testing Agency and said:

Multiplication tables check and year 7 resits update

Following previous announcements about the multiplication tables check and year 7 resits we are re-confirming that there will be no statutory requirement on schools to administer these tests in the 2016 to 2017 academic year.

We will engage with the sector as we introduce the tests and will provide further details in due course.

For me the crucial part is the last sentence. I actually read this as the tests in our trial schools didn't work as we expected so we're postponing them until they do. Would be very interesting to find out how the trials did actually go - that said, those pupils who know their times tables accelerate rapidly in the further maths schools, something born out in KS2 SATs.

Number.bee 2016

Its just over two weeks since Caddington Village School hosted the fantastic Number.bee 2016 where teams competed for the title of Times Table Champions and five Archos tablets kindly donated by Partnership Education.

In total 17 teams (68 pupils!) competed in a live scoring competition answering over 20,000 questions in the group stages. Scoring was based upon both the hardness of the question and the time taken to answer it accumulating a score out of 10 - the highest points going to answering hard questions quickly!

Caddington headteacher Sue Teague said:

We were delighted to host the first ever Number Bee at Caddington; there was an amazing buzz in the room (ouch - no pun intended!) as the pupils battled it out in a fun and friendly manner.

Well done to Putteridge for winning first place and proving the power of practise. We were also very proud of our own Year 5 pupil, Ella - who scooped the individual fastest time prize. Thanks to Flurrish, also to Partnership Ed for providing the prizes and sending some great technical support to work with us on the day. Huge thanks to the schools that sent teams - it was a pleasure to meet so many lovely staff, parents and pupils.

Hope to see you all again next year!

Before the final knockout stages Dr Tom Mitchel from Edge Hill University gave a short talk on how the brain operates with the teams then building their own neurons.

The knockout stages saw six teams compete head to head and its worth remembering that this was a team game. The teams that performed best were consistently good across all games by all players. Its interesting to look at the mean game time (where a game is a random selection of 20 questions from the 1-12x tables) for these teams:

Caddington A: 30.1

Putteride A: 31.3

Putteridge B: 28.5

Ramridge A: 49.8

Slip End B: 46.3

Weston Turville A: 49.3

The three-way final saw Putteridge A, Putteridge B and Caddington A go head-to-head with Putteridge B triumphing in a tightly fought set of times tables! The final mean game times were 31.6, 27.7 and 29.5 respectively - that is very fast times tabling!

Finally, in addition to the main team challenge, we also had an individual challenge for the highest scoring individual which went to a pupil from Caddington. This was an extremely competitive play-off so many congratulations. Caddington's team are pictured below.

Finally we would like to thank the staff and pupils at Caddington Village school for hosting the Number.bee, Partnership Education for donating prizes, Dr Tom Mitchell and all the pupils who participated. We are looking forward to seeing you next year!

Case Study: deploying Kindle Fire

[with thanks to Amanda Burrett, Learning Resources Co-ordinator, Shefford Lower School]

We get a range of queries about what sort of devices to use Number.fy on and our response is that it will run on anything, be that a 4" smartphone, 7" phablet or 10" tablet! Well, almost anything - the only device that has defeated us is an Archos 70c Xenon, although from our testing we think this is an issue with a driver on the device itself.

One of the benefits of deploying on Android is the vast array of devices at a range of price points. And as schools are price conscious lower priced models often have a look-in. With that in mind Amanda Burrett at Shefford Lower School deployed a set of Kindle Fires for their pupils - and because we know it's useful to others, here are her comments:

  • they were rcheap and readily available
  • there is an option to pay £10 more per device and not get adverts
  • they took about 5-7 minutes per device to set up
  • because of the proxy settings, you need to choose to "complete set up later" when initially setting them as you can't access the advanced wifi settings at that point
  • you cannot just restore them from back-up to set up new ones
  • use the Apps and Games application settings to disable various things like Location Services and notifications.
  • after downloading Number.fy and pulling the device ID off, I used Parental Controls and blocked all app types except Games (Number.fy falls in this category)
  • you get the Device ID from the Docs app under Local Storage and device-id.log

Hope that's helpful to others as it's always good to see what similar schools are doing.

Number.bee 2016

We are very proud to be working with Caddington Village School to bring you the 2016 Number.bee. This is a hugely exciting opportunity that will bring together the best times tabling pupils to compete in the first annual event - it is group based (teams of four) for pupils up to Year 6. Partnership Education have donated FIVE 7" Android tablets as prizes.

This is a no cost event that will also incorporate learning activities between rounds of game-play. Put the date in your diary - 28th JUNE 2016 and register by emailing numberbee@caddington.cbeds.co.uk for more details.

We look forward to seeing you there!!

Flurrish User Group 2016

There was a hugely successful Flurrish User Group day that ran earlier this month at Caddington Village School, organised through Central Bedfordshire CPD. Audio from two of the talks, along with ALL the slides are below.

The day kicked off with a keynote by Dr Tom Mitchell from Edge Hill University who talked about the psychological and pedagogic underpinnings to rote learning and the role it has to play in mathematics, before going on to describe initial results analysing data from Number.fy.

The day then split into two streams - one a technical Q&A session for IT support looking at methods of installing Number.fy, implementing devices across a school and their maintenance. The second stream was for teaching staff where Rob Weightman (Deputy Head, Putteridge Primary) spoke about their implementation and "just 10 minutes a day" which has allowed their pupils to answers 500,000 questions by January! Richard Kingham (Caddington) then spoke about his extensive experience in KS2 teaching years 3 and 4 and his approach to rote learning and teaching to the gaps.

After lunch Sue Teague (Headteacher, Caddington) introduced the use of Number.fy data for both detailed analysis of pupils and whole school monitoring. Tom then rounded things off talking about research and how schools are natural laboratories. Teachers are in a unique position to be involved in understanding how children learn.

Of course, no User Group would be complete without a a prize for the fastest times tabler which went to Kerry Kent (Oxhey Wood) with a time of 32s. And, just to finish with, some comments from the day:

  • Found it useful to have the psychology theory behind the number recall
  • Practical ideas of how to use the app to assess and to improve standards
  • Teachers talking about the app in use in the classroom and looking at the ease of navigating the results
  • A brilliant day!
  • Very useful and honest responses showing us how the app can be used in our classrooms
  • Good to hear from schools who are actually using the app and their successes
  • There were good examples of the resource being used and honest discussions about obstacles that may be faced

The Power of Practice, Dr Tom Mitchell, Edge Hill University

Just 10 minutes a day..., Rob Weightman (Deputy Head, Putteridge)

The App at Work, Richard Kingham (Caddington)

Crunching the Numbers, Sue Teague (Headteacher, Caddington)

Get Involved in Research, Dr Tom Mitchell, Edge Hill University

"Times tables: the phony war"

A nice summary piece by Donald Clark titled "Times tables – the phony, proxy war between traditionalists and progressives" which looks at the arguments both for and against rote memorisation of times tables, noting the benefits to confidence and the automaticity of memorisation in further calculations, whilst also commenting on the time that can be spent only doing this and the potential drop in confidence as a result of "failing" testing. But the summary is balanced and fair - use the right tools for the job and, as with everything in learning, the right path is more nuanced. Memorisation clearly has an important place.

Caddington Village School's work on finding the hardest times table, as reported in the Guardian DataBlog and published in Mathematics Teaching is noted when showing the areas that are difficult and so why it might be worth focusing on these.

Well worth the time to read and formulate your own opinion.

"Getting the basics right"

Schools Minister Nick Gibb spoke at the beginning of the month at Elmhurst Primary School on the importance of the building blocks in numeracy. The first half of the talk set the scene in terms of relatively poor PISA results and then highlighting some areas of the UK where there are excellent results.

It was the latter half of the speech which was interesting to us at Flurrish, as Nick focused upon the learning of number facts, noting the government's move to introduce computerised testing of test Year 6 pupils. He began by introducing some of the psychology research that supports this cognitive approach and then followed it up with controlled trials testing to see the impact this had. One of Nick's points particularly resonated:

"Memorising sums and times tables is simply an important gateway for achieving the far more valuable prize of conceptual understanding in mathematics. When your working memory is freed of having to make simple calculations, it can think more fully about the conceptual underpinnings of a problem. As the American cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham has written, 'This automatic retrieval of basic math facts is critical to solving complex problems, because complex problems have simpler problems embedded in them.'"

And we couldn't agree more. Nick also (although not by name) refers to Jo Boaler's recent comments to ban times table testing (our emphasis). However as we noted earlier

"It is not terrible to remember maths facts; what is terrible is sending kids away to memorise them and giving them tests on them which will set up this maths anxiety."

It isn't times table per se that are her problem, but bad teaching and testing that emphasises anxiety.

Which brings us back to what we do at Flurrish. Number.fy is NOT intended to replace teachers - learning times tables needs good teachers that can build this learning into their day and, crucially, teach to the gaps. What Number.fy does offer is:

1.Learning in the classroom

2. MASSIVE practice. Nowhere else will you get EACH PUPIL in a year 2 class to answer 10,000 questions over the course of a school year on 10 minutes a day, where 65% then master their 1-12x tables.

3. It's all automatically marked and, importantly, presented in an easy to digest manner allowing teachers to rapidly identify strengths and weaknesses.

BONUS: probably the most effective method to undertake whole school testing/screening. This allows SLT to feed back to governors (and Ofsted) demonstrating impact.

EXTRA BONUS: the weekly summary email enables you to see at a glance which classes are playing and which aren't.