Research programme seeks 'Maths Champions'

Nursery children are to receive a maths boost in return for taking part in early years research.

The National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) is looking for 120 nurseries to join its Maths Champions scheme, which embeds the numbers skill in play and activities. 

As part of the project, a graduate member of nursery staff will receive free training and resources worth around £2,000, to build theirs and the children’s maths confidence.

The programme will then look at the impact that the champions may have had on pupils’ later performance at school.

In addition to the champions training, which usually costs £300, financial support will be on hand to help nurseries get the most out of the project.

The project is funded by the Education Endowment Foundation, a charity aiming to raise the attainment of children facing disadvantage. 

NDNA’s chief executive, Purnima Tanuku, said, ‘Nearly a third of all children don’t reach the expected level of maths by the end of the reception year.

‘Nurseries have a great opportunity to build interest in and understanding of maths at an early age. We’ve been achieving this through our Maths Champions programme over the last few years and this project will take things to the next level.’

Academics from the University of Oxford have worked with NDNA to develop the programme and researchers from Durham and York universities will examine the outcomes.

The champion leading the project will be supported by online webinars and videos along with a resource bank and telephone advice.

Some 95 per cent of nurseries using a champion have noticed a positive impact on both staff and children.

The free offer includes online courses in the foundations of maths, along with monthly themed webinars. The programme equips the champion with the knowhow for evaluating their practice and impact, along with skills for training other trainers.

Participants can also unlock a resource bank for use with chilldren and colleagues, as well as tailored support from NDNA to improve their practice. Support in engaging parents in children's maths development at home will also be provided.

To qualify, settings will be caring for a minimum of ten children aged three to three-and-a-half by July, when the project starts.

They must also be new to NDNA’s champions programmes and initially be located in specified priority areas.

Ms Tanuku continued, ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for you to enhance your learning activities and also help shape the future of early education. If you want to be a part of it, please give us a call.’

Interested nurseries call project administrator Kathryn Moses on 01484 407070 ext 242 or email by mid-May. 

The programme starts in July 2016 and runs until the end of summer 2017.

Expressions of interest are invited from nurseries in the following priority areas: Tower Hamlets, Middlesbrough, Islington, Nottingham, Manchester, Kingston upon Hull, Knowsley, Liverpool, Blackpool, Hackney, Barking and Dagenham, Wolverhampton, Enfield, Hartlepool, Birmingham, Lambeth, Southwark, Sandwell, Lewisham, Norwich, NE Lincolnshire, Hastings, Newham, Haringay, Westminster, Stoke on Trent, Walsall, Leicester, South Tyneside, Salford, Redcar and Cleveland, Newcastle upon Tyne, Camden, Thanet, Waltham Forest, Halton, Hammersmith and Fulham, Lincoln, Greenwich and Burnley.


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