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As an education adviser specialising in Maths I have the privilege and luxury of visiting a range of schools both within Essex and other local authorities. I’m often asked to review the mathematics provision and one frequent point I find myself raising is the quality of the mathematics learning environment.

We frequently have heard the question, ‘Does your school shout we love reading?‘ however, the same should be asked for maths as it can be the poor relation.

I’m not advocating heavily decorated classrooms as there is much research evidence out there that too much visual stimuli can interfere with memory and the ability to focus for many pupils. I believe quality rather than quantity is key.

So, here are some questions for you to reflect on your own setting…

    • Are the aims of the national curriculum; fluency, reasoning and problem solving evident within your classrooms?
    • If you walk from your Reception class to Year 6 can you see a clear progression of learning?
    • If you have working walls, are they working? Are children using them?
    • Is there evidence of mathematical variation?
    • Is maths being celebrated?
    • Do pupils have access to manipulatives; Dienes, Numicon, Cuisenaire?
    • Does the environment demonstrate how you are contextualising the learning and making links to real life?
Kate Magill

Kate Magill

Kate has worked for 29 years in Primary Education and has taught across EYFS, KS1 and KS2 in England and Italy. This experience has enabled her to provide bespoke support for schools, consortiums and multi-academy trusts for the past 15 years. Kate started out working for Essex County Council and then moved across to Juniper Education at its fruition. She now works as an independent consultant both within Essex and beyond. Kate has a wealth of experience writing bespoke training for schools whether that be staff meetings, twilights and INSET days. She specialises in mathematics however is passionate about the core teaching and learning skills that underpin all good lessons.