Every Child Counts aims to help schools to raise achievement of children who have fallen behind in mathematics and raise standards for all children.  Every Child Counts offers schools two powerful approaches to intervention teaching: Numbers Count and 1stClass@Number. This post explains the former. It is one of the articles in the National Teacher Enquiry Network May Half Term Newsletter (sign up here).

Numbers Count

Numbers Count Teachers are specially trained to provide intensive support to children in Years 1 to 6 and beyond who have the greatest difficulties with mathematics. On average, and based on the use of a standardised test, children involved in Numbers Count make 16 months of progress after 20 hours of teaching.  Initial training for a Numbers Count teacher lasts for two terms. It is context based, so the training and teaching run in parallel with each other. Numbers Count teaching and training are firmly underpinned by constructivist approaches, in this way the training supports and encourages self- guided learning.

 ‘Wow! What a year! It has been quite a rollercoaster at times but I feel I have really grown personally as well as professionally. I am a much more confident person now and I feel passionately about enabling our children to learn in the best possible environment with quality first teaching.’

Numbers Count Teacher

Training for Numbers Count Teachers is composed of:

  • 7 face-to-face training days  with follow-up tasks (including teaching children) and reading
  • In-school support from a local Teacher Leader
  • Visits to and from a Learning Partner (another Numbers Count teacher)
  • Video analysis of and reflection on their own lessons.
  • Keeping a reflective journal

Each training day supports teachers in developing their knowledge and understanding of mathematical difficulties, Numbers Count practices and procedures, and enables them to share their experiences, reflections and insights with Numbers Count colleagues.

Specialist mathematical subject knowledge is developed through an on-going process. Key features of every professional development day are sessions that focus on mathematical theory, and pedagogical approaches that promote both conceptual understanding and mathematical knowledge.

Throughout the professional development teachers engage in cycles of analysis, planning and reflection on both their own teaching and responses of children. For example, the use of video recording is an important element of Numbers Count. Teachers make regular video recordings of their lessons (usually one lesson per week with each child). This allows teachers to recall, review and reflect upon lesson outcomes. Teachers can therefore, through video analysis, review the learning of the child, reflect upon their teaching approaches, assessment and diagnosis of children’s difficulties.  This then feeds directly into both the planning of future lessons and into the teachers understanding of the child and their learning.

Each professional development day offers teachers an opportunity to share and discuss videos with their colleagues.  The subsequent collaborative discussions and reflections further support the teachers to refine and adapt their teaching, through considering, for example:

  • What is the balance of teacher talk and child talk?
  • Does the feedback help the child learn?
  • Does the teacher observe the child carefully?
  • How does the teacher help the child make connections with existing skills, knowledge and understanding?

In addition to the use of video recordings Numbers Count Teachers are also required keep a Reflective Journal. The professional development for Numbers Count is designed to help teachers use reflection as a tool to:

  • Learn more about how children learn
  • Assess children’s understanding and thinking, through developing observational skills.
  • Help teachers make informed teaching decisions that have a positive impact on children’s progress.

The Reflective Journal allows the teachers to use reflective writing to develop an understanding of what they do and how they do it. This journal also allows teachers to reflect upon their own professional development experiences and record their personal learning journey. While reflection can be a successful solo activity, each professional development day allows teachers to share their reflections with colleagues. This allows teachers to draw upon one another’s wealth of experiences and build upon each other’s insights, transforming perspectives and challenge old patterns of learning.

Collaborative learning runs through all aspects of the professional development: within the face to face training sessions, through Teacher Leader visits to schools, and through teachers’ Learning Partner visits with each other. Teachers and Teacher Leaders learn together by analysing and discussing individual children’s learning, building up a shared understanding of how best to help children who have difficulties with mathematics.

Numbers Count training is highly regarded by schools.

Many head teachers took an interest in the training and reported that it was the best they had ever seen.

Independent Evaluation of ECC, DfE 2011

Numbers Count training can be accessed by schools through a local provider or through Edge Hill University directly (but delivered locally to the school).Visit our website https://everychildcounts.edgehill.ac.uk/Or contact us at ecc@edgehill.ac.uk  for more information.

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