Maths Recovery

Mathematics Recovery Council UK & Ireland


Newsletter 2009


Maths Recovery Conference 2009, Limmerick

Maths Recovery Adventure- a personal reflection by Catherine Staunton-Unsworth, Maths Link Teacher, Wigan LA.

On Wednesday evening, the 1st July 2009, I headed off on my first Maths Recovery adventure, ably transported by my ‘mentor’ and work colleague, Jill Piotrowski. Filled with anticipation, I arrived at Manchester airport where I met two lovely ladies, Chris Porter and Julia Sheridan who were experienced Maths Recovery trainers. For the next few hours of the journey they kindly looked after me and imparted lots of words of wisdom and the benefit of their experience about Maths Recovery. This was a great way to prepare and get me thinking about the conference. I take my hat off to Noreen O’Loughlin for the time and effort that she put into organising such a huge, worthwhile experience at a fantastic venue, The Castletroy Park Hotel. Noreen’s generous invitation meant that Maths Recovery Trainers and aspiring Trainers could attend and benefit from international support.

From start to finish the conference was packed with practical ideas, thought provoking sessions and useful nuggets of information to bring back home to Wigan. On the Friday evening my head 'ached' with the amount of brain cells I had used over the two days! It was fantastic to actually see and hear the founder of Maths Recovery, Professor Bob Wright, in action. It was even more reassuring to realise that we are on the right track as far as Maths Recovery in England is concerned. There were also sessions offered by experienced trainers from America and England all of which focused on different aspects from Maths Recovery. It would have been great to attend them all but unfortunately a choice had to be made!

I was lucky enough to see Kurt Kinsey talk about 'Designing Maths Recovery Instruction'. He was so easy to listen to and explained everything clearly, giving lots of examples and relating everything back to the 'Green book' (otherwise known as Teaching Number). Kurt talked about the importance of the pedagogy of Maths Recovery. He discussed the 'Teaching and Learning Cycle', the importance of assessments and using a learning trajectory.

Petey MacCarty certainly made the session participants think hard in 'Structuring Numbers: Supporting Numerical Reasoning' She cleverly coaxed her listeners to think and provide the information needed for the session. So that when the session concluded you felt that without realising it you had the answers all along. Petey encouraged thinking about progression and building upon what the child CAN do rather than focusing on what they can’t.

Dr.Pam Tabor gave an interesting talk based on her experience of conducting a study on 'Developing Conceptual Place Value' through two classroom teaching research projects. She looked at the hypothesis that working with collections in a base-ten format contaminates the thinking of children and predisposes them to 1010 - type partitioning strategies for solving two-digit addition and subtraction mentally.

'A Look at Multiplication and Division' was presented by Chris Porter. This was good to revisit as it went over the Assessment Interview and suggested teaching activities. Again Chris related it to practical examples and demonstrated through careful selection of clips from a DVD encouraging her listeners think about what the child was doing and what to do next. She reminded us about the progression models used for multiplication: discrete collections, linear/interval and array.

Professor Bob Wright led an optional session using video analysis. Selections of DVD’s were shown which included sample lessons. It was a useful activity for me as my own teaching was shown and this provided a wonderful opportunity for my own professional development as it was critiqued by Bob and Kurt.

Another highlight of this conference was getting to meet fellow Maths Recovery teachers, particularly John from Dublin, a Deputy Principal who was very interested in developing Maths Recovery in his school. It was great to meet teachers and trainers from Wales (Helen, Alison and Debbie) and Northern Ireland (Timothy and Brenda). It was useful to discuss how Maths Recovery is disseminated in other Local Authorities and regions and particularly how we could strengthen the links between us and support one another.

Well, I hope that I have given you a flavour of the Maths Recovery Conference in Limerick. I certainly learnt lots which I hope to use to good effect when working with pupils encountering difficulties in mathematics in Wigan. I hope to attend the next conference, should I be lucky enough to get the opportunity. Perhaps I will see you there!

Maths Recovery Summer School 2009

To support existing and aspiring MR leaders and trainers, there was a two-day Summer School in Limerick, Ireland (July 2nd, 3rd, 4th). This was led by Dr. Bob Wright.

Full details are available here: Maths Recovery Summer School 2009

Report of a Recent Every Child Counts Conference

What works for children with mathematical difficulties?
The effectiveness of intervention schemes
National Conferences

31st March 2009 ETC Conference Centre, Prospero House, London Bridge
1st April 2009 Park Plaza Hotel, City Square, Leeds

Purpose: To strengthen the overall approach to mathematics intervention at both LA and school levels.

In 2004 the DCSF published a research report by Dr Ann Dowker into the nature of mathematical difficulties and the evidence base for effective intervention approaches to address such difficulties. In order to build further on this report and as part of the remit of the Every Child Counts programme a second report was commissioned by the delivery group for the ECC programme representing the DCSF, Every Child a Chance Trust, the National Strategies and Edge Hill University; it was published late March 2009 Ref: 00086-2009BKT-EN. What Works for Children with Mathematical Difficulties? The effectiveness of intervention schemes by Ann Dowker.

The purpose of the two national conferences was to strengthen the overall approach to mathematics intervention at both LA and school levels and for that reason Local Authorities were invited to send representatives with strategic responsibility for mathematics interventions.

The focus of the conference was:

  • dissemination of the findings of this report with a keynote from Dr Ann Dowker
  • the “waves of intervention” model and its population with effective mathematics approaches
  • aspects of effective strategic LA management of intervention
  • opportunities to share the experience of LA colleagues already implementing successful approaches
  • the current progress and evidence of impact of the Every Child Counts programme

Di Hatchett, the Director of Programmes, Every Child a Chance Trust gave an overview of the Programme and talked about populating the layers of intervention and gave an update on Every Child Counts: developing the national programme.

Nick Dowrick, the Head of ECC Programmes, at Edge Hill University talked about the outcomes from term one of Numbers Count Programme and shared the findings of the first term’s report which can be found on their website at:


After lunch Dave Futcher, Senior Adviser, primary mathematics, National Strategies gave a demonstration of a new publication for Wave Two mathematics Overcoming Barriers: moving children on in mathematics Level 1 to 2 Ref:00021-2009BKT-EN can be downloaded from the website: NCETM Teaching Calculation microsite.

The final session looked at the next steps for embedding mathematics intervention including:

  • Securing the layered approach
  • Effective management of intervention in LAs and schools
  • Maintaining the gains

The following slide was used by Di Hatchett to demonstrate the layered approach and it clearly shows where Maths Recovery can be used.

Numicon was represented at the conference as was Mathematics Recovery. There was no representative from Catch Up Numeracy.

For more information about Maths Recovery putting children back on track please refer to the flier that was produced for the conference. To find out about Maths Recovery training in your region contact: mathsrecovery.england@googlemail.com

Information sheet - Maths Recovery puts children back on track

We have produced a flyer for promoting the benefits of Maths Recovery. The flyer is in Microsoft Word format:

Maths Recovery puts children back on track

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