"It was great for teachers [as] it was left to us how we wanted to run it"
Stephanie Rumble works at Purley Oaks Primary School in South Croydon as a year 2 teacher. Last year she helped the school to implement a parental engagement strategy in maths with support from the Mayor’s Fund.
As part of this approach the schools implemented the National Numeracy Family Maths Scrapbooks to help engage parents with maths outside of the classroom.
Is it hard to engage parents with maths initiatives?
It’s quite challenging to get parents involved. It seems to be the ones that want to be involved are constantly involved, and that the ones that you can’t get hold of are still hard to reach.
How have parents reacted towards the activities?
Overall it has helped their confidence. Sometimes they get so flustered about what they think that they have to know, and worry because the activities are so unrelated to the way they see maths in their head.
When they realise it’s quite basic stuff that they already do every day without thinking about it they’re like ‘oh I can do this’ and I’m like ‘yes I know you can’. They worry because it’s fun!
Was it helpful to have the readymade resources?
Yes it was great for teachers because there was no preparation, you could just print it off, there was no marking and it was left to us how we wanted to run it.
It’s also about your relationship with parents. If you’ve got a positive relationship then they are more willing to open up about any insecurities.
Do you think there are teachers who have struggled with their feelings towards with maths?
I am that teacher! I have major maths issues, and do really struggle with it, but I have a very positive way of dealing with it for the sake of the children. I practise it before I deliver it, and I understand how to make it fun. I did really well in primary school with my maths but when it became a little bit complicated at high school I kind of shut down. I think it’s because it’s very black and white, you either get it right or you don’t the way you get taught at secondary school.
I find that working with the children it refreshes my memory. Plus when I break it down I realise I get it. You have to differentiate as a teacher, to find the simplest way to do it so that the children understand it. This often makes you think ‘actually fractions are not that hard’ it’s just that there are different ways that you can do it.
Are you going to carry on using the activities next year?
Yes we are definitely going to carry on with years 1 to 4. We have had a really positive response from it. The parents that do it love it, the kids come in asking “Which one is it this week?!”.