Tag: numeracy

Our December FVWL RIC/Education Scotland SWAY Newsletter

FVWL RIC /ES December SWAY Newsletter

Just a reminder of our equity themed December SWAY Newsletter which showcases some of the amazing work going on across our Forth Valley and West Lothian Regional Improvement Collaborative (FVWLRIC). You can see the work across our FVWLRIC workstreams, locally and nationally. This is #OurRIC so please get in touch if you would like more information, have any suggestions or if there is something you would like to share for upcoming February newsletter.


FREE and Effective maths website and online resources for use during school closures

Matholia https://www.matholia.com/uk is a comprehensive Singapore mathematics portal (Early to Second level) that allows teachers to remotely assign tasks and monitor student progress as they work from home. Schools affected by the current Covid-19 situation can have free access to Matholia during this time. This offer is valid until the end of the school year. This website provides learning videos, practice modules, syllabus-based (English) games, assessments, problem-solving and enrichment tasks.

email support@matholia.com for further information.

It’s a Good Time to Collaborate – event on 29 May 2019 for education practitioners in Forth Valley and West Lothian Regional Improvement Collaborative

Aims of the Event

The purpose of this event was to bring together practitioners from every school and educational establishment in Clackmannanshire, Falkirk, Stirling and West Lothian. This was to provide an opportunity for participants to find out more about the progress of the RIC, new projects and opportunities that are being developed with a focus on the emerging agenda of empowerment and equity in Scottish Education. This was an opportunity to engage with colleagues in a collaborative way, working together and learning about the progress being made to close the attainment gap.

Opening address

FV & WL RIC Lead:  Dr Elaine Cook, Depute Chief Executive Officer, West Lothian

Thanks to pupils from Larbert High School for creating this video

Click on the following link for the PowerPoint presentation giving an overview of the day Overview-of-the-day-29-May-2019


Numeracy – Research based interventions to close the poverty related attainment gap – the FV & WL RIC Numeracy Leads (Peter Valentine, West Lothian, and Lynne McBain, Clackmannanshire) share the rationale and content of the RIC Numeracy plan including the new RIC Numeracy Academy. A carousel showcasing some of the numeracy interventions which practitioners could be trained in for example, using manipulatives in the senior phase;  the RIC Rekenrek project; the power of effective number talks.

Thanks to pupils from Larbert High School for creating this video

Click on the following link for the Numeracy PowerPoint presentation Numeracy-1

Literacy – The FV and WL RIC Literacy team share the work of each of the sub group projects and consult practitioners to identify next steps. A carousel of project initiatives to engage with will be on offer: ELCC vocabulary and sharing the QA framework; The RIC CLPL pack on moderating reading for early to fourth level; sharing the programme and examples of practitioner enquiry into developing a reading culture network; using HGIOS 4 toolkit to evaluate and reflect on current reading practice and next steps into accreditation.

Thanks to pupils from Larbert High School for creating this video

Click on the following link for the Literacy Early Vocabulary PowerPoint Presentation Literacy-Early-Vocabulary

Click on the following link for the Literacy Building a Reading Culture PowerPoint presentation Literacy-Building-a-Reading-Culture-1

Click on the following link for the Literacy Champions PowerPoint presentation Literacy-champions

Performance Analysis – Lead: Michael Davies (West Lothian) -this workshop shared the structure and work of the Regional Performance Team. Additionally sharing some examples of best practice around use of data and performance information within each Local Authority. The key aim of the group is to develop the use of data analysis, focusing on data for improvement, by practitioners at all levels across the Collaborative. There were also be opportunities for Practitioners to discuss and share current challenges and opportunities that they face around use of data. Gathering views on the day will shape the work of the Regional Group, especially their input into the CLPL plan. Topics that will be highlighted:  Tracking & Monitoring; Standardised Assessment results data (eg.SNSA); BGE Benchmarking Tool; Insight (Senior Phase Benchmarking Tool);  Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation; Additional Support Needs

Click on the following link for the Performance & Improvement PowerPoint presentation by Michael Davis RIC-Performance-Improvement

CLPL – Lead: Stefan Wyroslawski (Stirling) – why is a CLPL programme essential for schools?  What are the challenges and opportunities raised by andragogy and heutagogy? How can we leverage expertise in our regional collaborative and in what ways can we facilitate the co-creation of sustainable regional CLPL opportunities? How will we know when we have been successful? In this workshop we shared the 2019-2020 FV&WL RIC programme and co-created responses to these questions which will inform our future planning.  We investigated the questions above and collectively take responsibility for moving the vision forward. 

Thanks to pupils from Larbert High School for creating this video

Click on the following link for the CLPL PowerPoint presentation CLPL-workshop

Early Learning & Childcare – Lead: Judy Edwards (Stirling) – this workshop shared the work of the ELCC group, showcasing some examples of good practice and highlighting next steps.  Opportunities to hear examples of good practice across the Collaborative including the work of the 2 centres of innovation in our collaborative.  The 4 examples of good practice are: CENTRE OF INNOVATION – Building the Ambition at Bowhouse Early Learning and Childcare in Falkirk; CENTRE OF INNOVATION – ‘Wee Scones Cafe’ at Menstrie Nursery Class in Clackmannanshire; Literacy – led by Stirling Council; Language is fun Together (LIFT) and the development of a self-evaluation tool to support this work; Bedtime Story initiative at Croftamie Nursery; Phonological Awareness Programme; It’s a Good Time to be Two – led by West Lothian Council.

Thanks to pupils from Larbert High School for creating this video.

Click on the following link for the Early Years PowerPoint presentation Early-Years

Developing the Curriculum – Lead: Stefan Wyroslawski (Stirling) – a curriculum is designed to help children and young people gain the knowledge, skills and attributes needed for life in the 21st century, including skills for learning, life and work.  In this workshop we considered the opportunities we have as a regional collaborative to co-create content-rich learning experiences and curricular pathways. How can we enhance outcomes for our young people?  Discussions centred around the BGE as well as the senior phase.  We also took into account our unique setting in Forth Valley & West Lothian, considering what we can do to take responsibility for curriculum development in our contexts, with input from regional our colleges and university. 

Click on the following link for the Curriculum Development PowerPoint presentation Curriculum-Development

Teacher agency: what is it … and [importantly] how do we develop it?

Professor Mark Priestley, Professor of Education, University of Stirling

“Modern curricula, such as Curriculum for Excellence, require teachers to be active curriculum makers. Recent discussions about empowering schools and teachers in Scotland have reinforced these expectations on teachers.
Such talk is premised, implicitly at least, on assumptions that teachers are able to be  agentic in their professional work, and the term ‘teacher agency’ has become commonplace. Nevertheless, teacher agency is often poorly
understood and weakly conceptualised. In this presentation, these issues are explored starting with an overview of an ecological understanding
of teacher agency as something which is achieved, rather than something innate to individuals. How teacher agency (in relation to curriculum
making) is achieved, focuses on three dimensions: 1) individual, including conceptual development about the curriculum; 2) cultural, for example, collective beliefs about the role of schools; and structural, for instance relational resources afforded by networks in schools.”

Click on the following link for the PowerPoint presentation by Mark Priestley Teacher-Agency-Mark-Priestley

Professional Collaboration

Professor Andy Hargreaves, Research Professor, Boston College.  Adviser in Education to the First Minister of Scotland

“The evidence for professional collaboration is now overwhelming. Teachers will do better and schools and their students will do better
if teachers and schools share ideas, support each other when they are facing a difficult challenge, and take collective responsibility for improvement and change. Whether teachers should collaborate is no longer an issue. The key question now is what are better and worse ways to collaborate? How
do leaders design collaboration? What do we know about the respective merits of professional learning communities, learning walks, or school networks, for example? How do school leaders take promising designs from one place and use them effectively in another? Scotland is at a key moment in really developing a strong culture of teaching that is inspiring, supportive and effective. Drawing on his new book about 5 different
designs of collaborative professionalism, Andy Hargreaves set out the possibilities and practicalities of designing collaboration so it is
productive for students and empowering for teachers.

Click on the following link for the Professional Collaboration PowerPoint presentation by Andy Hargreaves Professional-Collaboration-Andy-Hargreaves

Panel forum with key note speakers

Mr John Swinney, Deputy First Minister of Scotland, Cabinet Secretary for Education & Skills


Dr Elaine Cook

Psychology and Numeracy Research 2019

The Four Educational Psychology Services of the FVWL Regional Collaborative have combined their research efforts to produce this ground breaking report on the psychological factors of numeracy.

We found a parallel with the national GIRFEC practice model and the Ecological System theory by Bronfenbrenner. The 94 factors were categorised into 20  clusters and then three categories.

Individual factors

individual factors combined into 8 cluster factors that relate to individuals

Intersubjective Factors

 Contextual factors



This meta-study finds that, given the complexity and multitude of factors that influence numeracy development and mathematical attainment, Councils, the Regional Collaborative and Scottish Government need to find ways of:

  1. promoting long term duration of teacher pupil relationships,
  2. promoting whole school consistency and beyond in the teaching of mathematics
  3. consider the impact that relationships and attachment style may have on pupils’ numeracy development
  4. ensure that teacher led innovations occur in a culture of learning, knowledge and research and with reference to the existing evidence base on effective interventions
  5. Encouraging parents to become more involved in contributing to the development of concepts skills and knowledge which are fundamental to math but not necessarily math specific such as risk-taking behaviour, metacognition, self-regulation and beliefs about intelligence and mastery.
  6. Actively encourage collective teacher efficacy in a context that promotes sustainability of improvement in evidence based ways.

This highlights the need for a cultural change with regard to numeracy education to include funding, employment and training arrangements that promote the long term relationship with staff and pupils in schools, effective mathematics teaching, and recognise the impact of relationships and attachment style on pupils’ numeracy development. Implementing improvement needs sustainability and implementation of improvement to be considered as important as the specific mathematic concepts and knowledge in encouraging children to learn maths.

Our final recommendation is that there is a need for debate about practice and improvement at a strategic and practice level within the Regional Collaborative and the four education authorities.

Psychology and Numeracy

There are a number of psychology factors that are important in children learning numeracy concepts and skills.

The Educational Psychology Services across the regional collaborative have been engaging in collaborative research on numeracy. There are 4 projects and a meta analysis:

  1. Attachment and Numeracy, Clackmannanshire Council. This study involved a literature review of research into development of early years numeracy and its links with childhood development and particularly Attachment theory.
  2. Bridging the Gaps, Falkirk Council. This project focused on longitudinal analysis of pupil outcome data from an action research skills project, involving the Coach Consult method of professional learning, undertaken with teachers and managers from 12 schools, in 4 discrete projects during 2016/17.
  3. Meta Cognitive development, Stirling Council. This study involved a literature review of meta-cognitive aspects of numeracy development, which in turn is being used to contribute to a professional learning programme for teachers in early primary in Stirling Schools, using appreciative inquiry.
  4. Pupil Voice, West Lothian Council. This piece of research involved focus groups with 56 participants from 8 high schools. All were studying for National 5 Maths and in S4.

The meta analysis is only partially completed and has already identified 15 factors important for the development of numeracy.

The summary reports will be published on the National Improvement HUB in April 2019. The full reports will be published on the Blogs.

For further information contact your local Educational Psychology Service.

Raising attainment in numeracy and closing the poverty related attainment gap

Why is this being prioritised?

The data from the four regions indicates that there is a significant issue with Numeracy, particularly between first and second level. This is reflected in the 2015/16 and 2016/17 teacher Professional Judgement Survey for all four authorities.

Overarching Aims

•  To reduce the percentage gap from Early to First Level in Numeracy.
•  To use and enhance the expertise and talent within the Forth Valley and West Lothian RIC to develop collaborative learning approaches which build staff capacity to deliver high quality learning experiences in First Level Numeracy.

What do we want to achieve?

To establish an inter-authority, teacher driven, professional network that will work together to strengthen and improve confidence and understanding in teaching numeracy. The focus will initially be at CfE 1st level.
To further develop the partnership between the four Numeracy hub champions where they will jointly design and deliver high quality CLPL to identified schools and classroom practitioners.

Actions and Indicators of Progress

Short term (February-June 2018)

1. Identify leads from each authority (Numeracy Team) to work with the numeracy champions to develop a plan based on feedback from teachers and practitioners
2. Analyse baseline data and information from across the RIC
3. Identify common areas for targeting interventions
4. Identify drivers for improvement (Numeracy Strategic Plan Appendix 1)
5. Identify up to 3 schools to participate in a pilot project aimed at building staff capacity within First Level Numeracy
6. Develop a professional learning programme to support the pilot project (to be delivered by numeracy champions)
7. Produce a contract for each school engaged with the project to agree parameters commitment, and feedback outcomes to the wider RIC

Medium term (August 2018- June 2019)

1. Undertake pilot project- Numeracy PL programme
2. Gather feedback from head teachers and teachers about the pilot project, and review against agreed outcome criteria (discussed with RIC lead group)
3. Revise and prepare roll out of the CLPL programme to a wider audience throughout the RIC
4. Numeracy Hub Champions will facilitate professional dialogue on a monthly basis to increase teacher confidence in using manipulatives to help children and young people gain a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts
5. An agreed assessment measure using teachers’ professional judgement will be used to gauge progress over time
6. The Numeracy Team will discuss measurement of progress and analysis of data with the Performance Improvement Team
7. Create a Numeracy data pack demonstrating tracking progress and improvement
8. Engage with the Communications Team to design a strategy to share practice and develop a practitioner network for numeracy
9. Provide input to the Autumn FV & WL RIC Consultation on the ‘Ask and the Offer’
10. Review Numeracy plans in light of the outcomes of the consultation

Longer term

1. Evaluate the effectiveness of staff development approaches
2. Numeracy Hub Champions will establish an electronic platform for staff involved to engage in professional dialogue and share good practice
3. Review progress at 1st level Numeracy and reducing the gap from early to 1st level using data analysis, and discuss next steps in preparing to progress into 2nd level
4. The Numeracy team will explore and facilitate sharing best practice from PEF strategies across the RIC
5. A wider collaboration strategy will be developed with partners and stakeholders including CLD, H&WB groups and parents

Intended Impact of the Numeracy Plan

The measures of success will be:

  • Teacher feedback demonstrates improved engagement and confidence in numeracy delivery
  • Take up and evaluative feedback of collaborative CLPL opportunities and models of collaboration
  • Participation by class teachers and regional network input
  • Engagement and participation with the digital communication platform
  • Numeracy at 1st level shows improvement in teacher professional judgement surveys
  • CfE 1st level increases across the RIC
  • The gap between early and first level is reduced for children from the lowest quintile and highest

Research Informed Pedagogy in Numeracy

What does data help us plan?

Numeracy Hub Champions across the Forth Valley and West Lothian Regional Improvement Collaborative will directly support practitioners to develop their knowledge, understanding and application of research informed pedagogy which is proven to improve outcomes for children and young people. In addition, an inter-authority, teacher driven, professional network in First Level Numeracy will be established.

Research Informed Pedagogy

Manipulatives can be key in providing effective, active, engaging lessons in the teaching of mathematics. To gain a deep understanding of mathematical ideas, children need to be able to integrate and connect a variety of concepts in many different ways. The effective use of manipulatives can help children connect ideas and integrate their knowledge so that they gain a deep understanding of mathematical concepts.

Over the past four decades, studies done at all different levels and in several different countries indicate that mathematics achievement increases when manipulatives are put to good use (Canny, 1984; Clements and Battista, 1990; Clements, 1999; Dienes, 1960; Driscoll, 1981; Fennema, 1972, 1973; Skemp, 1987; Sugiyama, 1987; Suydam, 1984).

The numeracy group believes that teachers need to learn how to successfully use manipulatives in the maths classroom and encourage student exploration, related discussion, and reflection about the prospective concepts being taught. Practitioners need to be knowledgeable with children’s exploration of the math concepts and not assume that when children use manipulatives they will automatically draw the correct conclusions from them.

The numeracy group believes that learning, teaching and assessment and the quality of what goes on in classrooms is core to this work stream and will therefore need to provide CLPL that supports practitioners in this area.

Embedded Classroom Model
The Embedded Classroom Model is based on the principals of developing a culture of collaboration and collective responsibility in schools. It involves teachers working in a spirit of openness and critical reflection, sharing their experiences, ideas and expertise with each other and engaging in an ongoing process of inquiry that promotes deep team learning. The work of teams is guided by a clear and systematic model of problem-solving and learning, one that encompasses a learning → application → refinement → application cycle.