How we are boosting children’s love of maths using Primary PE funding

Deputy head teacher at Digby C of E Primary in Lincolnshire, Donna Winters, blogs about how the Primary PE & School Sport Premium is ensuring her pupils develop a love of maths.

We were battling low attainment scores in key stage 1 maths with low levels of physical activity by our children. This funding gave us an opportunity to try something new and approach a subject which many children struggle with differently. We had noticed in our active school planner heat maps that some children had low levels of physical activity and those same children were also reflecting poor physical literacy and low levels of academic attainment in maths.

We believed that by taking a new approach and embedding active learning into our maths lessons we could support more children to engage and enjoy their maths lessons and aid their learning. We took the decision to introduce a whole school improvement plan focussing on maths and were supported to do this using Teach Active’s Active Maths resources (formerly known as Maths of the Day).

Implementing a whole school improvement plan

Beginning with a multi-skills assessment to establish baseline physical literacy levels, we also looked at children’s maths attainment scores and teacher assessment of learning.

From this, we worked with the Youth Sport Trust and our School Sport Partnership to train our teachers with a focus on the ‘Power of An Active School’ and achieving 30 active minutes of activity a day for all our pupils.

We also used active school co-ordinators through our School Sport Partnership paid for with the PE premium to role model delivering active maths and literacy for our staff.

Active maths

One of the things that we found really engaging for our pupils was attending an active maths festival to get children excited about learning maths in a new way, to get new ideas and then continue our journey in building on the key learning from the initial training.

All pupils in the school have benefited from the investment in active maths. Their attitude and engagement with maths has improved and the quantitative data reflects this. Our year 6 children who were not expected to reach the Age-Related Expectations was much lower than expected. All our teaching staff have embraced the new approach to active learning and feel confident in the delivery approach.

Some of the things children have said about active maths include:

‘I like that it’s more fun and you get to run around in the fresh air while doing maths’

‘I like that we’re not just sitting down and we’re getting a break from just sitting down’

‘Being more active seems to help my brain better understand maths – especially the game about number lines as before that I did not really understand it’

We have been setting Active Maths homework for Key Stage 2 children to start to build the engagement of parents with active learning.

Thanks to the Primary PE and Sport Premium funding, staff now have the skills to plan and deliver active elements of the national curriculum including intervention and whole class-based activities. The children have embraced this new approach to teaching and learning, with lower ability children and lower engaged to learning particularly motivated, resulting in fewer occurrences of low-level disruption.