Numeracy Coordinator – Making the role count!

The Numeracy Across the Curriculum (NAC) role hit the big time in 2001, following Ofsted’s primary numeracy evaluation all secondary schools were expected to hold a whole school NAC launch. At the time the role was introduced and many teachers will remember having whole school training and establishment of a school calculation policy in which all staff would multiply in the same way etc. School policies were drawn up and unfortunately for some schools numeracy stopped there. Whilst other schools developed projects ensuring numeracy truly was across the curriculum.

The role has (or should have) changed and evolved in terms of its purpose and aims for the academic year. If it hasn’t changed in your school it needs to, I hope this post will give some ideas of how to make a big impact. Don’t miss section 4, which for me was the start of revolutionising the role within my school.
1) Getting the Job Itself!

Is it an enviable job? Probably not, as it’s limitless possibilities can make the role daunting at first. For myself, once settled in, the lack of rules or limits allowed me to experiment, raise the profile of numeracy and the mathematics department, and hopefully inspire all those around me to love numbers the way I do!

Job specification from Norfolk county council and Riding’s school job description both detail the need for high communication skills.

2) Getting Started; Some useful Numeracy documents

It is important to determine the numeracy needs of your school in order to begin making a whole school impact. In order to do this I would recommend departments are asked to audit/detail when and how they include numeracy within their subjects. This could be done using this Numeracy Audit for departments and to determine staff training needs this could be used E3_numeracy_checklist.

I found Leicestershire County Council’s Numeracy Across the Curriculum, Key Stage 3 and 4 booklet most useful when starting in the role of numeracy coordinator. This is guidance of how to establish the role of numeracy coordinator, including adaptable policies and in particular ideas of how to raise the profile of mathematics. For me this was most important as I felt the role needed a shake up, and its impact needed to change the opinions of colleagues whom for many did not see the need for a numeracy coordinator role. Luckily they do now! Other policies such as St Alban’s Numeracy policy can be downloaded here, The Friary School policy is also available, as is Hazelwick’s policy.

Leistershire County Council’s Calculations Policy can be downloaded and adapted to suit your school’s needs.

The Mathszone website has a wealth of resources that could help in preparing to deliver inset to your school, as a source of ideas which you can then develop to be suitable for your school and its numeracy needs, in addition a How To booklet to be downloaded.

3) Spread the word; Get other departments involved

It is important that numeracy is detailed in schemes of work, however this was needed 10 years ago. For my school it was important to update new schemes but more important than this is to ensure that numeracy was not just an add on. Departments need support and guidance to ensure they provide opportunities for numeracy learning and not just numeracy content.

Suffolk Maths Team have developed a useful website which has downloadable resources and ideas of how numeracy can be delivered in other subject areas.

Maths Across the Curriculum– three easy projects to introduce ideas linking numeracy within PE and story time.

Here are two lists of how departments may link numeracy within their subject area. Maths Across The Curriculum and Numeracy in subjects.

Golden ratio in art is a one lesson project the art department and I developed to follow the completion of face portraits to see if pupils faces are following the golden ratio.

4) Raising the profile;

It is vital to use the role as numeracy coordinator to raise the profile of mathematics around the school and the community.

What better then to see both pupils and teachers using numeracy skills during break time! Getting pupils interested in numeracy is easy by setting challenges and puzzles around the school. Some puzzles were put on the flat screen TVs around school, however engagement was not huge. I wondered if the pupils had become de-sensitised to technology, so introduced the use of magic whiteboard as seen on Dragon’s den, this static write on material was great for use on the glass stairs. Alternatively use the glass pens as discussed in the previous post “Who wants Clean Windows”. Here are my ideas;

a) How many steps in the school? This had a great impact as we moved into our new Building School’s for the future (BSF) building which resembles a cube, pupils were encouraged to investigate their new school environment. Watching pupils climbing up and down the stairs in atrium counting was the pleasant reminder of how mathematical inquisitive people naturally are.

b) How many rectangles in the school ceiling? As you can see the schools building is made up of many rectangles, what else could be counted in your school? You could ask what is the total of the classroom room numbers.

c) How many seconds left of 2010? This would need updating to 2011 and a start time given, this was a great one for the school newsletter.

d) How do you measure up? I placed these measuring tapes and heights of famous people around the school with a poster asking “How do you measure up?” . Pupils were measuring themselves, comparing to their favourite celebrity as well as each other.

e) Distances here to… Around school I placed distances from the school to key wonders and places of the world. the measurements were given in both metric and imperial.

f) Playground Fun Introduce hop scotch, paint a chess board and bring mathematics back to the playground. I thought this would only appeal to key stage 3 pupils, however I was proven wrong when year 10 students are regularly taking part in a good old game of hop scotch.

5) Numeracy Day’s and Events

NSPCC world number day, This year the NSPCC’s World Number Day will be on Friday the 2nd of December. On this day your school can fund raise and join in the NSPCC world’s biggest Maths lesson. Registration is free, and once you have registered all the fundraising material can be downloaded ready to use.

World Maths Day from Mathletics will be on March the 2012, registration is free and pupils compete in 60sec games against players from around the world. Register now and book those computer rooms or laptop trolleys.

Four Nations Math Challenge from Mathletics, thank you to Colleen Young’s blog for drawing my attention to this Four Nations event happening this month on the 17th to 18th of November.

NGfL National Numeracy Strategy Resources

5) Form time,

Both literacy and numeracy are delivered during our 25 minute form times. Here are some of the resources used to deliver numeracy to year 11. 1 Y11 Intro 2 Handy Maths 3 Long multiplication 4 Division 5 Maths Command Words Guide

If you like these materials and would like a complete set of materials please follow and leave a comment saying so.

Numeracy Reading Books there are many books available with a mathematical theme for example Sir Cumference: And the Great Knight of Angleland and here is a list of maths_related_books. These can form a numeracy book boxes for reading time during year 7 registration or available in the school library.

I really hope I have given you some ideas for the numeracy role to make it stand out from the crowd, please follow for updates and leave comments of what worked for you.

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