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Negative experiences with Maths -No Problem

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Precipitation-Forecast, Sep 18, 2016.

  1. Precipitation-Forecast

    Precipitation-Forecast New commenter

    Hi all,

    Our school has just introduced Maths No Problem. We all had training, which was delivered by the maths leader, on the last inset before we broke up for summer. We've now had three weeks to put it into place but the response from every year from Y1 to Y6 is completely negative.

    I've searched on TES but everything seems so positive, have no other schools had this experience?
  2. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    What don't they like about it?
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    What don't they like about it?
  4. Leicester_Vics

    Leicester_Vics New commenter

    I'm the maths lead at my school and we introduced Maths No Problem last academic year. I teach Y6 and started teaching it before everyone else and I absolutely love it. However, it wasn't until I went on the 3 day intensive training c.ourse that I fully got to grips with it all and realised I'd been teaching it wrong.

    Staff didn't seem overly thrilled when we first started it and were struggling to get through lessons and were saying that the children couldn't access it. I was probably a bit harsh but I told them that if my Y6 children could access the hardest of it without having accessed the full KS2 curriculum (last year) then everyone else should be able to. By the end of the year, I think the majority of people were on board with it. I did learning walks and generally found that the teachers attitude paid a huge role in how the children took to it.
  5. carriecat10

    carriecat10 Established commenter Community helper

    Has your maths lead received any training? As @Leicester_Vics says it is the CPD that is key here. Also having access to the online materials as this will provide clear guidance for teachers.
  6. Precipitation-Forecast

    Precipitation-Forecast New commenter

    I've read a bit of the current research on the teaching of maths, so was quite excited to try it. But I'm really disappointed with it, although as I said its every year group that's unhappy. The biggest problems are:

    We find that the 'teach' is too all over the place for our children. There's too many different things going on, and not enough modelling of each aspect. The independent bit is the same - they get confused because they are been asked to do too many different things before they have digested one.

    There's no differentiation, only for the severely SEN children eg those who have a statement. (A number of classes have approaching 50% SEN although the vast majority of those don't have a statement.) We end up with over half the class having to do further work in the afternoon, which is impossible to get through.

    It is also time consuming - each lesson takes longer to prepare than it does to teach!
    mwaverider26 likes this.
  7. Precipitation-Forecast

    Precipitation-Forecast New commenter

    Our maths leader has been on a few courses recently, but I don't know whether she's been on a Maths No Problem one.
  8. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Why do schools buy into schemes without looking into them first.

    Don't people get inspection copies and such like first?
    krisgreg30 likes this.
  9. krisgreg30

    krisgreg30 Occasional commenter

    This is exactly the reason why I decided against it. I bought some of the different books from different year groups for a look through and spoke to other schools using it and decided it didn't meet our differentiation requirements.

    On the other hand, I've spoke to people who absolutely love it and it works for what their school needs. I think to role that kind of scheme out it definitely needs some clear training and advice and a positive approach as otherwise it is going to struggle. It should also help, not create more work IMO.
    GoGoTeacherArms likes this.
  10. Evalerio

    Evalerio New commenter

  11. Evalerio

    Evalerio New commenter

    Differentiation is part of the online tools for every lesson. The books are a part of an approach, which is very effective with training and support. My school has been doing it for a couple of years and it's going brilliantly. Of course there were teething problems as we learned how to be more effective, but we all went on the training and learned how to use the materials well.
    If I were you, I'd try to get on the training, and visit a school who has it fully up and running. You can contact maths no problem to find one in your area. My school (Three Bridges in West London) runs open days to shares what we've learnt. It can work, it really can.
    krisgreg30 likes this.
  12. krisgreg30

    krisgreg30 Occasional commenter

    To be honest, even with that addressed it is just out of our budget. Not sure how some schools manage to afford to run it the way you do because I know you can save money on the textbooks but the amount of schools I see using the workbooks.
  13. Evalerio

    Evalerio New commenter

    Our head says, if you believe in it, you find the money. It's a big investment definitely, but worth it for what we are giving our children. We're reaping the benefits now.
  14. judith green

    judith green New commenter

    I think some schools may be depending too much on simply following the books. Full access to the on line materials is vital and whoever is leading the school also needs to be fully trained in order to understand the processes behind it including the methods for differentiation. The video library is really good, lots of it cree on you tube ,and shows of every aspect of the teaching.
    Pupils don't have to learn all the different methods given in the books. The aim is for them to begin to understand their comfort zone /s and work on that, gradually increasing their repertoire over time.
    For the most able the new challenge books offer opportunity for them to stretch their brains a bit more.
    MNP isn't something you can just pick up and 'deliver ' there is a bit of background study needed. Sadly we all know that time is at a premium so a planned gradual implementation over time might be better than jumping in at the deep end.
  15. Over_the_hill

    Over_the_hill Star commenter

    I used it for a year and really liked it! I still miss it!
  16. Josh7

    Josh7 Occasional commenter

    Very well put.

    Many teachers seem to miss the advice that some things need lots of practice - key stage 1 classes should be doing a lot of counting activities for instance - not just 'doing the textbooks'.
  17. nical73

    nical73 Occasional commenter

    We didn't like it and didnt invest. As maths lead I introduced the concept of hooks and reasoning problems in each lesson with use of sentence stems to aid childrens explanations. We do have a scheme with textbooks but staff able.to resource lessons with other materials. The vital part of maths mastery is to support those who are finding difficulty (either with concrete or pictorial) and deepen the rapid graspers with challenging puzzles and problems.
  18. Tiredandgrumpy

    Tiredandgrumpy New commenter

    We started it in summer 2016. At first we hated it, couldn't get to grips with it . . . and then we stopped to think. How is it possible that something that has been so well researched and built on the shoulders of giants such as Bruner and has proven results here and in the country know to be the best in the word at maths be wrong? Could the problem lie with us? It took us about a year to really engage (it should have been less but we fought it). I'd find a school that has already embedded MNP practice and ask for support, it will make a huge difference Go and observe, e mail for advice and ask about those practical issues you're stuck on. I just had an expected child (not 8 until summer) draw an array to show 4x8, then take that further (independently) to make a story about distributing 32 sweets using the language of equivalent fractions as if it was nothing. "That could be 32 sweets and if I divided the whole into quarters then I'd get a quarter and my friends would have 3/4 which is 24 sweets between them - and did you know that would be 3/4 (then added, oh and an equivalent fraction for 8/24 on its own is 1/3)." He just took it there himself. It works. And P.S> it's not just doing textbooks - its a carefully researched approach which allows children to build concrete, pictorial & eventually abstract ideas, consolidate using talk & an immaculately planned book, built on developmental progression and mastery.
  19. Tiredandgrumpy

    Tiredandgrumpy New commenter

    But there is differentiation - it relies on teacher's thinking; it's not just a case of giving GD another harder problem any more, it's about focused questioning to extend thinking. Please find a partner school that it's working for. Once you've seen it in action, it will open up a whole world. This is what I got into teaching for. It will liberate you from over-producing activities & spending hours on the computer looking for challenges. It's true mastery and depth learning all in one place. As a previous commentator mentioned, teacher attitude is crucial-there's local support out there truly.
  20. mwaverider26

    mwaverider26 New commenter

    36 months on and this scheme is rubbish! Having to plan more just to pad out the activities and make them harder.
    I’ve taught a lot of schemes and this is far the worse. Could go on and on and on but some will try to use Jedi mind tricks to convince you that your not delivering the scheme properly or some other rubbish.


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