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Year 6 child missing basic maths skills....any intervention ideas?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Jaycee_22, Nov 20, 2016.

  1. Jaycee_22

    Jaycee_22 New commenter

    I am a TA in year 6 and will be doing 1:1 interventions with a y6 child who seems to be lacking a lot of basic skills. She is very poor with her times tables, place value and doesn't spot patterns such as doubling, halving, multiplying/dividing by 10/100/1000. This is just what I can re-call off the top of my head. She is very low ability generally in maths and struggles to keep up as a lot of main input to the whole class is above her head and she can't keep up. The class teacher is great and obviously her work is differentiated but she struggles with a lot of the content due to this lack of basic skills.

    She only started our school mid juniors so I don't know what her education/attendance was like before she came to us.

    Does anyone have any good ideas for interventions with her? Fun where possible!

    Thanks :)
  2. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Teach her those things she can't do. You know whats he can't do so plan a session on each of those.

    Fun is not required, good teaching is. She will enjoy the sessions if she sees she is learning.
    Vince_Ulam and palmtree100 like this.
  3. susywoosy31

    susywoosy31 New commenter

    In my local authority we are using a programme called Maths Recovery to fill the gaps in children's mental maths.

    Might be worth looking into as it may offer advice on how to tackle gaps in the child's knowledge.
  4. brighton56

    brighton56 Occasional commenter

    That describes half of my school's year 6 pupils!
  5. JessicaRabbit1

    JessicaRabbit1 Senior commenter

    Mine too. I am a TA in year 6 and have several children that do not know their number bonds to 10 and who cannot work them out without counting laboriously on their fingers. You can forget doubling and halving. I have used numicon with them with some success. Mostly it is a case of repetition, practising over and over.
  6. Mrs_Hamilton

    Mrs_Hamilton Occasional commenter

  7. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Do not replicate lessons in these 1:1 interventions. Use direct instruction. Don't interrogate this pupil on the presence of pattern &c - show them to her and help her practise.

    'Fun' is not a necessary criterion of an effective intervention or lesson although some in Primary treat it as sufficient. Interventions are about working and anything which distracts attention from the mathematical content is counterproductive.

    Mainstream pupils who don't conform to the minimum mathematical expectations of their immediate cohort should not be labelled as 'low ability'; very often they just need the rules laid out explicitly and this is perfectly in keeping with mathematical learning & successful practice. I'd suggest that if this pupil has reached Year 6 without her previous teachers & TAs being able to resolve this matter then there is something wrong with the way mathematics is taught at your school. Such cannot be solved by gimmicks or bought programmes or 'fun' lessons but by increased subject knowledge and radical changes in the attitude of the staff, particularly whoever is performing as maths coordinator, towards both the subject and their expectations of their pupils.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2016
    ANGIE491 likes this.
  8. Jaycee_22

    Jaycee_22 New commenter

    Thanks for your replies, glad to hear we are not alone!
  9. brighton56

    brighton56 Occasional commenter

    Surely if everyone else within the class is working at the expected standard it is not the schools' practice. Whilst I believe everyone can eventually be successful in maths, building foundations for some children takes many years.
  10. alexanderosman

    alexanderosman Occasional commenter

    I agree, particularly if it is just one. Also we have no idea whether this child has joined the class further up the school or what other issues they may have.
    I have two children who joined in year 5 having moved areas who were very far behind - they have made great progress since starting with me but would still appear like this to someone coming in. I also have one who has been at the school since Reception but just doesn't retain anything. He understands during the lesson when he has just had things explained to him, but despite huge amounts of adult input (high quality despite what Vince will probably say) makes little progress.
    @brighton56 this poster likes to put a lot of blame on primary practice.
  11. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Given the situation under discussion I would not be confident that they are working to the expected standard.

    For most children it should take approximately six years.
  12. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    There's not enough data here upon which to comment but of course there are out-liers.

    Far from it, I often praise Primary but a spade is a spade.
  13. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    But when you get observed, maybe expect criticism if the lesson is 'boring'.
  14. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    Also, try to involve the parents. There's lots they could do at home to help-even if they work full-time and are poor at Maths themselves, they could be given ideas to help the girl. Even 20 minutes per night would make a massive difference.
    As a school, could you organise short Family Maths (etc) courses, so parents can be shown how to work with their child?
    Over the years, I've had hardly any children fall behind if their parents are involved, and doing parent/child classes in schools makes a huge difference to the children from more deprived/challenging backgrounds.
  15. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    This child joined the school mid juniors, and is obviously behind the rest of the class, so I don't think you can blame the current school. It could be a question of a child who has moved school frequently and so missed vital building blocks. 1:1 intervention will hopefully help now.

    I think "fun" is sometimes sought in the hope that it will encourage the child to continue practising at home. The activity has to be really impressively fun if it's going to achieve that all on its own! By year 6, perhaps the incentive to do the practice can be achieved by showing the child that they can do something they couldn't before, and that it really is worth going home and finishing the sheet so that they can get even better at it.
  16. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    I think it's fair to take since 'mid juniors' as an account of approximately two years to this point. Positive recognition is due to @Jaycee_22 and her teaching colleague for providing necessary interventions but that these are necessary after something like two years suggests that they are the first in that school to recognise this pupil's need. It seems standard operating procedures for Primary schools to allow deficits to accumulate throughout a cohort that eventually Year 6 is expected to resolve and if a little blame must be cast to highlight this then so be it.

    I would not bank on this child's performance of enthusiasm in an intervention as a promise of their motivation to work at home nor, if at all, as well. @Jaycee_22 & her teaching colleague should pull out all the stops and get this pupil practising under supervision. It may seem dull and repetitive for both they and the pupil but a little dullness & repetition now will save this pupil a lot of lost learning from Year 7 onwards.
  17. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Mid juniors might only be a year ago.
    Yes, ideally the deficits would have been tackled last year, but I can understand how it sometimes takes time to establish where the issues are, particularly if there are extra factors such as language.

    Vince, I do worry that you tend to jump straight to criticism of primary teachers; that sometimes devalues the advice you have to offer.
    alexanderosman likes this.
  18. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    All true.

    Read my post again.

    It's either good advice or it isn't. Sometimes people need to have the wood pointed out to them.
  19. brighton56

    brighton56 Occasional commenter

    Out of interest, what's your general catchment like? My current school has 40% pupil premium and we always offer these courses/sessions with a very low uptake. Parents supporting children at home is a dream for some schools where parents don't have the basic skills.

    Not a criticism of your post but I'm genuinely interested.
  20. Sebmum

    Sebmum New commenter

    There are some interesting views. A few years ago I would have agreed that everyone can be taught to 'do maths', then my own daughter has made me seriously question this. She is a middle child, now in yr 8 and cannot 'do maths'. She appears to have no sense of number at all. When playing board games with two dice she still needs to count the dots on both, even if one of them is a 1. She can't tell the time, use money or weights and measures.

    You might immediately say this must be down to poor teaching. She went to the same primary school and had the same teachers all the way through as her two brothers. Both of them are exceptional mathematicians. When my eldest took his SATS the only marks he dropped across all the maths papers were two on the level 6. He is predicted a 9 for his GCSES this year. My youngest looks to be following in his brothers footsteps. I have degrees in maths and maths education as well as a Primary PGCEand love teaching maths. Maths is a big part of life in our family, we do it for fun!

    So all three have had the same maths teaching, both at school and home. She has grown up in a maths rich environment but she just can't do it! Fractions and percentages mayas well be a foreign language to the poor girl. She is fantastic at all aspects of English and is doing brilliantly in all other subjects and is in top set for everything but maths. I have tried every possible way I can think of to teach her that those 6 dots on a dice will always be 6 but she cannot see 6 so it can't happen.

    Interestingly, she know all her times tables because she has an excellent memory, although she has no idea what they actually mean. Also, they had a cover supervisor who gave them pages of factorising equations. She came home from school because she 'got maths' and them frantically waved a whole page of ticks at me. When I unpicked it with her she said it was the easiest thing she has done because 'it wasn't numbers, it was letters'.
    stupot101 likes this.

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