Early years Maths Champions programme receives funding for expansion
A professional development programme designed by the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) aimed at increasing practitioner skills, knowledge and confidence in delivering early maths has secured national funding.
The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is providing funding for the Maths Champions programme, secured through the Department for Education’s Accelerator Fund, for national roll-out. This funding will allow up to 405 PVI, maintained and school-based nurseries to gain access to the Maths Champions programme during this academic year at no cost.
A project evaluation report published by the EEF showed that children made on average three months’ additional progress in maths and language development compared to children who had not taken part in the programme. There was also some evidence to suggest that children from disadvantaged backgrounds made on average up to six months’ additional progress in maths and language development.
Settings can sign up now, to deliver the programme from February 2024. To be eligible, settings must take three to four-year-olds, with at least six of those children attending for a minimum of 15 hours a week. Participating nurseries are required for their programme leaders to be level 3 qualified practitioners for the roles of Maths Champion and Deputy Maths Champion and must be able to commit to completing the 12-month programme.
The role of Maths Champion and Deputy Maths Champion is to support, inspire and motivate staff within their setting. A nine-step programme is accessible across 12 months including one-to-one support sessions from NDNA, bespoke online training courses, coaching, an observational assessment tool and play-based activities.
Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), said: “We are delighted that the Education Endowment Foundation has decided to support a national roll-out of our Maths Champions programme following the success of the recent evaluation.
“We developed the Maths Champions programme to make a real difference to children’s learning and outcomes in maths by enhancing practitioners’ knowledge and confidence in teaching early maths and now more early years settings will be able to benefit from it.
“An evaluation by Education Endowment Foundation found that on average children on the Maths Champions programme made an additional three months’ progress in both maths and language development. There’s also evidence to suggest that this could be as high as six months for children from disadvantaged backgrounds and could help close the attainment gap.
“All children deserve the best possible start in life and this support must take place in their early years to ensure the best possible outcomes.”
Professor Becky Francis CBE, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), said: “Broadening access to proven programmes like Maths Champions is key to supporting all pupils’ development, and levelling the playing field for children from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
“The fact that we are able to remove, or substantially reduce, inhibitive cost barriers – particularly at a time when budgets are already thinly stretched – means that these programmes are more likely to reach and positively impact those children who stand to benefit the most.”