Next week, children across Wales will be sitting the national numeracy tests again. With the introduction of the LNF, schools have been giving numeracy a higher priority across the curriculum and the expectation is that this will be evident in the test results.
The focus on developing numeracy across the curriculum has been an exciting challenge for some schools and a time- consuming headache for others. Most schools have risen to the challenge and staff now have a greater awareness of the opportunities for developing numeracy across the curriculum. There are several documents available mapping out the natural opportunities for numeracy across the curriculum which can support teachers in their planning.
With an increased focus on numeracy, it can be easy to assume that we have good coverage. Some schools have completed an audit after launching a focus on numeracy, only to be disappointed at the gaps in evidence for numeracy across the curriculum.
An audit of numeracy opportunities across the school can be invaluable, highlighting key issues and raising some important questions. As well highlighting gaps in planning, an audit can also flag up any teachers that are struggling with developing numeracy across the curriculum and point to further investigation if a skill that has been given ample opportunities for development is still causing concern.
Various audit documents have been produced enabling schools to see at a glance where gaps in provision are. As valuable as the information from an audit is, it can be time-consuming. We need to focus on the priorities.
For the greatest impact, we need to ensure that our assessments inform our actions. We need to identify skills that need development and carry out an evidence trail using audits and lesson observations, focused on the skill.
Numeracy is an integral part of life and needs to be an integral part of what we do in schools. We need to make sure that our schools are numeracy rich environments. We are changing our mindset and that will be an ongoing journey.
Next month’s blog: Tools and tips for creating a numeracy rich environment.