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Work to improve standards of maths in Welsh schools is progressing with new schemes in place helping to boost confidence, develop skills and encourage more take up.

First published:
20 May 2024
Last updated:

Before the pandemic, schools in Wales were making positive progress in numeracy and work is now under way to get things back on track.

Since April 2023, more than 3,500 learners have taken part in activities delivered by Mathematics Support Programme Wales (MSPW), with more schools set to take part. The scheme, managed by Swansea University, is backed by £450,000 of Welsh Government funding.

Activities include maths clubs and masterclasses, talks offering insights into maths in the world of work, revision resources and events encouraging more girls to take maths as a subject.

Speaking on National Numeracy Day, the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Lynne Neagle, said:

A sustained improvement in attainment is a top priority for me as Cabinet Secretary. This is why we are delivering these schemes to support pupils progress in their maths learning.

Our curriculum reform journey is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to revolutionise the quality of education in Wales and I’m confident it will deliver huge benefits for our young people and help to raise standards in our schools.

Ysgol Bryn Tawe in Swansea is benefitting from tailored support from MSPW including professional learning for staff to enable further maths to be taught at the school. Lunchtime maths clubs, careers in maths talks and revision sessions are available and students have had the chance to attend conferences at Swansea University.

Carly Shanklin who leads the Mathematics Department at Ysgol Bryn Tawe said:

As a school we are passionate about the mathematical journey of our learners. Working with MSPW helps us to fulfil our ambition of every pupil enjoying maths and numeracy.

Maths Clubs are my personal favourite! I just love seeing students and staff popping in to do unusual things with maths.

Since April, MSPW has widened its activities to provide more support for younger pupils, helping them to develop skills, confidence and a passion for maths.

The Seren Academy, which supports around 22,000 learners aged 14-19 across Wales by providing extra-curricular study experiences and super-curricular enrichment activities, is extending its support for high attaining maths learners as it partners with Axiom Maths.  The additional super-curricular maths programme will fund teachers to lead on maths circles, bringing groups of learners together weekly, to tackle challenging maths problems.

Thanks to a partnership between Welsh Government and the Money and Pensions Service pupils are benefitting from new financial education materials, intended to help schools design their financial education provision and better inform young people about money. The new guides give real world examples of financial tasks such as budgeting, borrowing, and managing money and are aligned to the new curriculum. 

Work is also underway on delivering the actions within Welsh Government’s Maths plan, published last November. A new Research, Evidence and Advice Group has been established, consisting of mathematical specialists experienced in international education systems.  A new professional learning package is being created with the help of school improvement partners and a communications campaign to promote a positive ‘can do’ mindset to maths is in its planning stage, with co-construction with schools at its core.