SSE Numeracy Progress

Process Began:   Nov 2014

Current Date: 27 Jan 2017


Numeracy Team Members:

E.Deeney. D.Clarke, P.Sweeney, M.Maguire, D.Murphy, G.Geoghegan, S.McWilliams, P.McDermott


When looking at our progress to date it is important to look at the SSE key steps.  


As of 27 January 2017, we are currently implementing and monitoring our improvement plan.  This document will be added to as further steps are taken and progress is made.


A list of our current priorities are on the last page of this document.



Numeracy Awareness

We felt it was important to raise numeracy awareness in PCS to lay the foundations for future initiatives.  We planned to raise awareness among both students and teachers of how numeracy is across all subject areas and not just in maths.  This was and is an ongoing task.  Here is some of the work undertaken so far:

  1. Presentation to staff at staff meetings including powerpoint.  Emphasis is on how every teacher is responsible for promoting numeracy in their own subject and to actively attempt to find ways to highlight it.
  2. ‘Numeracy is all around us’ activity and photo competition
  3. The Numeracy Board.  Various subject departments contributed numeracy related visual material such as graphs and charts and these were displayed.  The numeracy board is being replaced and in the meantime some info from the BT Young Scientist competition has been put up in its place.
  4. Numeracy Week planned for 6th – 10th March 2017
  5. Posters in class.  A number of teachers have made posters of how numeracy relates to their subject and this is great their work will be shown at future staff meetings for more to hopefully follow




Gather Evidence

During late 2014 we gathered evidence in the form of:

Staff Surveys

Student Surveys

Comparison of HL attainment in Maths at JC and HL to national averages

Analysis of incoming maths test for 1st years


Analyse the evidence

In Jan 2015 we analysed the evidence and identified key strengths and areas for improvement.


Make judgements about the strengths and areas for development / SSE Report / SIP

We then compiled our SSE Report and 3 year School Improvement Plan.  In the SSE we prioritised our strengths and areas for development and our SIP then outlined what targets we set to maintain our strengths and improve in areas for development.  


Implement the 3 year School Improvement Plan

I will now outline each target area in detail and give details on the actions and how we have tracked progress of our targets.  


To gain quantitative and qualitative data, we established a focus group of approximately 30 students from 1st year in 2014.  These were and will be used to collect data year on year to compare like with like.



Target: Improve average proficiency in dividing fractions in standard test from 21% to 40% by June 2016



  1. Fractions initiative undertaken with the whole first year group in December 2015. Each first year group was given one class period where they were given a test on dividing fractions, they were then retaught division of fractions and the test was redone.
  2. Teachers asked to give tests back in fraction form instead of percentage
  3. Teachers asked to emphasise use of fractions when they arise across all subject areas



In the teach/test fractions initiative all classes showed significant improvement from pre testing to post testing.  

We tested the focus group in early 2015 with a standard fractions test and graded them out of 100.  We then tested the same group in November 2016 with the same test and again graded them out of 100.  The results were as follows:


Overall proficiency in fractions has risen by an average of 9% from 2015 to 2016.  


This comprises of 20 students.  The other ten only completed one of the two tests so no comparison was available.



We have made good progress but not met our target of 20% improvement by June 2016.  



Target: Reduce the number of students that say they have 1 or less problem solving technique from 58% to 30% by June 2016



  1. Problem Solving poster and LUVE 2 CU pages in Journal, staff asked to refer to these often for all subjects
  2. New Puzzle displayed every day in the library
  3. Problem Solving posters around the school



Sheila has reported high interest in the daily puzzle in the library.

Teachers have reported interest in the problem solving pages and believe the students are using them

The focus group were given a survey in 2015 with various questions about problem solving.  They have not been retested yet.



We need to retest the focus group on the subject of problem solving, in particular reference to our target.  




Target: Decrease the number of students that say they never/rarely check their work from 33% down to 10% by June 2016



  1. Teachers put ‘have you checked your work?’ on the end of tests
  2. Teachers asked to regularly emphasise the benefits of checking work
  3. Success Criteria poster made by TY student Lauren Tarpey



The focus group were given a survey in 2015 with various questions about checking answers.  They have not been retested yet.



We need to retest the focus group on the subject of checking of work, in particular reference to our target.






  1. Retesting Focus Group

To gain data on progress in targets further testing of our focus group is needed.  Paul and Darren are looking after this late January.


  1. The Numeracy Board

This is under construction and will be put in D corridor asap.  There will be a grand opening in Numeracy Week.  This will promote numeracy awareness and give information and promote discussion on our 3 targets.  Exciting themes that have potential to get the attention of students will be explored, such as aviation and fantasy football leagues.  A trip to the airport could be arranged.  Puzzles can also be put on the board with prizes on offer.


  1. Numeracy Week  6th – 10th March

Numeracy week is to promote awareness and improve results of our targets.  It has been a while since Numeracy has been to the fore and this will remind everyone again.  We will try to be as imaginative as possible with activities.


  1. Spatial Awareness Module

Spatial Awareness to be taught in IT classes


  1. TY Numeracy Group

To get some welcome help and feedback from students a small TY Numeracy Group will be formed and these will work in tandem with the Literacy Group




Numeracy is a key element of our plans to improve teaching and learning in PCS.  Efforts have been taking place in the school to increase awareness of our use of numeracy in everyday life (see display below by class 3K 2014/15) and how numeracy is not just maths, which is a common misconception   Numeracy is across ALL subject areas and is a vital life skill.

Numeracy Display


We have outlined a number of priority areas that require development over the next year. Below we will outline our targets for the 2015/2016 academic year and give advice on how students can be facilitated in developing in these areas.  There will be many school initiatives but students and parents can enhance this development at home also through using the links below for each target.


Target 1: Developing a wide range wide of problem solving techniques

Students generally can have difficulties in problem solving.  This is an essential life skill.  We aim to equip students with multiple cross-curricular tools to tackle these problems.  Examples of this include drawing a diagram, eliminating possibilities and looking for patterns.  There will be a section of the journal in 2015/2016 dedicated to problem solving.


9 Problem Solving Strategies:

Fun Problems to Solve:

Fun Interactive Problem Solving Quiz:


Target 2: Ensuring that students routinely check their work

It is important that students check their work and verify that they are correct.  Presentation of work is also vital.  This is relevant to all subject areas.  We aim to increase the number of students that review their work prior to submitting it.


Target 3: Improving students understanding of dividing fractions

Many of our students have expressed difficulties in this area.  We aim to improve student understanding and application of this topic.


Excellent video explaining how to divide fractions and why we do it that way:

More information on dividing fractions and worksheets/activities:


In general,

There are many other fun resources on the internet that could help students with their numeracy skills:

Brush up on telling the time:

How to deal with money:

Learn about cards using this online solitaire game:

Excellent BBC website giving advice on basic numeracy skills with quizzes:

Game ideas to encourage numeracy;.


A selection available in Eason

  1. The DIY board game , make up your own games. 12.99euro
  2. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Ludo and Snakes and ladders for the First years maybe? 14.99euro
  3. Selection of old fashioned games at 3 for 2 offer at 3.99euro each. Snakes and Ladders, Battleship, Pinball,Balancing chairs, Shaky Tower game. May not be directly about numbers but promotes strategic thinking, hand eye coordination  and a bit of forward planning. Also can give a good feel for real world phenomena like centre of gravity, balance  etc.  
  4. Math dice and Math dice Junior.@ 9.99euro A  dice game that require arithmetic skills. Produced byThinkfun who have a very good wedsite with a good selection of games both physical and online, with a section for teachers. Mainly targeting younger students and special needs.
  5. Easonlogy wooden labyrinth maze game @12.99euro
  6. Easonlogy all-in-one 38 number games (wooden tiles arranged as puzzles) @7.99euro
  7. “Whats the Point” board game which involves decimals, fractions and percentages.@14.99
  8. Fraction Action Lotto at @11.99. Made by the same company as What’s the Point?”
  9. Suduko Rubics Cube for under 10 euro.
  10. BrainBox games including BrainBox Maths which contains cards with maths problems. @10.99 euro
  11. Ninety Nine Games set includinbg Yatzy and other dice games @12.99euro
  12. Headspace. A lateral thinking boardgame @ 9.99euro.

I also looked at a web site They had Brainbox Maths and Time Tables Lotto board games which may be suitable. They mostly cater for younger students. Their maths games deal mainly with subtraction and addition problems,