Jan Hornby, the Head Mistress of Our Lady Star of the Sea Primary School has been using RM Maths in its various guises for no less than 15 years.
"A colleague of mine at the time recommended it to me," says Jan, "and since then I've looked at other maths programmes but always been drawn back to RM Maths; no other programme like it exists."
Why use RM Maths?
The reasons behind Jan's strong attachment to RM Maths are many and like hundreds of teachers throughout the UK, she happy to recommend it to her peers.
Helping the Pupils to Achieve
Jan uses RM Maths for students of all abilities; the pupils do RM Maths at least three times a week for their age in minutes plus one minute. Short bursts are fine and the teachers at Our Lady Star of the Sea really see the difference.
"The best thing about RM Maths is that you are competing with yourself; most of the students can't wait for their score to come up at the end to see if they did better than yesterday. This way the weaker students never feel as if they are underachieving but they are still totally motivated to try harder."
Jan comments, " I've seen my kids discussing the programme amongst each other after their sessions, the ones with problems chat about their issues and those who have mastered a certain skills say, have you tried or I think I did this…It is really nice to see the children collaborating to help each other to achieve."
"I really rate RM Maths because it encourages the pupils to take responsibility for their own learning." Says Jan, "They aren't just learning maths, but they are learning about their own strength and weaknesses."
"One of the most interesting things we do," explains Jan, "is that we compare what the kids are struggling with in class to their weaker points in the RM Maths programme, this enables us to address areas which the children need to develop, for example, pupils struggling with fractions have a fundamental issue with division which often apparent when using the teacher's section of RM Maths . In using the skill run section of the program in combination with teacher expertise the individual needs of the child can be met."
Helping the Teachers to do their jobs effectively
Like most heads and teachers in the UK today Jan has little extra time to train or be trained, "With RM Maths, we get together once term for a couple of hours to review progress and share hints and tips; the programme is easy to use," she explains, "the pupils just know how to use it immediately and the teachers find the teacher programme really easy too."
Some of Jan's teachers track pupil progress once a week and other prefer to leave it to once a month; either way, the teachers are informed of issues that their pupils are having.
But Jan points out in the same breath, that a great aspect of RM Maths is that even if the teacher never checked the children's progress or if it was a new teaching assistant in the room with the children, RM Maths would still work. "It requires no teacher intervention from start to finish," she maintains, "and I just love that. No extra pressure on my teachers can only be a good thing; they certainly have enough to do already!"
RM Education also comes out well in Jan's opinion, "The school had a few problems with an old server a few years back and the RM Maths support team were excellent; they took responsibility and kept on trying to work out the source of the problem until they found it; I cant speak highly enough about the support team."
Jan says, "It is quite simply the best individual maths programme there is out there, I see maths improvement all over the achievement curve and I feel confident that my pupils will enter the world with core basic maths skills."
What about the future?
Jan is keen to keep making use of RM Maths; "I recently recommended it to a colleague whom I was mentoring and I'll continue to do so for as long as I feel that it the best Maths programme out there."
She is also helping RM Education with its ongoing development of the RM Maths and is taking an active role in feeding back with regards to future improvements and ideas.