Posted on 18 November 2016, by Katy Beardall
Devonshire Primary School is a diverse, three form entry school in the heart of Sutton. There are more than 600 pupils and 50% of the children are on the English as an additional language (EAL) register. The school has a friendly learning environment, created by a hard-working team of staff, a supportive governing body, enthusiastic parents and inquisitive children.
Expectations for behaviour and learning are high across the school and maths is no exception. The school had been using an online resource for several years, however interest in it was fading. Assistant Head Teacher, Laura Love, comments: ‘Teachers were not using the program to its full potential and only a small number of pupils were accessing it at home. It was therefore a very expensive resource to have. We were challenged to find a more effective alternative that represented better value for money.”
Laura had used a CD ROM version of RM Maths at a previous school. She recalls: “We saw results improve considerably through the use of RM Maths and attainment gaps had narrowed. I was naturally keen to look at the updated online resource.”
On selecting RM Easimaths Laura says: “What I really like about RM Easimaths is the way it has been designed to be used just a few times a week for 15 minutes per session. This allows us to keep our pupils’ maths skills ticking over even when topics are not being covered in class.”
Just like any online resource, staff had to familiarise themselves with the new system. “RM Easimaths was easy to get started,” remembers Laura. “The online handbook went through every stage very clearly.”
Today, RM Easimaths is being used across the school; as a carousel activity during maths lessons; as a support activity at homework club and extensively at home. Reflecting on the challenges faced with previous resources, Laura comments: “A much larger percentage of children are now using RM Easimaths and 85% of the children in school have accessed it.” This is a figure Laura intends to build upon next year.
Teachers are also benefiting from the introduction of RM Easimaths. Laura says: “Rather than always having to set the tasks for the children to engage with, RM Easimaths does this automatically. Plus teachers are now in a positon where they can easily check-in on pupil progress.”
Thinking about the features Laura finds most valuable, she adds: “With RM Easimaths I know that the questions set are pitched correctly. It automatically adjusts tasks to the child’s understanding, repeats questions where a child is having difficulties and challenges them further when they have mastered an understanding. As a teacher I am assured that the work the children are completing is challenging and supportive.”
She continues: “RM Easimaths has been particularly valuable for building number confidence and it has helped us to improve understanding of some topics that we don’t cover frequently in class time. With recent assessment changes and teachers getting to grips with the new curriculum and assessment procedures, it is reassuring to know that RM Easimaths is accurately tracking the children’s progress and identifying problem areas.
Devonshire Primary School has a rich literacy heritage and Laura is also eager to raise the profile of maths. With RM Easimaths, she feels she is starting to achieve this. She comments: “I wanted to engage a wider range of pupils in online home and school maths activities, and I needed something that would support the parents’ understanding of school mathematics too. RM Easimaths has allowed me to achieve these goals.”
RM Easimaths is proving to be a hit with the pupils. “The children are really motivated as a result of using the system,” says Laura. “They are presented with RM Easimaths certificates in assembly each week and next year we will be creating a board to celebrate weekly achievements.”
She leaves the final word on RM Easimaths to some of her Year 2 pupils:
“It’s super easy and fun. It makes sure you are confident with the questions before it makes them harder.”
“I wouldn’t be as brave to try new things if I didn’t have RM Easimaths.”
This is a great blog post about RM Easimaths. It seems to have worked wonders for Devonshire Primary School. Plus this is just one case study that exemplifies the positive effect new technologies and IT software can have on children's learning. Even simple things such as an intuitive email service and interactive whiteboards in every classroom can make a world of difference.