Learning maths whilst being physically active. It definitely sounds like fun, but does it really work? The short answer is yes, it does. A six-week study conducted by academics at Leeds Beckett University has concluded that the Maths on the Move (MOTM) programme both improves maths attainment and increases physical activity levels.
The study, conducted prior to lockdown at the end of 2019, compared outcomes for children taking part in a MOTM programme against control groups who continued with traditional classroom-style maths lessons. All MOTM sessions were delivered by experienced Aspire-trained educators.
Children wore accelerometers during the school day to measure their physical activity.
This enabled researchers to find out how MOTM affected children’s chances of meeting the in-school activity target of 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day.
Compared to the control group:
Even prior to lockdown, less than half of children were achieving the Chief Medical Officer’s recommendations around physical activity and the figure has worsened throughout the pandemic. The results of this study show that physically active learning can help to fix this problem.
So, we can increase activity, but what about maths performance?
Researchers measured maths performance using tests before and at the end of the programme. Maths attainment test performance significantly improved over time for children on the MOTM programme when compared to the control groups.
The scores for children on the MOTM programme increased from a baseline average score of 11.3/25 (45.2%) to 18.1/25 (72.4%). The scores for the control groups increased from 10.1/25 (40.4%) to 11/25 (44%) over the same period of time.
These findings support our own year-long study across the academic year 2019 – 2020, where
You can read more about that study here: MOTM
Researchers found that MOTM was an overwhelmingly positive experience for schools.
Here’s what some of the children and their teachers had to say:
“I feel excited and happy, I feel this because we get to do fun activities and learn about Maths.” – Aisha, Year 5
“I like sports but … I also like Maths a bit… I like them all together and it’s really fun because you … challenge each other” – Sana, Year 5
“If Maths on the Move is part of your curriculum, it would have an impact on the general enjoyment of Maths” – Shannon, Teacher
“In terms of their attitudes towards learning, they seem more resilient and a lot more confident, and they don’t have any tears if they can’t answer any of the questions. They just persevere with it.” – Zuri, Teacher
Why do we need physically active learning?
Pandemic or no pandemic, all schools face the dual challenges of keeping children healthy through physical activity and ensuring their academic success.
Structured, active learning programmes enable teachers to cut the time children are expected to sit at a desk whilst still covering the academic curriculum.
Children respond positively to an active learning environment. It can boost confidence and improve academic performance.
Physical activity in school can be integrated into daily routines rather than positioned as an optional extra.
Why is Maths on the Move a good choice?
Following the success of MOTM, Aspire, MOTM programme creators, are now developing English on the Move. We expect that this programme will be available in schools from January 2022.
Find out more
We’re running a free webinar on Thursday 17th June at 4:30pm for anyone who is interested in hearing more about the latest study. The webinar, featuring Dr Jade Morris who carried out the research, will look at how and why to introduce physically active learning into your primary school.
The class was a mixed age class of 10 Year 1 (5-6-year olds) and 16 Year 2 (6-7 year olds) children. The children have a wide range of abilities from those working above age related expectations to those working below. There were 12 children for whom English was an additional language and 3 children who had specific SEND needs.
Almost 50% of the class were EAL (English as an Additional Language) children. Some were confident English speakers, but the majority were still grasping the English language or had recently arrived in the country with little or no English. There was also a large percentage of the class who had Speech and Language issues and/or processing issues. A couple of the children had low self-esteem and confidence issues which resulted in them being reluctant to try new activities or make mistakes.
What we did
The children took park in weekly movement therapy sessions that included Yoga, Tai Chi, breath work and games with a specific mental or emotional objective targeted. The sessions were age appropriate and included motivating resources such as cuddly toys, parachutes and puppets.
There was a noticeable improvement over the course of the year for the whole class in terms of their concentration and focus skills. At the end of each session, the children were calmer and more focused. The careful and intentional movements involved in each session had improved the children’s balance and coordination skills. This was evident from observing the children within PE sessions each week. The EAL and SEND children were able to access the content of each session through observing and copying movements and as a result their confidence and communication skills were developed. The children with low-esteem glowed with pride at the end of a session particularly when they had held a new pose or carried out a sequence successfully.
The children’s concentration and listening skills improved over the course of the year. This meant that they were able to concentrate more fully on lessons. The children enjoyed each session and the practical nature of the activities meant that all the children were able to participate and feel included regardless of their academic ability.
Staff all noted how calm and focused the children were at the end of each session which is quite an achievement on a Friday afternoon!
The sessions will continue every week for each class. There is potential for teaching staff to apply some of techniques into everyday class routines to support wellbeing across the school and those with SEMH needs.
The COVID-19 crisis has had an impact on virtually every aspect of our lives.
For children, all at once, they were unable to go to school, see their friends or, for a long time, spend more than 1 hour per day outdoors. A concerning consequence of these necessary restrictions has been the drastic drop in children’s activity levels.
In fact, it dropped so low that just 19% of children were meeting the recommended 1 hour of physical activity per day.
Many have been deprived of the benefits on physical and mental health associated with sports and physical activity at a time when those benefits were needed most.
We know that you care about your pupils’ health – we do too.
What we can do
With schools reopening amid a global pandemic, you have the monumental responsibility of nurturing your pupils’ development with an array of restrictions in society to ensure safety.
Government have set out guidelines for the safe delivery of high-quality PE using the PE and Sport Premium.
But, with so many new strategies to consider across the board, it will be challenging to provide physical education to the standard your pupils so desperately need.
This is where PE Curriculum Support (PECS) [link to website page] comes in.
What is PECS?
The PECS programme is an effective, sustainable investment for your PE and Sport Premium. It is more than a mere 1-day training course or standalone activity – instead, it takes a holistic approach to embed PE across your entire school.
PECS provides high-quality learning being the only programme of its kind recognised by the Association for Physical Education Professional Development Board. Primarily a mentoring process, PECS offers regular and ongoing support to empower teachers to raise physical education and activity levels in a way that lasts.
We have a proven record of helping schools drastically improve:
• Progress tracking
• Teacher confidence
• Staff subject knowledge
With our help, your teaching staff will get professional development, mentoring, training and resources to help them teach PE and sport more effectively to all pupils.
Everything we do is underpinned by robust data and our approach is constantly evolving to meet the demands of the UK’s primary schools.
With this in mind, we’ve recently made some adaptations to PECS [link to video] to comply with government guidelines, maintain safe delivery and ensure your school’s PE doesn’t suffer from the fall-out of COVID-19.
Let us help you embed physical activity across your school.
Government guidelines for COVID-19 safety
We’ve adapted our approach into a robust, safe methodology in order to support you in meeting government guidelines for high-quality physical education.
What practical steps have we taken?
Teachers now have the option to do their initial meeting with their PECS mentor online.
PECS folders will be posted out to schools in advance of the initial meeting.
Only the teacher will handle the PECS folder.
Updated online PECS portal for mentors to access additional features.
Risk assessments in line with school policies are created in advance.
So, whether it’s delivering from a safe zone or supporting the teacher at a distance, your PECS mentor will provide the guidance needed to support your pupils learning with safe activities personalised to your school.
Your teachers are highly skilled experts in the classroom. The PECS programme helps them transfer those skills into the PE environment in a safe, sustainable way. Let us help your staff teach PE confidently and effectively to improve outcomes for pupils and, crucially, keep everyone safe.
Get in touch to find out more about PECS, you can call us on 01458 211216 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Navigating a new school year, tough enough at the best of times and this is not the best of times.
Lockdown saw teachers transform the way they teach, going above and beyond for their pupils. Yet the implications of four months without face-to-face learning are inescapable.
When you think that a typical school day is between six and seven hours, combine this with the fact that lockdown lasted for months, the reality hits of just how much learning time has been lost.
With the switch to home learning comes the risk of widening the attainment gap, exacerbating existing inequalities as access to resources, home set-up and level of family support all have a role to play in children’s home learning experience.
So, the question is now, what can be done to ensure this impact is not felt long-term?
What the government is doing:
The government has announced a one-off universal £650 million catch-up premium for the 2020 to 2021 academic year.
And with schools having flexibility with the funding, its use can be tailored to the school’s most pressing needs.
A guide for schools has been published by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), providing evidence-based approaches that effectively support pupils when it comes to the task of catching up.
What TLE are doing:
With each new guideline and each new piece of advice, TLE have made sure to ask:
How can we adapt, change and evolve to support schools, teachers and pupils?
The threat of lifelong implications on children’s educational development demands readily available, evidence-based programmes of support.
And it just so happens we have one.
A suggested use of the catch-up premium is intervention programmes that meet a specific need, can be delivered to small groups, include regular sessions maintained
over a sustained period, are carefully timetabled and allow for the monitoring of pupil progress.
Turns out our newly refreshed Maths on the Move (MOTM) [link to animation video] programme checks all of these boxes.
Autumn term kicks off with educators delivering a six-week programme of study focusing on mental maths covering several objectives from the national curriculum. So, there’s your well-targeted, regular sessions over a sustained period of time covered.
Experienced educators, learning materials and an online platform are all part of the MOTM MOTM website page programme with each child receiving a termly progress report. Monitoring of pupils’ progress: check. Accountability and justification for Ofsted: check and check.
We’ve been communicating with our schools over the past few weeks to discuss timetables and create risk assessments which are specific to your setting and in line with your policies. There’s that required careful timetabling.
What we can do together:
Deliver MOTM in your school.
Your safety, pupils’ safety and our team’s safety is top priority. So, what adjustments have we made?
Resources required for each lesson are reduced to only those that are essential. Meaning? Sessions can take place outside where possible. We have faith in the British weather (we think!)
Each child will also be given a personal whiteboard and pen in order to limit the sharing of resources (and the debates over who gets to write…).
As so frequently highlighted during lockdown (as well as the irony of it), the months we were to stay apart were months in which we came together (figuratively speaking) to support one another.
Lockdown may be ending, but to prevent long-term consequences, this unity needs to continue.
If you would like to chat through how we can collaborate to best support you and your pupils, you can call us on 01458 210799 or email email@example.com