Benhurst Primary School

Essex, UK

What makes Benhurst Primary School an Accredited School?

Benhurst Primary School began their journey with Maths — No Problem! in 2016 after they found that their maths attainment had been in decline across all year groups. As a school that was passionate about mathematics, it didn’t take long after implementing the programme in Year 3 for them to start seeing results. This success led them to begin a systematic roll-out of the programme.

Their switch to maths mastery has changed the way their pupils see mathematics. There is more joy, curiosity, and excitement for the subject at every year level; and of course, their attainment and results have gone up too.

Benhurst School Logo

School at a glance:

  • Two-form entry primary school in operation since 1939
  • Part of The LIFE Education Trust
  • 2019 KS1: 88% ARE, 2019 KS2: 88% ARE, 28% GDS
  • Rated by Ofsted as “Good”

“Within weeks of introducing Maths — No Problem! in Year 3, we saw a vast improvement in both attitudes to learning and attainment.”

– Jackie Bergasse, Former Maths Lead

In their own words

Our Maths — No Problem! journey

In September 2016, we identified that our maths attainment had been declining across the school with each passing year. With statements like “I’m rubbish at maths” or “I’ll never be any good at maths” getting increasingly more commonplace, our children were becoming more and more disenchanted with the subject.

When children started in Year 6, their knowledge of number and place value was often a limiting factor which negatively affected the rest of their mathematical journey. Put simply, children struggled with more complex mathematics because they did not understand the key foundational concepts.

It was clear we needed to make significant changes to our teaching practice and began researching the Singapore approach.

After trying several schemes, we decided that Maths — No Problem! met the needs of our school. Following a full consultation with staff, children, and parents, we presented our findings and recommendations to the local governing body who agreed to support the scheme.

Within weeks of introducing Maths — No Problem! in Year 3, we saw a vast improvement in both attitudes to learning and attainment. In particular, the use of journals helped learners demonstrate mastery in areas where they had previously struggled. This provided a new challenge for our more advanced learners, who initially found explaining their thinking difficult.

Following our initial success, we began a carefully planned programme to introduce Maths — No Problem! across the school on a rolling basis. By September 2019, we successfully introduced the approach from Reception to Year 5.

We have followed the recommended implementation schedule for maximum impact and benefit to our children. We also felt that this would minimise the gaps in the children’s learning, particularly those in upper Key Stage 2. We strongly believe that this has ensured the program is being used correctly and providing the maximum benefit.

Maths — No Problem! in our school

Some teachers initially expressed concern as they found the small steps progression and the style of teaching very different from their previous practice. However, as we progressed further into implementation, they could see a tremendous shift in learners’ attitudes, enjoyment and achievement in maths.

We’ve been diligent in ensuring a consistent approach, following the guidance and training from Maths — No Problem! Our teachers have created custom resources in order to deliver the scheme effectively. Across year groups, the SMART files created by staff, opportunities to write in their journal, correct vocabulary as a non-negotiable and access to concrete materials have facilitated a seamless transition when moving between year groups. As a SMART Regional Training Centre, we have used our skills and expertise to develop interactive notebook files which further enhance the Maths — No Problem! approach.

Children are more invested in their learning. It’s fantastic to visit a maths lesson in Year 1 and watch children confidently use concrete materials and discuss their learning using vocabulary that five-year-olds had not previously accessed.

We are shaping independent thinkers who can speak confidently about the various methods they can use to solve a maths problem, and then choose the most effective way. They are engaged, interested and excited about maths. Bar modelling, access to concrete resources and a wide range of problem-solving strategies has made reasoning questions more accessible to all learners — not just the traditionally ‘more able’ learners.

The feedback from the children and staff has been fantastic:

“It is very fun and we learn lots at the beginning. It goes in the right order: it gets easier then harder and the teacher gives us lots of help”

– Bardh (Year 4)

“I like it because it is fun and challenging!”

– Oliver (Year 3)

“What I like about Maths – No Problem! is the equipment we use and the different questions.”

– Sophie (Year 3)

“I like the new maths book because it encourages children to work hard and to understand the meanings of some vocabulary.”

– Isabel (Year 3)

“Some lessons start easy but then get hard. Sometimes we use whiteboards and cubes and we get to talk.”

– Erin (Year 1)

The children love sharing their work with each other, staff and senior leaders. They particularly enjoy and are so very proud when they are photographed with their learning for the twitter account. The children were equally excited when Maths — No Problem! had seen, commented and re-tweeted them!

We have thoroughly enjoyed the Maths — No Problem! journey we embarked on in 2016 and would embrace the opportunity to share our successes, challenges and how we addressed them. We are fully committed to this teaching approach as we have seen the overwhelming benefit to all of our pupils.

School contact details

Contact name:
Hannah Graves – Maths Lead

Benhurst Primary School
Benhurst Avenue
Elm Park, Essex.
RM12 4QS

Phone number:
01708 450 807

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Twitter: @BenhurstPrimary