It’s widely acknowledged that primary aged children – whose numeracy and literacy attainment is at the lower level of the spectrum, in terms of baselines scores – will require additional support and attention in the class room. What is more controversial is that children at the higher end of the attainment scale, sometimes dubbed ‘gifted and talented’, may also require additional support and attention in the classroom to further extend them and ensure that their cognitive and emotional needs are being met. All children learn and develop at different rates and it can be difficult in the UK state education sector – which usually has class sizes of thirty children – to ensure that provision is made for those who are meeting and exceeding national attainment averages for their age.
In practice, parents who can afford it, will often siphon their ‘bright’ children into the private sector where they are academically stretched and they generally jump ahead of their state school peers by a couple of years. This academic advantage tends to remain with them for the rest of their lives. If parents are not in a position to ‘opt out’ of the UK state sector, but are unsure of the level of support and extension their youngster is getting in these formative early years, there are a growing number of online and book-based learning support resources to enrich the bright child’s early development.
An innovative partnership between Explore Learning and the University of Cambridge, set up a competition to find the most talented group of young mathematicians in primary schools across the UK. Explore Learning is a network of learning centres across the UK for children of all abilities which provides extra maths and english tuition after-school and at the weekend. The link up with Cambridge University’s ‘nrich project’, was a perfect synergy, as nrich publishes fresh mathematical games and puzzles on their website, with the aim of encouraging children to get better at solving mathematical problems.
Throughout the competition, the children were tested not only on their ability to get to the root of a multi-layered problem, but also on how they worked systematically as a team to record and present their ideas.
Looking at the pictures on the website, it seemed like the children really enjoyed the maths challenges!
Whatever your child’s ability, there are lots of things you can do to help and support their learning and you never know, you might actually enjoy re-learning a few things yourself. And of course, it’s always important to try to develop an honest and open relationship with your child’s class teacher and try to raise any issues you may have in a spirit of collaboration.
Q. If there are twelve oranges in the red bag and nine in the yellow bag, and the green bag has twice as many oranges as the red and yellow bag combined, how many oranges are there in the green bag?
BBC Bitesize http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/bitesizeprimary/
National Literacy Trust http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/
© Suzy Rigg