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Why Cumbrian primary teachers are world-leading in teaching maths for mastery

24 May 18
Rebecca Hanson
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Videos from the Teacher Inquiry Conference at the University of Cumbria yesterday:





University of Cumbria Teacher Inquiry Conference Wed 23rd May 2018

17 May 18
Rebecca Hanson
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I will be presenting at this conference and look forward to catching up with many of you then.

The title of my workshop is “What is the role of simple apparatus within Cumbrian Mastery Approaches to Primary Mathematics?”

The link to the conference is here:—fusehill-street/led-research-centre-teacher-inquiry-conference-.php

Authentic Maths News May 2018

17 May 18
Rebecca Hanson
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Authentic Maths primary maths training has thrived.  The first thing I must do here is to express my deepest and most sincere thanks to every headteacher who has invested their money and time in this training and every teacher and teaching assistant who has contributed to it.  I don’t know how to put into words my gratitude to you all.  Together we have captured essence of what brilliant Cumbrian maths teachers do and how they do it and we’ve been able to share this understanding so that all teachers can teach all their students the current primary curriculum ‘for mastery’ in a way that starts from the good practice they already have.

Crucial aspects of the training we have developed are unique, in particular the idea of ‘fundamental representations’ which underpins the efficacy of the training.  Earlier this year I reached the conclusion that it is time to share our work with the wider world of maths education.  Seven years on from when I dropped my plans to write a PhD in order to ‘do politics with that part of my life’ I decided it was time to pick up those plans again.

So far I’ve met with nine potential PhD supervisors.  They’ve been absolutely amazing and have given me their time and attention and wise advice for free.  The conclusion of these meetings has been that I should write a PhD but it should be about analysing and understanding how teacher professional development is co-created with teachers and is designed to start from teacher’s current knowledge rather than to teaching them a new system.  This is incredibly exciting for me because my wonderful mentors have correctly identified the essence of what motivates me and this PhD domain will bring together my experiences from education, politics, healthcare and as an FRSA working on 21st Century Enlightment.  But it does not solve the problem of how to share the practical content of our Authentic Maths training.

At present I think the most likely way forward is that I will write up Authentic Maths year specific training as short books (‘How to Teach Year 1 Maths for Mastery’, ‘How to teach Year 2 Maths for Mastery) etc in 2018/19 and look to start my PhD in the second half of 2019.

But I’ve learned to expect the unexpected in life!

In the meantime I’m continuing to run training and I’m working with hubs to prepare to run day courses from 2018/19.  I’ve little time or need to do marketing so if you’d like training please do contact me and I will do my best to fit you in.

Cumbrian Schools Ready for the Statutory Tables Check

26 Jan 18
Rebecca Hanson
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Staff from St. Mary’s Harrington preparing to ‘Nail the Table Check’.






Robert Ferguson Primary Carlisle, St. Patrick’s RC Primary Workington and St. Mary’s RC Primary Harrington have completed training and have action plans in place to ensure their children nail the new ‘Tables Check’ when it becomes compulary for year 4 in 2020.

“I wouldn’t have changed anything about this Inset.  It was really appropriate for a twilight session.  no-one ‘switched off’!”   Sheryl Slack (Headteacher – St. Patrick’s Workington).

Sessions are selling fast.  To secure a slot for your school contact Authentic Maths now.  More information about cost and content is available here.


Primary Mathematics Curriculum and Assessment Changes

08 Nov 17
Rebecca Hanson
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Primary Numeracy Co-ordinators Update – Winter 2017/18

The government report ‘Primary assessment in England’ September 2017 lays out the following changes to primary mathematics:



The Early Learning Goals will be aligned with the KS1 curriculum – particularly in literacy and mathematics.  Work will be undertaken to improve the teaching of numeracy.

The government intends to explore further whether it is feasible to reduce the ELGs to 3 areas; mathematics, literacy and ‘communication and language development, physical development and personal, social and emotional development’.

Any changes to the ELGs will come into effect from the 2020 to 2021 academic year.


There will be a new assessment early in the reception year.  In mathematics this is expected to involve counting, basic number operations and simple 2d shapes.  This assessment will only be used to generate a whole-school progress measure and for analysis of national data.  The assessment is due to be introduced in autumn 2020 following large scale piloting in 2019.  It will be provided by a single supplier.   It will not be an observational assessment which is carried out over time but it should not feel like a ‘test’ or be different from many of the existing on-entry assessments that schools already undertake with their pupils.

Authentic Maths EYFS course (designed for teachers and teaching assistants working in the final year of nursery and reception class) strengthens EYFS mathematics teaching without compromising other areas of teaching. It achieves this up-skilling teachers to use more powerful and efficient teaching methods and to quickly recognise and implement the specific interventions children need.

At KS1:

The curriculum will remain the same.

The first children to be assessed in reception class will reach the end of KS2 in the summer of 2023.  The end of KS1 test will not be statutory for these children if they are in all-through primary schools from 2023.  It is not yet clear whether this test will be statutory for children in infant schools, first schools and other schools which are not all-through primary schools.  Clarity on this issue is expected by January 2018.

The requirement for schools to report on pupil performance and attainment to parents in more detail at the end of KS1 will remain.  Optional end-of-KS1 tests will be available for schools to use as they see fit.

Meanwhile the interim teacher assessment frameworks for mathematics at KS1, together with the guidance and exemplification materials will be updated and published in due course for first use in 2018/19 (with the current year 1).

Authentic Maths Y1 and Y2 courses teach KS1 teachers and teaching assistants the key representation of number and powerful teaching techniques that will help them ensure all children fully understand KS1 mathematics. 

At KS2:

The curriculum will remain the same.  KS2 SATs will still be statutory.  However the statutory requirement for schools to report teacher assessment judgements in English, reading and mathematics will be abolished. The current year 6 (with KS2 SATs in 2018) will be the last group for which teacher assessment judgements will be required.

Authentic Maths Y3, Y4, Y5 and Y6 courses teach KS2 teachers the key representation of number that help all children fully understand their maths.  A separate course is available for KS2 TAs.  All courses are delivered in your school and take 2 hours (+ 1 hour preparation for teachers) 

The new tables check:

The substantial change in KS2 will be the introduction of the multiplication tables check.  This will take place at the end of year 4 and will become statutory in 2020 (for the current year 2) following extensive trialling in 2019 (with the current year 3).  Schools will have a window in which to administer the assessment and there will be no requirement for a class to take the check at the same time.  The check will be brief, and will be administered online, with an off-line option available for schools without suitable internet connectivity.  Results will be available to teachers instantly and there will be no additional data submission burdens.

No information is available on whether the test will include division as well as multiplication and nobody seems able to answer this question or know when it is likely to be answered at present.

Authentic Maths tables INSET prepares schools to nail the tables check.  The INSET focuses on ensuring teachers from Reception class to Year 4 teach all the relevant skills in ways which will make sure every child understands, enjoys and is fluent with their tables.  Year 5&6 teachers should also attend to ensure their teaching builds from the new practice and standards.   Paired infant and junior schools should book joint training where possible.

For more information about Authentic Maths courses and recommendations for them please see the accompanying sheet, visit or contact

September 2017 Local and National News

30 Sep 17
Rebecca Hanson
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I’ve been busy!

Please accept my apologies for the lack of posts recently.   I’ve been lucky enough to have work come my way without having to chase it so I’ve been concentrating on working rather than blogging and marketing.  I’ve been working with teachers and students in Cumbria but I’ve also been further afield running courses in the Liverpool area.

National News:

On 14th September the Government published important information about the future of primary assessment in England:

There are two essential pieces of information for maths.

  1. A tables test in year 4 will be extensively trialled in 2019 (for the current year 3) and will become statutory in 2020 (for the current year 2). This is going to present substantial challenges for many schools. I’m currently developing whole school INSET which is designed to help schools face this challenge head on.
  2. KS1 SATS are to become non-statutory in 2023 as the official baseline will become a new reception class baseline which will be trialled in 2019 and will become statutory in 2020.

More detail is in my summary of the report which is here.


I’ve been updating Authentic Maths courses to fit seamlessly with the training being provided by the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM).  All Authentic Maths courses securely teach the ‘Representation and Structure’ aspect of mathematics mastery.  They also help teachers develop their understanding of the other aspects of mastery in ways that complement what their schools are already doing in these areas.


17 Mar 17
Rebecca Hanson
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Radio CumbriaOne of the best things about running your own business is that sometimes you can take time out do do other things you really care about, something that’s just not possible when you’re teaching.

In November & December last year I took 2 days out each week to campaign for our NHS services which are facing closure.  The campaign team needed a mathematician with political experience of and the ability to change the minds of experts.

Then I was asked if I would stand in the Copeland by-election.  I did this to try to get our local issues on the agenda.

I have substantial political experience from my years during the coalition government when I worked hard to challenge poor education policy.  I’m also an experienced local councillor.

Politics is not an easy thing to get involved with when you’re a teacher.  It can affect your employment and it can have a substantial impact on your family.   And its difficult too.  Learning to influence policy is a bit like learning to program machine code because simple programs like Word aren’t working – it’s frustrating at first, it takes time to learn how to do it and it’s annoying becuase you feel it shouldn’t be necessary. But it’s essential that experienced people from education do get involved if we’re going to connect policy with our world and, ultimately (hopefully), devolve most policy decisions in education to professionals again.  If you are thinking about getting involved and you would like my help to understand the world of politics please do contact me – I would like to help you if I can.  I don’t care which party you’re interested in joining.  All our parties need people with real experience in education.

Politics is tough but you can do a great deal of good.  And it can be liberating, exhilerating and exciting.  You get to see more of the world as it really is and some of the people you’ll meet will inspire you.  And if you’re at ease taking the flack challenging kids give you every day you’ll probably really enjoy the rough and tumble.

I’m back at work now and loving that.

Rebecca.  March 2017.

Picture: Recording the Radio Cumbria Debate for the Copeland By-Election.













Celebrating 250 teachers and teaching assistants trained

24 Nov 16
Rebecca Hanson
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What a year! Feeling incredibly lucky and privileged to have worked with 250 wonderful teachers and teaching assistants.  Thank you so much all of you.

All teachers are guaranteed to be able to teach every maths concept on their part of the curriculum effectively to a fully mixed ability class.

Picture with the wonderful Amy and Julie at Lowther today.


Signing off from Voom.

07 Jun 16
Rebecca Hanson
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For those who didn’t receive it, here’s a copy of my sign off message from the Virgin Voom competition.

If you missed the Border TV clip it’s here and if you missed the Mike Zeller interview it’s here at 0:50.

I feel the weight of the pain that children and teachers experience with the new primary maths curriculum and SATs.  Knowing that I have the answers they need but not being able to reach them is hard to bear.

There are various ways you may be able to help and I’d be tremendously grateful if you could take the time to read this final message.

Way to help Number 1: For people who know people in education.

I need to find other ways to make this work.  It can only be done if I can build a network of people who have tremendous experience (running cpd across different types of schools and different years) in maths education.  These people are disappearing fast as the structures which developed them are being shut down.

Please can you help me find them?  Everyone who works with me will need to have:
1. at least 10 years teaching experience across a variety of schools (either primary or bottom end heavy secondary maths).
2. been a successful school leader for maths education (primary numeracy co-ordinator or secondary head of maths).
3. a Masters level education qualification (not necessarily maths) and have engaged significantly with maths education research.
4. substantial experience of leading cpd.

Beyond that I will also be looking for people who could manage training across a substantial region.  As well as the above qualifications such people will also have:
5. A fluent knowledge of primary maths education research developed over many years.
6. Systemic leadership experience (e.g. being an LA advisor for a substantial period of time).

I need to identify everyone in the second category because there are so few people in this class and I want to work with, or carefully around so as not to interfere with the work of, every person who is.

Way to help Number 2: For people who have some spare cash.

I want to continue to pursue funding opportunities which will enable me to reach more teachers.  If you’ve some money to spare could you support me so I can do that please?  If you’re interested in supporting me in that way I would discuss with you precisely how I would spend your money.  For example £100 would buy me a train ticket to London on June 20th so I could go to the government briefing about support which is available for female entrepreneurs.

Way to help Number 3: For people who teach or know primary teachers in North Cumbria.

I’m desperate to get back to work.  While some people might feel I should be showing my gratitude for the many positive experiences participating in Virgin Voom has given me the reality is that I feel sad about the time I’ve been away from helping teachers.  Due to having cleared my diary to do this competition I now have availability in June on Mon 13th, Tues 14th, Tues 21st, Wed 22nd, Thurs 23rd and Mon 27th.  I’m offering any course half price – so just £125.  This makes me no profit but I’d just so much rather be working than not.  If your school can’t afford training even at that price then please get them to send me a letter detailing why because there are organisations out there which may be able to help but without your letter I can’t get you any help.

Way to help Number 4: For Cockermothians

If you’re local just please make me smile – or even better laugh – over the next few days.  And if you know anyone who could render my chimney cheaply please do tell me who! J xxx

Way to help Number 5: For people who watched the bid

Does anyone know who the judge on the right was?  She wanted help with her son with maths and I said she should get in touch but she’s probably too embarrassed to ask now I’m out the competition. I want to reassure her it’s still okay but I don’t know her name.

Thank you all so very, very much for your support.  It’s been truly overwhelming.  The Voom judges may not have been able to understand the bid but many truly inspiration people from the world of education and beyond did fully get it.  Thank you again.


07752 407153  @authenticmaths

Sue Hayman and the Times & Star supporting the Voom Bid

21 May 16
Rebecca Hanson
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Sue Hayman MP supporting the Authentic Maths Voom bid this morning – showing off yesterday’s Times & Star article.

Sue Hayman