Page last updated at 05:59 GMT, Friday, 20 June 2008 06:59 UK

One-on-one to boost maths skills

Teacher and child
More than 1,600 staff are already involved with the literacy scheme

A scheme that has already seen 27,000 Welsh school children improve their reading is being introduced for maths.

The Catch Up initiative involves short one-to-one lessons with pupils, aimed at boosting confidence with numbers.

Initial trials have seen primary school children double their rate of progress in mathematics.

Already 1,600 teachers and assistants in Wales have been trained to deliver the sister reading scheme.

The literacy project has seen those children taking part improve their reading age by an average of 18 months after around seven months of tuition.

The startling improvements appear to be mirrored by the mathematics version of the initiative.

The programmes make reading and mathematics more interesting, more enjoyable and more 'do-able'
Julie Lawes, Catch Up

In total, 27 primary schools in seven Welsh local authorities have piloted the maths programme, and over a five-month time span pupils saw their maths ability age leap by almost a year.

The lessons involved individual teaching with a pupil for just half an hour a week, focusing on core components like counting, tens and units, and ordinal numbers.


Catch Up, which is also the name of the charity that devised and supports the training, said feedback also suggested that there had been a significant and positive change in attitudes from those children taking part.

The launch of the maths initiative for Wales and the rest of the UK is being held at a special conference hosted by Cardiff University.

Catch Up's director, Julie Lawes said: "The launch today is targeted at the small percentage of children who struggle with their maths and can be so greatly aided by a structured and cost effective one-to-one intervention programme.

"It builds upon the successful experience of its sister programme, which after ten years of operation in Wales has improved the reading of up to 27,000 children."

Both the reading and maths programmes can be taught in Welsh, under the name Dyfal Donc.

"The programmes make reading and mathematics more interesting, more enjoyable and more 'do-able' for children who currently struggle," added the charity's director.


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