I was delighted to attend the recent launch event of ‘Maths Week London’ with teachers, educationalists and The Mayor’s Fund for London which is a social mobility charity, supporting young Londoners from low-income backgrounds. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is their patron.
Maths Week London, which will take place from 10-14 June 2019, is set to become an annual event dedicated to improving children’s attitudes towards maths and inspiring more pupils, teachers and parents to improve their confidence in the teaching and learning of the subject. The event will also promote maths as an essential skill in paving the way for every career path.
Due to the huge success of ‘Maths Week Ireland’ where Maths Week began in May 2006 and ‘Maths Week Scotland’, held for the first time in 2017, organisers, Sumdog, are now replicating this event throughout London and are calling for as many schools and teachers as possible to get involved.
The evening kicked off with an introduction from Kim Chaplain, Director of Charitable Portfolio at the Mayor’s Fund for London, who introduced the origins of Maths Week London: “Current attitudes that we have as a society towards maths is encouraging children to give up on the subject too early. The impact this has on later life can have detrimental effects. Therefore, there needs to be more support for the way maths is taught and learnt, in order to strengthen engagement, increase attainment and improve the life chances of all children. The Mayor’s Fund for London is delighted to be partnering with Maths Week London to raise awareness throughout London, and nationally, to change these attitudes and encourage more children to enjoy maths.”
Kim referred to the recently published Cambridge University report examining the nature and origins of Maths Anxiety. An aim of Maths Week is to turn Maths into something that is not frightening.
Simon Pile, Assistant Head of Anson Primary, and partner school of Maths Week London said: “At Anson Primary School, we recognise the importance of making maths come alive in the classroom in order to inspire and engage our students.
“In June, our year 6 pupils will create their own business in the form of a market stall which they’ll run each lunchtime across the week. Considering costs, profits, design and advertising, pupils will learn about the economic viability of a business and will develop key collaboration skills as they work with local businesses. We’re really excited to see how they get on!”
Schools who sign up will be given access to an online resource hub which includes starter packs, ideas and maths activities for teachers and parents to use with students. Additionally, there will be free events taking place throughout the week, a competition for students and grants of up to £200 available to schools in areas of high deprivation.
Andrea Carr, Chairman of Sumdog, said: “We have already seen the huge impact that Maths Week has had throughout Scotland and Ireland with over 80,000 pupils taking part in Maths Week Scotland last year. We want to share that success by bringing Maths Week to London in 2019. We are looking to involve teachers, parents and children from across the capital in a week of maths events and activities, with the aim of changing attitudes towards mathematics and motivating young people.”
Maths Week London (@MathsWeekLDN on Twitter) is supported by several organisations including The Association of Teachers of Mathematics (note their free resource with questions based on the London Underground network) and the Mathematical Association.