When Ann Gill, Head Teacher of Rode Heath Primary School in Cheshire decided to purchase RM Maths, she was looking for maths software to move ICT forward in the school. Ann was also looking for maths software that would fill any gaps when teaching the maths curriculum. Did RM Maths step up to the challenge?
When Ann Gill bought RM Maths, she had high expectations. She had seen a demo of RM Maths which had changed her perception of how ICT should be used in schools. She had been looking at implementing an ICT suite but by putting PCs in every classroom she felt that they would get much more use and could be used to support other areas of the curriculum such as literacy.
Ann was concerned that the Primary National Strategy focuses a lot at the middle and average pupils, and not on SEN and Gifted And Talented pupils. She was looking for a product to meet the needs of all children. She wanted a something exciting that was proven to raise attainment and would fit well with their choice to implement PCs in every classroom rather than an ICT suite.
"RM Maths works well with all pupils. I was, however, particularly pleased that it supported learning for the less able. By using RM Maths we are able to track the pupils really easily. We can see exactly what level they are at and then identify where they are having problems. The programme gives us evidence of the rate of progress to support the Graduated Response for SEN children."
In the beginning Rode Heath Primary School only used RM Maths for older years but soon it was used in reception class and by all ability levels. Ann says:
"Most pupils use the programme for about 10 minutes a day. We have now tracked progress from Year 2 to Year 6 and there has been a significant improvement in Maths. In the first year of using RM Maths - there was an appreciable jump in SATs results. The previous Key Stage 1 Maths result was 32% at level 3 and with RM Maths 70% of pupils were at level 3!"
The school started with only two or three PCs in each classroom but teachers wanted more. They wanted to give more pupils access to RM Maths so they could all benefit. As Ann explains:
"The best thing about RM Maths is that is doesn't need high spec PCs for it to run on. We were given ex-industry PCs and it runs well on all of them. The teachers wanted more PCs and now there are 50 in school - which allows us to use ICT effectively to support group work. Having 1 for every 3 pupils is fantastic."
They also love the fact that children really enjoy using the programme.
"All children have the opportunity to work at their own pace and at their own level. It supports the lower ability children and extends the more able pupils."
The school also use RM Snapshot, a maths assessment tool for primary schools alongside RM Maths. They find RM Snapshot exceptional for monitoring the childrens' performance and progress. It is even more valuable because they are monitored in terms of levels which can be applied directly back to the curriculum. Ann explains that "using both together fits in with SATs and is a very manageable approach. It helps to confirm teacher assessments and support judgements if there are queries about pupil progress."
Here are a few pupil comments from Rode Heath Primary School:
Pat - Y6
"I think RM Maths is fun to do so you want to go back to it again. You don't know you are learning because you are having fun. Some parts of maths we do in Year 6 goes back to RM Maths and helps me to understand even more."
"It's good because it tests your brain. Sometimes the questions are easy and sometimes hard. Different groups go on in different ways so my group go on about once a week."
John - Y5
"It's OK. They have different questions every time. Snapshot lasts longer than RM maths with a bit harder questions."
James - Y5
"It's really good because it helps you learn. It gives you sums and tells you how good you are with left and right. It tests your memory. I go on about four times a week. Getting 100% proves you are getting better."
What do other people think about this article? What do you think?