Making maths magic: Wave 2 maths intervention for Key Stage 1

Case Study
  • Authored by: Rebecca Lewis
  • Status: Approved


What were your reasons for doing this type of development work?

The aim was to develop an intervention programme for maths in Key Stage 1 for Wave 2 support. This programme was developed in order to support schools in the LA, in the long term, in raising the percentage of pupils achieving 2B+ at Key Stage 1 in maths and also develop pupils' confidence in mathematics.

Who might find this case study useful?

  • Middle leader
  • National Strategies consultant
  • Subject leader
  • Teacher

Key points

Point 1

A Wave 2 maths intervention programme to support pupils in Key Stage 1

Point 2

An intervention programme focusing on Year 1 key objectives, counting and speaking and listening


What specific curriculum area, subject or aspect did you intend to have impact on?

  • Mathematics

How did you intend to impact on pupil learning?

The programme, which was developed by a maths consultant, leading teachers and and an Advanced Skills Teacher (AST), was piloted with 12 schools. The teachers and teaching assistants attended CPD. The timely intervention programme was over 6 weeks, 4x30min sessions a week. Targeted pupils were identified using Foundation Stage profile, school's tracking systems (pupils who were forecasted to achieve a Level 2C at the end of KS1) and ongoing teacher assessment against maths key objectives. The pupils worked in a small group of approximately 6 with a teaching assistant. The aim of the programme was to embed the Y1 maths key objectives with an emphasis on counting and elements of Excellence and Enjoyment such as speaking and listening as well as build pupils' confidence and self esteem. Once the programme had been piloted it was rolled out to all schools in the LA.

What were your success criteria?

  • Raised pupils' confidence and self esteem.
  • Increased percentage of pupils achieving Level 2B+ at the end of KS1.

PLEASE NOTE this page has three tabs - click 'Next tab' below or use tabs above to see Teaching approaches and CPD approaches

What information or data did you use to measure progress towards your success criteria?

  • Logs or interviews
  • Periodic teacher assessment

What did you do? What teaching approaches (pedagogy) did you use to achieve the intended impact?

  • Assessment for Learning (AfL)
  • Interventions
  • Use of pupil talk for whole-class teaching

Describe the teaching approaches you used

Intervention programme - 6 weeks, 4x30mins sessions per week. These sessions were organised as follows:

  • 10 minute starter based around counting, speaking and listening, memory games or songs and rhymes
  • 15 minute main module session which include opportunities to talk, practical activities, investigating language, key questioning and practical activities
  • 5 minute reflection time which included assessment questions.

AfL – built in to the programme through initial baseline assessment, success ladders and a final evaluation

Pupil talk – the programme included a particular focus on speaking and listening and various opportunities for discussion through a practical context.


What did you do? What approaches to CPD and learning for adults were used?

  • Classroom enquiry
  • Modelling
  • Training

Describe the CPD approaches you used

Training – 1 day training delivered by the consultant and leading teachers, to teachers and teaching assistants. The training included subject knowledge, the organisation of the programme and the activities within the programme.

Modelling – various activities were modelled and explored.

Classroom enquiry – the pilot schools undertook the programme, which was monitored by the consultant and leading teachers.

What CPD materials, research or expertise have you drawn on?

Research – 'What works for children with mathematical difficulties' – Ann Dowker

PNS materials – Wave 3 maths materials, professional development pack (counting)

Existing Wave 2 maths interventions from another LA – Max's Marvellous Maths

Leading teachers:

Wave 2 maths intervention programmes from other LAs.

Who provided you with support?

  • Middle leader
  • Subject leader

How were you supported?

Support from the Primary Strategy Manager to develop the materials.


What has been the overall impact on pupil learning?

  • The % increase for the LA for 2B+ at KS1 was 0.6%. The average % increase for the 12 pilot schools for 2B+ at KS1 was 13%.
  • The average 2B+% in the year before the pilot for the 12 schools was 60.5%. After the pilot the average 2B+% was 73.5%.
  • All children increased in self confidence and self esteem.
  • All schools are continuing to use the programme.


Thoughts you think are relevant to overall impact on learning

An intervention programme that supports pupils early in their mathematical education definitely has an impact on pupils' attainment. The practical nature, magic element and working in a small group had an impact on the pupils' confidence.

Quotes you think are relevant to overall impact on learning

'The pupils didn't want the programme to end!' - Teacher

'The children had grown in confidence and are more willing to explain.' - Teaching assistant

'Children have returned from the lessons enthusiastic and wanting to tell all.' - Year 6 pupil

'They seem to have gained belief in themselves in numeracy in a small group.' - Teacher

Comments on pupil learning from the evaluation included:

'The children particular enjoyed the starter activities, the 'magic theme', and the measuring and shape modules. The use of a puppet and the visual aids were particular liked by the children. Many of the pupils did not want the programme to end and felt 'special' as a group. One child commented that he liked the bit where he talked to the TA (assessment and reflection time) best "because it was peaceful!' - Teacher

Quantitative evidence of impact on pupil learning

  • Periodic teacher assessment

Qualitative evidence of impact on pupil learning

  • Logs or interviews

Describe the evidence of impact on pupil learning

  • KS1 data (See above)
  • Final evaluations involving questionnaire.

What has been the impact on teaching?

  • Wave 2 intervention programme.
  • Many of the activities in the programme have been transferred into whole class numeracy lessons.

Evidence of impact on teaching

  • Evidence from observation and monitoring
  • Teacher perceptions

Describe the evidence of impact on teaching

Evaluation visits including observations and discussions with the teacher and teaching assistant.

What has been the impact on school organisation and leadership?

Numeracy subject leader aware of the programme.

Evidence of impact on school organisation and leadership

Discussion with the numeracy subject leader.


What is the crucial thing that made the difference?

An early maths intervention programme that was delivered by a trained teaching assistant.

What key resources would people who want to learn from your experience need access to?

A copy of the East Riding programme materials 'Making Maths Magic'. Schools and LAs can purchase the materials using the flyer below. Schools and LAs can also access the training if they wish to do so.

Further information is available on:

What CPD session and resources were particularly useful?

Clear focus on counting and subject knowledge.

PNS counting video clip - foundation stage - mathematical activities for the foundation stage.(ref: Dfes 0295/2002

Practical nature of the CPD to allow delegates to explore the activities in the programme.

If another individual or school was attempting to replicate this work, where would they start and what would the essential elements be?

Visit for more information.

What further developments are you planning to do (or would you like to see others do)?

The programme is now being rolled out to all schools in the LA.


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