CMNetwork E-bulletin: May 2009

    © Copyright M. Worthington & E. Carruthers 2012

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Long before the publication of the Rose Review of the Primary Curriculum, concerns have been raised about the proposal that there should be only a single point of entry for children in England, in September after the child’s fourth birthday. For many children with ‘summer’ birthdays, this means that some will be only 48 months of age! There is a growing body of research and publications which argue that this is far too young.

As Wendy Scott emphasises in the current TACTYC newsletter, ‘Current provision in reception classes often undermines the expectations of the EYFS: we have empirical evidence which gives a vivid picture of the limited experiences on offer for too many four year olds’. It appears that for many children the Foundation stage effectively ends when they move from home, nursery or pre-school into school: their experiences very different

and opportunities for play especially is often marginalised and limited.

Once they start school, for many children the emphasis changes from focusing on the child to the school day and the adult’s plans and targets that do not always take sufficient account of the young child’s needs and strengths.

The most recent (2009) Report from UNICEF on Children’s Well-being provides some chilling reading, with the United Kingdom scoring the lowest on almost every aspect that was evaluated. This report raises issues of deep concern and very serious questions that should be of huge concern to everyone!

Growing up fast

Have your say here!

New! Starting School


This item is from the National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics (NCETM).

Case Study 5 features the outcome of this 2-year research project into our local Children’s Mathematics Network groups initiative - (focusing on the Bristol group).

Teaching and research go hand in hand
More than 170 teachers and educational researchers from across the UK and Europe met at a major NCETM International Research event in Bristol to hear about how CPD can transform what happens in the classroom. The Researching Effective CPD in Mathematics Education (RECME) report was received positively by all those attending. Jan Van Maanan, director of the Freudenthal Institute was able to share some of the excellent work they are carrying out into researching learning of mathematics and participants all appreciated the insights shared by visiting teams engaged in CPD from Germany and Sweden. The message that came across loud and clear was that teaching and researching are both possible in the classroom.

Interest from teachers and practitioners is growing: are you interested in setting up a group in your area?

Graphic of the month

Catherine’s fractions

This example was on Catherine’s first whole day at school in the Reception class. Catherine was quiet and reserved and initially hesitant about what she wanted to do during the children’s extended period of child-initiated play. As she talked quietly to her teacher, Catherine explained that her sister was 2˝ years on that day and decided to draw a picture of her.

After a while she brought her drawing to her teacher. She had written a ‘C’ in the top left-hand corner to represent her name and added a similar symbol that appeared to be a ‘c’ with a line beneath it (or perhaps a reversed numeral of ‘2’. I wondered if she would add something to signify ˝ and smiling, she wrote the ‘c’ symbol next. Was this her way of representing approximately a half of a numeral ‘2’?

The next day as soon as she arrived at school Catherine confidently went to the writing area and wrote some more symbols explaining ‘I’m 4˝ years old!’ She had written a numeral ‘4’ followed by her approximation of a half of a numeral 4.


These invented symbols were ingenious solutions that enabled Catherine to communicate specific mathematical meanings and show considerable insight for a young four year-old.

Written number and quantities

  • Early written numerals (exploring fractions)

See:  taxonomy of development

Link to Graphics of Past Months

Welcome to new members: from The North welcome to Christine Morse, Nottingham City Council.

From the Midlands & East Anglia welcome to

Gillian Baker Raleigh Infant School, Thetford; Nicola Husbands, Hevingham Primary School, Norfolk; from London and South East welcome to: Donna Allen, Croyden, Surrey; Professor Mike Askew, King's College London; Angela Dye, Bees Knees Nannies; Kate Golding, Potton Lower School, Sandy, Beds; Lynda Shipp, Little Hallingbury, Essex; from the South and South West we would like to welcome: Amy MacNamee and Anne Mortimore, Shirehampton Primary School, Bristol; Beth Osborne and Julia Sutcliffe, Clifton High School, Bristol.

Welcome also to our new members from Canada: to Alan Lawson in Ottawa and Emily Levy-Purdy at Uniacke District School, Nova Scotia


  • We welcome new members – wherever you are!  Perhaps you will become the first member in your part of the UK – or the first member from your country?
  • There is currently no fee to become a member of the Children’s Mathematics Network.


New! Reports 2009


For 2008 - 2009
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April 2009

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