The Numicon programme originates in the UK. A number of different organisations internationally have conducted their own research projects on using Numicon independently from Oxford University Press. They all agree on the effectiveness and possitive and sustained impact of this approach.

Cambridgeshire Local Authority Case Study
A summary of their research during 2006/7, conducting trials in the use of Numicon in the form of 10-week interventions. 

Numicon Research Findings

This summary was commissioned by the National Teacher Research Panel for the 2004 Teacher Research Conference in the UK

Multi-sensory approach to the teaching and learning of mathematics - Leeds Report
A joint initiative by the Primary National Strategy team, the School Support Service and the Psychology and Assessment Service. Their plan was to develop an intervention for middle and upper primary students in particular, to explore the possibility of using Numicon.  

Here is an overview of their findings. See the link above to read the full case study.

  • Students improved their maths skills and visual memory skills (for some this was after a long period not making progress)
  • High student confidence resulted from using the materials, with high levels of engagement and enjoyment;
  • Participating schools were positive about the approach and materials, and keen to continue using them.

Multi-sensory Mathematics for Intervention
A case study by Doncaster Local Authority on the use of multi-sensory approaches, including using Numicon (2007 - 2008). This was run by 6 schools, each identifying 6 pupils who are currently working at least one level below age related expectations and have significant difficulties with maths.

Here is an overview of their findings. See the link above to read the full case study.

  • Numicon equipment provides a unique and important structured imagery of the size of numbers and arithmetic processes.
  • Children made progress in mathematical knowledge, skills and understanding
  • Strong evidence of children’s increased confidence, willingness to 'have a go' and persistence
  • Improved enjoyment in mathematics
  • Using Numicon equipment and the teaching approach with whole class where appropriate, enhances the effectiveness of teaching.
  • Numicon equipment and the teaching approach have relevance for all children.

Research in Early childhood and New Entrants - USA

Melissa Jenkins undertook research as part of the PhD.  Her findings show a clear benefit for children using Numicon.

For further evidence and research links click here


The Numicon Project is a collaborative endeavour to facilitate children’s understanding and enjoyment of maths.

The Project was founded in the daily experience of intelligent children having real difficulty with maths, the frequent underestimation of the complexity of the ideas that we ask young children to face and a recognition of the importance of maths to them and to society as a whole.

We appreciate the complexity of these early number ideas and seek to foster the self-belief necessary to achieve in the face of difficulty; we are not about ‘making maths easy’. 

We believe that the combination of action, imagery and conversation helps children to structure their experiences, which is such a vital skill for both their mathematical and their overall development. 

By watching and listening to what children do and say, we and many others are finding that our developing multi-sensory approach provides learners with the opportunity to play to their strengths, thereby releasing their potential to enjoy, understand and achieve in maths. This enjoyment in achievement is also shared by teachers and parents. 

We strive to support teachers’ subject knowledge and pedagogy with teaching materials, training and ongoing feedback as we continue to develop a better understanding of how we can work together to encourage all learners in the vital early stages of their own mathematical journey.