Evidence and further research

Australia Pilot Study 2012-2013

A school trialled Numicon for Oxford University Press. These are the findings published 2013

Gathering Evidence for Numicon (1997 - 2007)
Evidence for the effectiveness of the Numicon approach has been accumulating since an original Teacher Training Agency (TTA) funded research project began in 1996. 

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

Research Summary - Learning about numbers with patterns
Summary of a research project carried out at an infant school in England (2004)

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. 

Report on Research Phase of Every Child Counts – Summer Term 2008
We are delighted with the findings of this report. To download the report in full click the link above.

To see a summary of how Numicon features in the report click here.

What Works for Children with Mathematical Difficulties? – April 2009 Click here
A research report from Ann Dowker of Oxford University that features Numicon. This report cantains excellent information about Dyscalculia, the difficulties of learning maths and describes a number of different maths teaching and programmes.

Note: For NZ and Australian readers, Wave 1= Quality first general classroom teaching, Wave 2= Wave 1 plus Group intervention with structured programme to assist learners who are behind, Wave 3= Wave 1 and 2 plus Individualised or very small group programme to accelerate and maximise learning while minimising the performance gap for children with learning difficulties.

Numicon Research Findings

Children with Down Syndrome learning maths - a study from Israel

Auditory vs. Visual/Tactile Math Intervention for a Student with Down Syndrome, Melanie Potter, The College of St. Rose, UK.

Where do children get stuck in Maths?  This is a research paper presented in the UK showing where students get stuck.  This has long term impacts on their high school results and options for education after secondary schooling.  It is sobering reading.

The Numicon Project

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.

Our People

Tony Wing B.Ed., PhD

After graduating in Education and Mathematics at the University of London Institute of Education, Tony Wing taught for a number of years as a primary school teacher and as a school subject leader for mathematics. Always enjoying mathematics teaching in particular, in 1974 he became a Lecturer in Mathematics and Education at Brighton College of Education, specialising in early years mathematics, and there began to develop his approaches to teacher training. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in Mathematics Education at Brighton Polytechnic (now the University of Brighton) Faculty of Education in 1980, and began researching for his PhD part-time at the University of Southampton School of Education. In 1985 he became an active member of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics (ATM), participating in several working groups and being elected to the ATM General Council (1987-91). He was co-founder, and chair of the Sussex branch of ATM between 1994-8. Between 1987 and 1997 he also undertook a variety of consultancy appointments and was external examiner for primary mathematics education courses at both Brunel and Nottingham Trent universities. His PhD (researching representation in mathematics) was awarded in 1989. Between 1997 and 2005, he was instrumental in leading the University of Brighton School of Education to the achievement of the highest Ofsted grades for mathematics initial teacher training, thereby gaining Brighton University national recognition as a ‘Category A’ provider of ITT.

Always keen to try out theoretical teaching ideas first in classrooms, Tony was delighted in 1995 to be able to begin developing in schools the teaching approaches that now underlie the Numicon programme. Together with Romey Tacon he was granted two consecutive Teacher Training Agency (now TDA) Teacher Research awards to research and develop approaches to mental arithmetic teaching in infant schools, and the tested outcomes of this research now form the basis of the Numicon Foundation Kit, and Numicon Kits 1 and 2. In 2006 Tony took early retirement from the University of Brighton in order to devote his time more fully to the further development of Numicon in practice.

Romey Tacon B.Ed Sussex University

Romey graduated in 1982, having studied Art in Education as her main subject. She went on to teach in five schools and developed a keen interest in teaching mathematics to young children, seeing how children’s fascination with patterns in creative work readily connected with their fascination with patterns in mathematics. During her teaching career at various times she was subject leader for art, science, mathematics and was also a Special Needs Co-ordinator for two years. Romey has always been committed to teaching in ways that focus on the learner and has consistently advocated a practical approach to teaching maths using structured apparatus. Following her involvement in the TTA research project into effectively teaching infants mental arithmetic, she became a Leading Maths Teacher in East Sussex. For nine years she led a successful infant school and nursery in East Sussex, the school was rated by Ofsted to be very good in 1996 and again in 2007 when no key issues were identified. In 2000 through involvement in a PFI project the school developed a Special Needs Facility on an innovative in-reach/out-reach model which served children with speech, language and communication difficulties from a cluster of schools. Romey took early retirement from school in 2004 to concentrate on her work with Numicon and to teach part time for a year at Brighton University. She works principally on the further development of Numicon teaching materials and Numicon professional development.

Ruth Atkinson Cert Ed. in Primary Education

Ruth qualified as a teacher from Eastbourne College of Education in 1974. During her teaching career she has been a Special Needs Support Teacher and also a Special Needs Co-ordinator. She has always advocated a practical approach to maths teaching that builds on what children already understand and she was Curriculum Leader for Mathematics for ten years at an Infant school and nursery in East Sussex, where she worked to achieve a coherent and consistent approach to mathematics teaching throughout the school. During the initial TTA Numicon research project into effectively teaching infants mental arithmetic, Ruth was actively involved in developing and testing the teaching activities. Following the project she became a Leading Maths Teacher in East Sussex.

Ruth took early retirement in 2004 in order to concentrate on developing the Numicon teaching materials and training. She has recently moved abroad with her family but continues with work on Numicon and returns to England to deliver training for Local Authorities and to train Numicon trainers.

Jayne Campling B.Ed Brighton University – Author

Jayne Campling graduated from Brighton University (UK) in 1995 with first class honours. Her dissertation initiated a keen interest in children’s visual concepts of maths, which led to involvement with the original Numicon research project (1996-1999). Maintaining links with Numicon, she became a Lead Maths Teacher. Further promotions to Maths Subject Leader and Assistant Headteacher enabled her to implement a multi-sensory approach to maths teaching across a large primary school. A secondment to teach maths education at Brighton University and continued Numicon consultancy work inspired Jayne’s involvement in the future development of the Numicon Project, as Resource Development Leader.

Andrew Jeffrey

Andrew Jeffrey taught for 20 years, and has been an inspector, lecturer, author and mathemagician! His passion for helping children learn, love and understand the patterns and structures of maths has led him to become an international conference speaker and teacher trainer.

Andrew is the director of Magic Message Ltd, a training organisation that specialises in producing exciting resources and professional development for teachers and teaching assistants. Andrew is also one of the writers of Numicon.  You can watch a Youtube video of an interview with Andrew showing his joy of Numicon. Meet the expert on the OUP website.  You can see more of Andrew on his website.

Liz Gibbs

My teaching career has been varied and spans every age group from developing a nursery in the mid 1990s to teaching up to Year 8 in local middle schools in 2013.
In 2001 I left the full time classroom to become Numeracy Consultant for the local authority. 
In 2011 became an independent mathematics consultant and work locally, nationally and internationally, spending up to 25% of the year overseas.

I became a published author in 2014 and one of three UK editors of Inspire maths (Singapore maths) in 2015.  I have also written many school improvement documents for Numicon and Inspire, these can be found on the Oxford Owl website.

I have also contributed to Promethean Planet and the Early Learning Headquarters website, with teaching and learning resources and was a member of the ATM General Council for 2 years.

Over the years, I have worked with a wide selection of education based clients.

Oxford University Press

Publishing – Writing - Editing - Online materials – Numicon CPD - Inspire Maths

You can see Liz's website at this link 

Margi Leech Diploma in Teaching, Higher diploma of Teaching

Margi graduated from Auckland Teacher's College in 1976. During her years of teaching, she has taught children ages 5-14 in New Zealand and Hawaii where she was also involved in curriculum writing and exploring education from many cultures and adapting curriculums in many settings from refugee camps and home schooling to regular classroom environments. Her leadership in Music Education took her to many schools as being part of the 'Musikit' a music programme used in most NZ schools and as conductor for choir festivals. As a home school parent she lead many initiatives and programmes for students of all ages.

Today, she is NZ's  lead Numicon consultant and distributor for this exciting programme. She continues to teach where she can on a casual basis. Her passion has always been for all children learning well and with a practical application.  Her experience of working with students with a Maori and Pasifika background has enriched her appreciation for a variety of hands-on approaches, quality and best-practice teaching. Margi often contributes to the development of Numicon for students with learning difficulties. One of her daughters is gifted with dyslexia and her other daughter has Down Syndrome. Margi's introduction to Numicon came as a result of being invited to run a trial of Numicon in NZ with the New Zealand Down Syndrome Association.  Following the success of that trial, Margi has introduced Numicon to NZ and Australia. Margi is active in promoting the education of children with Down Syndrome. She is a founding member of the NZDSA Education Advisory Committee and presents regular courses for teachers and parents.