Game-based learning helps Wirral secondary to raises standards in maths

Bebington High School uses Mathletics to help reluctant learners master key maths concepts.


About the school

Bebington High School is a specialist sports college based in the Wirral in North West England. The school’s vision is to ‘shape exceptional futures’ which it achieves through the values represented in sport: leadership, perseverance, fair play, teamwork, and loyalty. The school encourages all within its community, including parents, to gain leadership and coaching awards, opening up further opportunities for students and prides itself on its position in the community.

As the only non-faith and non-grammar school in the area Bebington High has a high proportion of pupils qualifying for free school meals as well as EAL and SEND students.

What were the challenges?

Christine Edge-Sayer is Assistant SENCO and Head of Resourced Base Provision at Bebington High. As an area of the school that has been rapidly expanding, Christine was keen to find a solution that would help engage students with moderate learning difficulties to be more motivated in their maths learning.

“We already had an additional literacy programme in place to work alongside the English curriculum and we wanted to replicate its success with our maths programme.

“One of the main challenges we face with our students is a lack of confidence in their maths abilities. Many of them become trapped in the fixed mindset of not being able to ‘do maths’, often due to not having mastered the fundamental concepts earlier in their school careers. This leads to a subsequent lack of motivation and difficulty engaging them in trying to improve.

“Another challenge was in finding a solution which would allow us to set work at an emergent level, but with an interface which didn’t immediately alert students to the fact they were working at a lower level – and risk knocking their confidence further. We also wanted the solution to be learner-led so students could take charge of their own development.”

How is Mathletics meeting these challenges?

“We began using Mathletics in June 2018 to reinforce knowledge from maths lessons, ensuring that key concepts were deeply embedded and students had adequate opportunities to practise the methods they’d been taught during class. As Mathletics allows you to repeat activities and view results in real-time this was hugely useful for engaging reluctant learners.
“From a teaching point of view, having an online resource which is fully learner-led allows us to start some students on Mathletics whilst delivering further teaching or one-on-one guidance to students still struggling with basic concepts. As Mathletics is highly personalised it helps us to deliver differentiated learning to all our students with the handy placement quiz ensuring they start at the correct level.
“As the resource is reward-based we really find all our students from year 7 – 11 enjoy using it. Not only are they motivated when using the resource but they work hard to get their set work done so that they can choose to go on Live Mathletics, the 60 second mental maths game. ”
What are the overall results?

“Since introducing Mathletics we have seen a huge improvement in students’ maths, particularly with the strengthening of mental methods.
“Mathletics has also helped increase students’ motivation to learn. Even those who are more difficult to engage enjoy Mathletics sessions.

“Personally, I have noticed an increased confidence in Maths lessons as I deliver these across the year groups in our department. As Mathletics is highly personalised it enables me to set work appropriate to their ability, without alerting them to the fact they’re working at a level below the national standard and knocking their confidence. This allows them to improve their understanding of basic concepts and set off on the correct path to more advanced mathematics.

“From a teaching point-of-view Mathletics allows me to set work and view students’ progress to see if they understand the concept fully when working independently. Topics are clearly broken down making it quick and easy to set work and saving valuable time on planning and marking.”

What’s next?

“One of the areas we’re keen to develop is to increase parents’ engagement with their children’s learning. As Mathletics can be used at home we would like to use it more consistently for homework; this would definitely save us time on marking!

“A step that we’ve already made is to purchase additional licenses for our mainstream classes. We’ve already started talks with the Maths department about using the resource as an intervention tool.

“We are excited to continue using Mathletics to raise standards at Bebington High!”