Sally Barker, The Wroxham School, Matrix Essex and Herts Maths Hub

Magic Ten is a whole school fluency initiative, whereby at some stage every day, every class makes time to have ten minutes focusing on factual fluency. It might be first thing in the morning, or after break, or as a starter for the maths lesson. What that involves is children initially singing, chanting or rehearsing a set of number facts, then representing those facts (maybe using the part/part/whole model), articulating those facts to themselves (reciting them) and then the most important part is then looking at how they can apply those facts, so how they can derive other facts from that. In KS1 We are predominantly use it for number bonds, across all numbers, so not just within ten. Then moving on to times table facts and also deriving division facts as well as multiplication facts. I have also used it for learning prime numbers to 100, so anything that you want children to be able to recall quickly without having to calculate. It’s been in place just over a year. The children absolutely love the sessions. We get our children to write their own reports, and pretty much without exception, in every year group, the vast majority of the children were picking up Magic Ten as a particular lesson that they really enjoyed and felt benefited themselves, so that’s coming from the children.

Throughout the school we are now not expecting to see children resort to counting on fingers. It just speeds up the whole process of calculation if you’ve got those facts to hand and can apply them. , and I hope this will become noticeable this year in SATS. If you look at the arithmetic paper, for example, the ability to be able to do a lot of those questions using knowledge that you have, and just applying it, rather than reverting to the algorithm method; the only way that you’ll get the speed that is needed is to know the facts rather than blindly go into a formal calculation…so I expect that we will see immediate effect from that…and as each year group goes through the school, then you’re going to build on that further and further.