Exeter Chiefs tackle pupils’ fear of numeracy

Exeter chiefs community rugby coach Andy Dudley with the children at Branscombe primary school. Ref

Exeter chiefs community rugby coach Andy Dudley with the children at Branscombe primary school. Ref shb 6402-18-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Exeter Chiefs are helping pupils in Branscombe kick their fear of maths into touch with a new programme.

The rugby giants are running the Tackling Numbers project in 20 schools, helping pupils enjoy the subject with sports-based problems and exercises.

Marc Dibble, the Chiefs’ community development manager, and his team, kicked off the scheme at the start of the new term and will be running the project for the next three years.

The project is aimed at pupils in year four.

The children spend an hour tackling numeracy puzzles with a sports theme, such as organising a league table or using shapes to create their own stadium.

Marc said: “This particular programme is aimed at those who fear maths. They do not realise they are doing numeracy. As a child, if you do not understand something, you fear it.

“They receive support in the classroom to take that fear away. When you start enjoying it, it is not as hard as you first feared.”

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Afterwards, the children take part in a game of tag rugby.

At the end of the six-week programme, the participating schools will meet for a tournament.

Marc added: “Maths is one of the core subjects in schools and that is one of the main aspects of this particular programme. By being outdoors playing tag rugby, we achieve the wellbeing healthy lifestyle that all children should engage with.”

The course is also running at Farway and Broadhembury primary schools, which make up the Jubilee Foundation alongside Branscombe Primary School.

Katie Gray, headteacher for the three primary schools, said: “I think it’s a great opportunity for the federation as a whole to be involved with, and the children certainly seem to be enjoying it.

“The link between the maths and the tag rugby is really exciting the children. They are enjoying learning maths skills in a completely different context.”

She added: “We are all looking forward to the festival at the end of the unit of work, which will give the pupils another great experience.”

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