Maths Champions (re-grant)

This project and its evaluation were affected by the 2020 and 2021 partial school closures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The start of this project was delayed by a year and so we are still looking for Early Years settings to take part. See below for more information and how to get involved. The evaluation protocol is being updated and will be published here as soon as possible.

Maths Champions aims to improve the maths skills of children in early years settings. This project will evaluate the impact of training Maths Champions within nurseries: senior staff who are responsible for the quality of maths provision in their setting, and for building the confidence and skills of the practitioners working with children. Maths Champions are supported to audit current practice and create and implement an action plan for supporting colleagues to improve maths practice throughout the year.

The programme has been developed by the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), who support the Maths Champion with online CPD, including e-modules on early mathematical development, resources, and one-to-one advice. 

Why are we funding it?

This project is co-funded by the EEF and the Department for Education as part of our Early Years professional development funding round.

Maths CPD was identified as a priority in this round, as an area in which less evidence has been generated to date. Research suggests that high-quality early numeracy education in the early years can have long-lasting effects which may help close the gap in achievement throughout life.

Maths Champions has been tested through a previous EEF trial. This found a positive impact on maths attainment, with children in settings who received Maths Champions making the equivalent of +2 months’ additional progress in maths, on average, compared to children in the comparison group. The security of the evaluation was weakened by the fact some pupils were not included in the final analysis because they were not tested when the intervention ended. 

This trial will re-test Maths Champions in a larger number of settings, including school-based nurseries, and put in place measures to increase the security of the evaluation. 

How are we evaluating it?

The programme will be evaluated by a team from the University of York and Durham University.

A small pilot will be undertaken prior to the effectiveness trial to assess some changes to the programme, including a new role of ‘Deputy Maths Champion’ to support the Maths Champion in each setting.

The effectiveness trial will be a two-arm randomised controlled trial. Both private and voluntary nurseries (PVIs) and school-based nurseries will be included in the trial. 140 settings will be recruited, 70 to receive Maths Champions and 70 in the control group.

The study will be targeted at children who, at the start of the intervention, are three years-old and attend nursery for a minimum of 15 hours a week. 

The primary outcome will be maths attainment of children at the end of the school year and we will also measure the impact on mathematical practice in settings and practitioners’ confidence. The evaluation will also include an implementation and process evaluation.

When will the evaluation report be due?

The evaluation report will be published in Spring 2023.

If you express interest in this project, the EEF’s project delivery partner and evaluation partner will use your contact details for the purposes of recruitment to the project. Your contact details will not be used for any other purposes and will be deleted when no longer needed. A full privacy notice will be shared together with the recruitment documents. More information about data protection in EEF evaluations can be found here