Trigonometry to fractions - new Norfolk County Council campaign hopes to make maths fun

Tim Kinnaird, of Macarons and More, has supported Norfolk County Council's Count on Norfolk campaign

Tim Kinnaird, of Macarons and More, has supported Norfolk County Council's Count on Norfolk campaign. Picture: Angela Sharpe - Credit: Angela Sharpe Photography

From algebra to trigonometry, maths isn't always seen as the most exciting of school subjects.

Year five pupils from across the region took part in a maths challenge at Langley Preparatory School

Year five pupils from across the region took part in a maths challenge at Langley Preparatory School at Taverham Hall earlier this year. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

But a new council-led campaign is hoping to change that - by encouraging families to do more to bring numbers into children's lives.

The Norfolk County Council Count on Norfolk drive, launched today, will offer parents tips on how to make numbers fun at home.

It is hoped the push will boost maths skills in primary age children, with just 62pc of 11-year-olds in Norfolk meeting the government's standard for maths last year, below the national average of 70pc.

It will include showing youngsters how maths is useful in a variety of careers.

Christopher Faraday. Picture: Norfolk County Council

Christopher Faraday. Picture: Norfolk County Council - Credit: Archant


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Tim Kinnaird, a former Masterchef contestant and owner of Macarons and More in Norwich, said numbers were key in his baking.

'Day-to-day I use fractions, ratios and percentages to convert temperatures and tin sizes, and I also have to do VAT calculations, staff salaries and costings for cakes,' he said.

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'When we trial a new cake, we bake it in a small tin to get the flavours and textures right and then have to work out how much we need of each ingredient to make up to 400 portions of it.'

Today, a new section on the council's website will have links to simple maths tasks, including counting to a pound with different coins and working out differences between times in minutes.

Inspector Jon Chapman. Photo: Steve Adams

Inspector Jon Chapman. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

Studies show, in particular, a link between mums' attitudes to maths and their daughters' performance in the subject.

Chris Snudden, assistant director for education at the council, said: 'Learning maths at home doesn't have to be difficult or daunting – just working on simple activities and being positive about maths can really help with children's learning.

'Linking sports activities to numbers, getting children to pay with cash at the shops, baking together and talking about shapes, time and scale are all great ways to bring maths into everyday play and activities.'

Count on Norfolk is part of the council's wider Raising Learners campaign which, when it launches this summer, hopes to improve literacy and numeracy levels.

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Maths in life-saving jobs

While sums and equations are confined to the classroom for some, others rely on them every day.

Dr Chris Faraday, who works in paediatrics, said 'numbers save lives'.

'In paediatrics we use maths to calculate doses for small children according to body weight to prevent harm from medicines,' he said.

'We also calculate how quickly medicines are used up by the body and therefore how often they can be taken safely. Maths is incredibly important in converting between different units so that we give medicines in safe doses and make people better.'

Inspector Jon Chapman, of Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing, added: 'In roads policing, we use maths to calculate the speed, acceleration and motion of vehicles in the run up to road traffic collisions, so that we can reconstruct what has happened.

'This helps us to understand whether speed or carelessness has been a factor so that we can seek justice for victims of road traffic collisions and work, with our partners, to educate drivers about road safety.'

• Do you have an education story? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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