Let Teachers SHINE winner 2021: Amy How – One tool – All of the facts

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A Canadian teacher who moved to West Yorkshire to spread the word about an innovative maths tool has received a Let Teachers SHINE award.

Halifax-based Amy How has seen how the rekenrek – a Dutch counting frame – has the power to transform number sense among young children.

The highly visual and versatile resource will now become part of lessons at five Yorkshire primary schools, thanks to a £6,850 grant from Let Teachers SHINE, a competition run by the education charity SHINE and supported by Tes.

Amy said: “This is a game changer for me. I have been flying high since I heard that I had won. I can’t believe it. I’m so excited.

“My passion for increasing enthusiasm in maths education is contagious. I believe this grant is a chance for me to make it happen on a large scale.

“It’s about getting rekenreks in the hands of the children. And then watching them shine, watching them describe and discuss numbers and see their confidence grow. I just want to get started tomorrow.”

She added: “A lot of the schools in the UK have very limited budget, but how do you help those unless somebody like SHINE comes along and says, we’ll do this?

“I really do feel like this has made what I’ve dreamt of into a reality. I’m going to make a difference in the lives of so many children. How amazing is that?”

I really do feel like this has made what I've dreamt of into a reality. I’m going to make a difference in the lives of so many children. How amazing is that?

Amy How Let Teachers SHINE winner

Amy says the rekenrek is unique in its simplicity but also in the way it allows teachers to see what their children are thinking.

“Using the rekenrek, I have seen children thrive and get excited about a new maths tool which increases their understanding and recall of maths facts,” she said.

“There is no stigma attached to it and so all children benefit.”

Helen Rafferty, Interim Chief Executive of SHINE, said: “Congratulations to all the winners of this year’s Let Teachers SHINE competition. The awards were held during some of the most challenging times teachers have ever faced, making the quality of the applications all the more impressive.

“Each of the teachers who took part in the competition demonstrated their innovation and commitment to really make a difference to the futures of children from low-income families.

“We look forward to working with the winners to help them develop their ideas and help hundreds of children to succeed at school.”

As well as financial support, SHINE provides Let Teachers SHINE winners with free access to a range of development workshops and coaching opportunities to help develop their ideas.

For a full list of this year’s winners, click here.

Since August 2000, SHINE has invested more than £31 million in projects benefiting almost 1.4 million children from over 20,000 schools.