Roy’s game adds up to a great success

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Innovative teacher Roy Clutterbuck used his love of board games to create fun, engaging maths games. Roy said, “I love using my imagination, creativity, and personality to create something which is an expression of myself and also an effective education tool.” 

Roy, a Sheffield-based primary school teacher, was awarded funding through Let Teachers SHINE back in 2019 for his Lightning Maths- social enterprise. The aim of the project is to make engaging maths games that support fluency and problem-solving. 

So far, using the money received from SHINE, Roy has made Lampogo 3, a fun, fast-paced number game for ages 7+, that aims to aid the learning of number bonds, addition, subtraction, number sense, and confidence in maths.  He currently has two other games under production which also go under the ‘Lampogo’ name and offer concrete and visual puzzles for pupils across the primary range. 

Roy explained his inspiration for the project: “I had a group of children in my Year 6 class who couldn’t do single-digit-addition. I was trying to teach them thousands plus thousands, and they were still counting on their fingers. I decided I was going to create something to help those children over the Easter Holidays and as one of my biggest hobbies is playing board games, a game seemed like the perfect solution! 

“Alongside this, in my teaching career, I’ve been interested in maths anxiety as I believe it is a central barrier for a lot of children. Researching ways to overcome maths anxiety is one of the central aims of Lightning Maths,  as well as supporting children who are behind age-related expectations, for other reasons such as special needs or coming from a disadvantaged background.”

Roy started his project in London where he created a strong network of other Maths teachers through various maths hubs, such as the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). He used these connections to help him develop his project and 15 schools began to use Lightning Maths, although it was slightly fragmented by the pandemic. 

Roy’s first trial in London was a success as many schools enjoyed the game and wanted to continue using it as they saw progress in the children’s mathematical abilities.  

Now that he has moved to the North and is living in Sheffield, Roy is on an exciting new venture as he finds new schools to be part of the project. 

He said, “I’ve found 6 new schools since I’ve been in Sheffield and I’ve had some really positive data coming back. I went to a school visit recently to evaluate their usage of Lightning Maths and the children had made accelerated progress.  

“One of the Year 4 teaching assistants told me that the children are enthusiastic to engage as they see it as learning through play. The resources make the session easy to run and are good visual aids for learners. 

“They asked me if they would be able to carry on with it next term which I think is the best endorsement for me as a project leader.”

Roy’s focus is to continue to develop these ongoing relationships and create new ones through conversations with Senior Leadership Teams about the achievement and progress of disadvantaged pupils in maths, and to work with them to set up a programme that could be repeated in cycles every year. 

Due to his success, he has been able to increase the time he spends working on the project. He now works 2-and-a-half days a week on Lightning Maths, going into different schools to support them, and helping manage and supervise the programme.

Children enjoying playing Lampogo 3.

“The clear impact it has had on the children is what I have enjoyed the most about my project journey so far. I remember a boy who was disinterested and needed a lot of behavioural support. Playing the maths game I’d created really helped him as his maths skills improved and he started to enjoy school more. I remember when he’d been working on a puzzle for a long time and he finally cracked it and started dancing on top of his chair! It was really memorable and moments like that make it worthwhile.”

Roy Clutterbuck