New maths website backed by SHINE is boosting numeracy skills

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Ebrahim Tafti, creator of Arithmagicians

A new maths website is proving successful in boosting the numeracy skills of primary school pupils, teachers trialling the software have reported.

In a pilot of Arithmagicians, 93% of teachers said the educational tool had improved their pupils’ mental maths fluency.

Arithmagicians is the creation of maths teacher Ebrahim Tafti, who won a grant from Let Teachers SHINE to develop the website and app, which features games where pupils can race against time to answer maths questions in their heads.

In its first year, Arithmagicians has been well received in the 10 pilot schools that were given free early access to the website. A further 16 schools have purchased an annual subscription.

Suzanne Lees, from St Oswald’s CE Primary School, said Arithmagicians “has definitely been beneficial to all children”. She added: “Both the children and staff, have really enjoyed using Arithmagicians. The children are so much more confident with completing the mental questions for arithmetic.”

93% of teachers said their pupils were using mental strategies in class more often since using Arithmagicians.

Based on data from five pilot schools, pupils were able to do sums in their heads 43% quicker than they were before they began using the website. At one school, children were almost two-thirds (74%) faster.

Arithmagicians has proved to be hugely beneficial to our children in developing their mathematical fluency.

Andrew Triner Beechwood Primary School

Andrew Triner, from Beechwood Primary School, said: “Arithmagicians has proved to be hugely beneficial to our children in developing their mathematical fluency. They have also enjoyed the competitive element of it and trying to improve on their score each day. It has also been useful being able to focus questions on specific curriculum areas that the children may be struggling with.”

85% of teachers surveyed said their pupils found the site engaging.

“We love it,” said Beth Hughes, from St Oswald’s CE Primary School. “It has made such a big difference to the class’s arithmetic. Their speed and fluency have increased tremendously. The online version is engaging, and the children have enjoyed using it.”

Research demonstrates that students who engage in extensive and repetitive practice, such as mental arithmetic exercises, can free up their working memory for more complex analytical thinking. “Consequently,” says Ebrahim, “mental arithmetic skills are not only crucial for success in the KS2 Arithmetic Paper but also integral to comprehending all areas of the mathematics curriculum.

“The primary objective of this intervention is to enhance students’ mental arithmetic skills. By doing so, not only will their confidence in mathematics improve, but they will also be better equipped to achieve the expected standard in the Key Stage 2 maths SATs.”

Ebrahim added: “Overall, the project has experienced great success this year. My plans for the upcoming year involve expanding the reach of Arithmagicians to more schools.

“I am enthusiastic about collaborating with mathematics hubs or even partnering with mathematics educator researchers to enhance the program further. By joining forces with these professionals, I aim to foster a collaborative environment that promotes effective mathematics education and encourages the continuous improvement of Arithmagicians.”