WRM Reception Jigsaw Trial in Partnership the EEF


White Rose Maths has been selected by the Education Endowment Foundation to trial their brand new Reception professional development package. The trial aims to measure the impact of the WRM Reception Jigsaw on children’s mathematical understanding.

As part of the Early Years Professional Development Round, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has partnered with the Department for Education to test projects that support professional development of practitioners in the early years. 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 narrow the gap in achievement throughout life.

Based on our Jigsaw training model, which has already produced excellent results in primary schools across the UK and beyond, White Rose Maths will provide professional development training targeting maths improvement at the Reception stage. The training will focus on key principles, pedagogy and subject knowledge delivered by their experienced maths specialists, and will include gap tasks and school visits with bespoke support for Reception practitioners.

The Reception trial will consist of:
• 5 in-depth CPD sessions which build up over the year to provide a coherent picture of effective teaching and learning in early maths.
• 5 half day visits from an early years specialist to support Reception teachers in developing effective practice in their own setting.
• Gap tasks, professional development videos and journals will support practitioners on their journey.

Commenting on White Rose Maths’ successful selection, Lead Maths Specialist, Jane Brown said, “We’re thrilled that the EEF have chosen to trial the White Rose Maths Reception Jigsaw as part of their research into early maths CPD. We can’t wait to start recruiting schools to participate in this wonderful opportunity to improve the quality of maths teaching, and children’s outcomes in Reception.”

Caroline Hamilton, Head of White Rose Maths, adds “As an organisation our aim is to improve maths education and the life chances of young people. We believe that a firm foundation in mathematics opens doors for the next generation, we believe that Maths: Everyone Can! We are extremely proud of what we have already achieved and are excited for this next chapter, where we will get the chance to evaluate our impact.”

Recruitment of schools has now begun in readiness for the start the project in September 2020. Our next recruitment events will be held in the North and South of England:

Tuesday 3rd March 2020, 4 pm – 6 pm – Trinity Academy Halifax, West Yorkshire
Monday 9th March 2020, 4 pm – 5.30 pm – WEBINAR
Monday 16th March 2020, 4 pm – 5.30 pm – WEBINAR
Thursday 26th March 2020, 4 pm – 6 pm – Trinity Academy Halifax, West Yorkshire

Click here to learn more about the EEF Reception professional development trial and register an interest!

Alternatively, to book a place on one of these FREE information events click here

Learning for Multiplication

With the introduction of the times table check for Year 4 in June 2020, there has been a huge push in schools towards fluency in multiplication. There are many approaches with a focus on daily practice to develop rapid recall of times table facts.

However, it is also important that children develop a conceptual understanding of multiplication in order to be able to apply this to other areas of the curriculum e.g. division, area etc. The use of manipulatives is vital in this understanding so that children can see how multiplication works rather than just being able to recall facts.

This blog will examine how place value counters can be used to develop conceptual understanding alongside fluency within times tables and then progressing on to more formal methods of multiplication.

Children are introduced to the multiplication sign within Year 2. Over the next 3 years, they are expected to learn all their times tables up to 12 x 12. It is therefore vital that they understand commutativity (numbers can be multiplied in any order and the product will remain the same) and use this to help see links between the times tables.

One way of highlighting commutativity is by using arrays:

Here, we can see an array showing 4 × 5 or 5 × 4. It is important that children can see the array as both 4 groups of 5 as well as 5 groups of 4.

This can help them to use the array to predict other multiplications.

Consider how you would adapt the array to show the following:

5 × 5          6 × 4            4 × 4            2 × 5

Arrays highlight the structure of multiplication as repeated addition and enable children to see how they can use known facts and add or subtract multiples to calculate other multiplications.

e.g. Calculating 10 × 8 – 8 to calculate 9 × 8.

Arrays can also be adapted to consider the link between multiplying ones with multiplying tens and hundreds. Consider replacing the ones in the array shown with tens. What multiplication would be represented? What if the counters were hundreds? Consider showing the multiplication in words alongside manipulatives and calculations to highlight the link even more, e.g. 4 lots of 5 ones = 20 ones, 4 lots of 5 tens = 20 tens, 4 lots of 5 hundreds = 20 hundreds. Children can then regroup the ones, tens and hundreds to see that they are equal to 2 tens, 2 hundreds and 2 thousands.

When children move onto more formal methods of multiplication, encourage them to use place value counters alongside written methods so they understand how and why the method works. In the diagrams below, we can see how this can be done.


1 – Make 4 groups of 123 on the place value grid.


2 – Starting with the smallest place value column, calculate how many counters there are in each column. If there are 10, make an exchange.


3 – An exchange is shown on the written method by writing a 1 underneath the next column.

As can be seen in the diagrams, using the place value counters highlights what happens when there are 10 in a place value column. Children exchange the counters and then show this in the written method. Using the counters also helps children make connections to exchange in formal addition.

When using counters to understand multiplication, it is vital that teachers choose the numbers carefully. If children end up having to do more than 2 exchanges in one column, this can become unmanageable and accidental mistakes are more likely to be made. The counters are important to support the children in their conceptual understanding of multiplication. Once children understand the method, they should move away from the counters and use the written method supported by their knowledge of times tables. Children can sometimes overly rely on the counters to multiply larger numbers. If a child can use the method effectively to calculate 36 × 5 without counters but struggles with 36 × 7, it is more likely that the child lacks times table knowledge rather than an understanding of the method.

Due to this, it is vital that there is still a focus on developing fluency of times tables. Once children develop the conceptual understanding behind multiplication, they should practice on a daily basis to develop speed and accuracy in their recall. Joining this recall with the use of counters to understand what is happening leads to a deeper understanding of the structures behind formal multiplication.