Maths of the Day

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Maths of the Day's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Maths of the Day is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
Managing Director Jon Smedley
Utilising digital solutions
Two of the most fundamental and oft-mentioned priorities
for the UK are, on the one hand, improving mathematical
ability among young people and, on the other, tackling
obesity. Knowing this, Maths of the Day has sought to
contribute to the tackling of both in one sweep – improving
standards in mathematics and increasing children’s levels of
physical activity. As a multi-award-winning and highly acclaimed
EdTech company, they provide online resources to schools and,
by extension, teachers and parents, with the intent of teaching
the maths curriculum through physical activity. Founded in 2015
by ex-school leader and adviser Jon Smedley, the company has
seen rapid growth and now features regularly in lessons across
the country, with 300,000 pupils taking part every week.
How it all began
Throughout my teaching career, I was passionate about using children’s love of
being active to impact on other areas of the school curriculum. I wanted children
to have an “I can” attitude towards maths, and my extensive research, practice
and distinguished teaching within this field allowed me to see first hand how this
could be achieved. I was keen for all children to experience and enjoy “Active
Maths” lessons.
Knowing the pressures teachers are under, I set up Maths of the Day so that I
could share my ideas and activities, allowing teachers to access them from all over
»Managing Director: Jon Smedley
»Founded in 2015
»Based in Chester
»Services: Mathematical and
physical education services
»Maths of the Day works with
1,400 schools and 14,000
teachers – 300,000 pupils take
part each week
Maths of the Day
What do we do?
We provide 2,000 “Active Maths”
lessons plans, mapped perfectly to
the primary maths curriculum. From
foundation to year 6 (ages 4 to 11),
we ensure that every maths objective
is covered.
Independent case studies
regarding MOTD have routinely
reported back that we are indeed
meeting the aims of the company:
teaching maths and increasing
Physical activity
One of the aims of the government’s
obesity strategy is to increase levels
of physical activity and to ensure
all children take part in 60 minutes
of physical activity per day. Schools
in particular are asked to deliver
30 minutes of this, under the
recognition that making the school
day more active has both physical and
emotional benefits. It is, however, a
task many schools may find difficult
with increasing demands upon them.
However, MOTD provides a perfect
solution, in that we allow children to
take part in high-quality learning while
also exercising.
Attitudes to maths
There is a huge link between attitudes
and attainment in any subject. If
children are enjoying a subject, having
fun and being successful, then they
are more confident, enjoy the subject
even more and, therefore, are more
receptive and resilient when learning
new information. Many papers and
blogs have been written about the
negative attitudes some people have
towards maths within the UK, and
every day MOTD consultants hear
the phrase: “I wish I had been taught
maths this way when I was at school.”
Schools and teachers using MOTD
report an increase in enthusiasm,
self-esteem, confidence, resilience and
determination within maths. Children
are eager to do more and know when
their next MOTD lesson will be.
Attainment in maths
We cannot get away from the
pressures schools and teachers are
under to get children achieving
“good” and “outstanding” results.
Even better than that, MOTD
contributes positively within this
Projects have taken place with
“disengaged boys”, “low confidence
girls”, “low achievers”, “high
achievers” – all with remarkable
outcomes and hard data to satisfy
school leaders, inspectors and officials
of the obvious impact.
Holy Family Catholic Primary School
in Addlestone, Surrey, was just one
of the schools that has seen such
results. Headteacher Steve Tindall was
concerned about a group of year 6
girls who were underperforming in
maths. The idea was to adopt MOTD
across the whole school, and provide
additional support to this group to try
to bolster attitudes and therefore raise
A genuinely fun learning
MOTD provides
a perfect
solution, in
that we allow
children to take
part in high-
quality learning
while also
Highlighting best practice
The schools say the impact was
“striking”, the most satisfying
perhaps being the increase in self-
esteem and confidence. Gone was
the “fear factor” and the “I can’t”
attitudes, and instead of this was a
newfound attitude for hard work
and determination to learn together,
develop teamwork and apply problem-
solving skills which could be applied
across the subject.
In a particular example, one of the
year 6 girls was struggling to connect
with maths, was experiencing anxiety
and was significantly underachieving.
Engaging this girl in a practical way
enabled her to overcome this, and
she started to believe in herself and
began to increase her attainment. By
the time her year 6 SATs came about,
the young lady achieved exceptional
results, getting 100 per cent in her
arithmetic paper. Couple this with the
school achieving their best-ever results
and being placed in the top five per
cent of maths results nationwide, and
it’s safe to say MOTD had certainly
made an impact.
Children are often learning so
many maths concepts without
realising they’re doing maths.
It’s fabulous to see so many
smiling faces and increase in
achievement in the subject”
–Steve Tindall, headteacher,
Holy Family Catholic Primary School
Parental engagement –
“Active Maths” homework
MOTD has also recently launched
its parental “Active Homework”
resource, an online platform which is
free for parents of MOTD schools. This
resource allows parents to continue
this exciting learning at home, and
once again encourages children to
be active as opposed to the more
traditional, sit-at-desk homework.
The colourful, fun and engaging plans
for parents can be accessed online
or printed off by teachers – and the
exposure to parents and homes this
could have over the next couple of
years is huge.
Next steps
It is an exciting time for the
company. We continue to improve
our resources, invest in our product
and strive to bring more schools on
board. We are launching our “Active
English” product in spring 2019,
which is also something we’re very
We are a very ambitious company and
want all children, schools and parents
to have access to MOTD. With this in
mind, we will be proactively looking
for partners who may wish to work
with us to make this happen. These
partners should be equally passionate
about improving the health of
young people, while also improving
maths attitudes and attainment for
We continue
to improve
our resources,
invest in our
product and
strive to bring
more schools
on board
Working with 1,400 schools

This article was sponsored by Maths of the Day. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister