## Welcome to Wobbly Girls Club{: .center } National Numeracy Day might be just around the corner, but teachers never stop thinking of ways to increase number confidence so that everyone can enjoy doing maths. Year 6 teacher and maths lead, Kate Nuttall, and Headteacher, Mary Fraser, have taken that to a whole new level with their 'Wobbly Girls Club'. Find out their top tips for boosting maths confidence... ![alt text](/filestore/BlogImage/bbe8ce0b-0311-44e5-bc89-d3b73c438e3c/1047adc5-cb41-410b-8aef-22488d7c34dbwobbly1.jpg ""){: .center } Maths lessons at Cherry Tree Primary in Bolton are no doubt very similar to those all over the country, especially when you take a look at many of the girls. They’re engaged, they have magnificent work ethic, some even double underline everything in different coloured biro. But time and time again we find that underneath the veneer of ‘perfection’ they are sensitive children who won’t ask questions and who are afraid to make mistakes. They believe that by getting something wrong, they’re really rubbish at the subject and their confidence takes a nosedive. We decided to do a bit of research. On the surface the girls work rate was amazing, but there was still something lacking in their self-belief and confidence. When we looked more closely we realised that there was a connection between home engagement, home support, and what we actually discovered was that a lot of mums were worried about maths. They felt as though they weren’t very good at maths themselves, and this was actually coming across through the girls. We decided to start an after-school booster where we invited the mum’s of our ‘wobbly girls’ (as we had begun to affectionately call them) and used Learning by Questions which has online Question Sets that are scaffolded, so they guide learners through and build them up from basic understanding to full mastery. It also gives helpful feedback to every answer, so learners feel like they can have another go and get better. The parents came in and it was brilliant to see. At first they were saying things like “I can’t do these questions” “This is really difficult” “How are we going to do this?” But then the girls started to show their mums how to work out the maths and before long the mums were saying “I never could have done that when I was at school!”. > "Our mums came into school because they wanted to know how we do things and how hard it was. My mum isn’t really good at maths. My mum‘s confidence, I think it did grow. As the weeks grew by she kept shouting out the answers and everything! I was like: ‘ I thought this was my maths group not the parents maths group?!” ![alt text](/filestore/BlogImage/bbe8ce0b-0311-44e5-bc89-d3b73c438e3c/860e64a0-dc90-457e-9630-9bd9fc15bb05LBQ16.7.19-5167.jpg "") Another aspect of maths that affects home support is that many parents are not sure if they are helping their children the right way, or contradicting methods being taught in school. For those mums to have a go and see exactly what we do, in a way that’s really accessible, it broke down a few barriers and it shows in the results. That class achieved the best results we’d had in four years. Since the pandemic the Wobbly Girls Club has expanded to cover everyone and other subjects. It has never been more necessary to involve and include parents in learning and sometimes that means bringing them along too. An injection of confidence can go a long long way. _“The difference is the boys; they seem like they know everything and they are massive… like they show off because they think they can do everything and now, because we've had a boost of confidence the girls are like them and they say ‘Well we can do it, it’s not just you!’"_ ## Cherry Tree’s 4 P’s to help wobbly pupils{: .center } ### 1. Pre-teach topics with 'wobbly children' before the class. Having a grasp of the concept before the lesson will increase confidence in those children who tend to panic. ### 2. Provide opportunities for girls to work in small groups. This can be done using break out rooms remotely or using a platform like LbQ that allows children to answer questions privately. Creating a safe space to make mistakes and learn the power of a wrong answer is crucial. ### 3. Parents can be involved in their child's maths through joint boosters and workshops. You might be surprised how popular this can be! ### 4. Make it personal. By using cross-curricular approaches and telling young women about famous female mathematicians, girls can see how maths is relevant to them...and not just something for the boys.