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Bags of problems

Everyone's heard of story sacks; they use them in classrooms all over the country. But maths sacks? They're a different proposition.

Not at Beck primary school on the Shiregreen estate, part of an education action zone on the north side of the city where there is a strong tradition of working with parents. Nearly two years ago Adrienne Jobson, a reception teacher, realised that if she wanted to boost pupils' maths, she had to improve the calculating ability of their parents.

"If the parents are scared of maths, then that transmits to the children and they become scared of the subject, too," she explains.

With a pound;1,000 grant from the zone, she bought materials, cajoled a gang of 20 - some reluctant - parents into helping, then started a production line.

Nearly two years later, there are 17 different sacks available, all full of games, challenges and activities. They cover various themes: shopping and money, shapes, length, measuring etc. The idea is that maths should become fun and overcome the worries of both adults and youngsters alike.

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