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Disorganised boys

Liz Henning is associate adviser for Manchester local education authority.

A former head of maths in Rochdale, she is a troubleshooter, giving support in behaviour management and maths teaching strategies to teachers in the city

"Some children are masters of avoiding work as a way of camouflaging a deeper problem, such as not wanting to be a failure, not wanting to show they don't understand. At a school level we can help children manage their organisation by not giving out too many assignments at the same time, by giving a homework timetable showing that certain subjects should be finished on certain nights.

"We can also break down big coursework projects into manageable steps, so they don't feel overwhelmed and give up. When I was head of maths we used to give out short homeworks every night, breaking down tasks into small steps so they didn't turn into mammoth, unmanageable exercises in the child's mind. Students derived huge benefit from this."

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