Going great guns with sums;Numeracy

26th June 1998 at 01:00
One mathematics co-ordinator has teamed up with Arsenal and now pupils really enjoy kicking around numbers.

Problem solving may be a chore for many children, but when your favourite soccer club helps with the coaching it goes down a treat.

Last term, children from Ambler Primary School in Islington, north London, spent three afternoons doing mathematics with their local team, Arsenal. Kitted out with pencil and paper, a Year 5 maths set spent time measuring and drawing scale diagrams of the football pitch and adding up the cost of being a supporter who buys the strip and joins the Junior Gunners club.

They were also shown around the club by vice chairman David Deans and midfield player and England star David Platt.

The idea was the brainchild of Ambler's maths co-ordinator, Judith Gardner. "Although we are generally good at maths, we found attainment was patchy at key stage 2, particularly the use and application of maths. So I thought, since we already had strong links with the club, it was a good way of letting the children use maths in a context they could relate to."

National Power has sponsored the project, giving pound;650. The grant, arranged through the Islington Education Business Partnership, has been partly used to fund supply cover.

For FA Cup and league champions Arsenal, the schools link is part of a wider programme of community involvement.

The club works with all Islington primary schools to provide games coaching. And it has developed a programme to support five after-school homework clubs in the borough with a combination of literacy activities and football coaching.

It is working on a similar pilot scheme in Cheshunt funded by Hertfordshire Training and Enterprise Council.

Arsenal's sports development officer, Alan Sefton, says: "We wouldn't want to lose our focus on football coaching, which is our main strength. The more successful the club, the higher the profile, the more kids want to be associated with us - so we can do our bit to improve their life chances. The Arsenal literacy scheme will be applicable to schools up and down the country.

"So far as the maths goes, Arsenal's leg-up has proved invaluable," Judith Gardner says. "The project has enabled me to produce a whole school scheme of work and with the help of my colleagues maths problem solving is now widespread throughout the curriculum."

Stephen Hoare

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