Maths and SEND and EAL Learners


Maths and SEND

At Wilbraham Primary School we believe that all children are capable of learning maths but acknowledge that some children face significant barriers to their attainment and achievement. These barriers are wide and varied but once children begin to fall behind, it can be very difficult for them to catch up. Our lesson structure, curriculum organisation and ethos ensure that all children’s needs are met.

Generally, children who are assessed at working within two years of age-related expectations learn alongside their peers. They take part in the daily maths lesson and progress through the curriculum at broadly the same pace as their peers. Teachers target questions to develop confidence and children’s misconceptions are used as learning opportunities.

Children working at pre-key stages work in smaller groups in a different learning space where their individual learning targets are addressed. These children will have an SEN support plan in place and may have an EHCP or be in the process of being assessed. They are supported through a multi-sensory approach to their learning based on the outcomes written in their SEN support plan or EHCP. Children with specific learning difficulties require further, targeted support and for their learning to be broken into even smaller steps, with extra time given to develop the key skills, concepts and understanding. They will be working on the curriculum from prior key stages or phases and the pace of their learning will differ from that of their peers.

Maths and EAL Learners

Although children with English as an additional language sometimes find it easier to learn Maths than other subjects (as symbols are often the same across languages), they still face significant barriers to their learning as acquisition of academic language can take considerably longer than social language.

We do not assume that they can’t do the maths.

Most common difficulties arise when faced with reasoning and problem solving, as these are typically presented as worded problems. The challenges they face are three-fold; at word level with technical, subject specific words and subject specialised words (e.g. words with dual meanings – whole, table, volume), at sentence level with unfamiliar sentence structures and at text level where problems are often presented as narrative in present tense.


Our approach to Maths at Wilbraham Primary School supports all EAL pupils in a variety of ways:

  • Teachers are supported by the EAL team when planning maths. Through informal meetings, staff can offer advice around adaptations which can be made for specific learners. This might include making adaptations such as including pre-teaching, the use of pictures or around the development of language structures.
  • Children are seated in carefully planned mixed attainment groups. Depending on individual needs, EAL pupils might be sat either with pupils who share the same home language, in groups with children who are good mathematical models or with pupils who are good language models to support their maths development.
  • The lesson structure is designed so it supports EAL learners in a number of ways.
    • Patterns and connections, links to learning and the hook all provide time for high quality opportunities for children to talk with, and to listen to, peers and adults before they are engaged in reading, writing or calculating.
    • Teachers allow children time to think before answering. Talk in groups allows children to rehearse feedback.
    • Throughout the lesson there are opportunities for children in the early stages of English acquisition to listen to, and then to join in with, choral counting or choral reading of STEM sentences.
    • In the hook, pupils tackle problems where they might not be familiar with all of the words and the teacher may model strategies specific to EAL learners, such as crossing out irrelevant information.
    • In the hook, pupils also practise common types of words problems together (e.g. altogether, how many more etc), developing understanding of maths specific sentence structures.
    • The hook provides opportunities for the teacher to model answers to questions, providing pupils with a writing frame.
    • Pupils are encouraged to use manipulatives; these provide opportunities to demonstrate reasoning and problem solving, whilst not necessarily having the words to describe or explain what they are doing.
    • Pupils are encouraged to demonstrate and explain their reasoning using answers modelled by peers or support adults.
    • Throughout the lesson, as a class, pupils will explore reasons for errors and misconceptions.


Contact Us

Wilbraham Primary School

Platt Lane,
Manchester, M14 7EB

0161 224 3900
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Please address all enquiries to our Principal Andrew Marchant
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Aspire Educational Trust
School Games Gold 2018-2019
Ofsted Graded Good

We Want Children At Wilbraham Primary School To Be..., happy, polite,
confident, creative and unique

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