Bristol Early Years Research and Development

Bristol Early Years Research
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Early Mathematics Research Hub

Latest news for maths CPD development in Bristol:

This year has been an exciting year for maths CPD development across Bristol.  Following on from the succcess of the nursery CPD opportunities, the first reception training was delivered.  This took place over 3 mornings.  We really enjoyed working with the teachers who were all keen to develop maths within their setting.  Many spoke of how it has impacted and changed their teaching practice.

Michelle McCarthy, SLE Early Years Maths,  April 2015

Read how a practitioner has implemented change in their setting after attending the Maths Leader's Course.


SLE profiles

Emma Butcher, SLE Early Years Maths

I have worked at Redcliffe Children’s Centre for six years since being an NQT within the maintained nursery class.   I have been involved in the creative food project, forest experience and developing the pedagogy for supporting young children’s mathematical enquiries.

Within my role as an SLE, I hope to collaborate with practitioners and teachers across all phase settings and open the pedagogy for early mathematics. I am always curious in children’s play, especially imaginary play. I am currently exploring the use of video as a lens to capture play and use as a stimulus for professional dialogue with others.

Get in touch with Emma

Joanne Morgan,  SLE Early Years Maths

Jo MorganI am a teacher at Rosemary Nursery School and Children’s Centre in St Judes, Bristol. I have been a teacher for 9 years – Nursery (2 years), Reception (5 years) and Year 1 (2 years). I recently completed a maths master’s module inspiring me to make a real difference to the teaching and learning of mathematics across Bristol. 

Emma Butcher and I run a professional development programme which aims to ‘open up the maths’ in early years settings. Research has shown that we are all able to become maths geniuses so with this innate ability we should enrich and encourage mathematical challenge and thinking.  

At Rosemary, we believe children learn maths through play. Play and mathematics have much in common; understanding connections, processes and possibilities. In play, children are encouraged to follow their interests; adults respond to play invitations by children and seek to stimulate the play by bringing new information, resources and by simply showing an interest. We strive to make maths 'real' and 'meaningful' by using 'real life' maths resources, for example clocks, tape measures and measuring spoons. We support children's thinking when making marks either with chalk, paint or pen and refer to this as 'children's mathematical graphics'. This means 'children's thinking on paper.' We believe that counting is the basis for addition and subtraction and we often count with the children to develop these skills.

Get in touch with Jo


Michelle McCarthy,  SLE Early Years Maths

I have been teaching at Ashton Gate Primary School for six years. During this time I have had the opportunity to work with children from nursery to year one.  I started teaching in Nursery, I then taught in year one for three years and I am now in my third year of teaching reception.  Prior to teaching I worked in a nursery with children 0-3.

 I have recently completed an Early Years Maths Masters module, completing this module at Redcliffe children’s centre really inspired me to reflect and develop my teaching.  Much of my teaching of Maths is now inspired from the children, where I now spend more time listening to the children’s maths and following their lead. I aim to ensure that the children I teach grow in self-confidence and belief about their mathematical abilities along with learning the skills needed to ensure that they become competent mathematicians.

 I was enthused to become an SLE due to my own personal Maths experiences and after completing the Masters module.  I hope that within my SLE role other teachers can be inspired like I was to allow the children to lead in their mathematics and ensure that young children across Bristol are engaged and enthusiastic about Maths.

Get in touch with Michelle


In the future, the mathematics SLEs hope to extend their work with local primary schools, supporting settings in improving perceptions of children's mathematics.

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