1stClass@Number 1 is a small-group intervention delivered by Teaching Assistants (TAs). It supports pupils struggling with numeracy in Year 2. It consists of around 30 half-hour lessons, delivered three times a week for 10 weeks in addition to normal mathematics instruction. Pupils involved in the intervention spend approximately 15 more hours on numeracy. The focus is on key aspects of number which can cause particular difficulties for children at this age.
TAs work from detailed lesson plans, which they can adapt based on what they learn from formative assessments. They help children to think and talk about their mathematics and develop metacognitive skills.
The TAs receive one full day and four half-days of training during the programme. The training covers effective feedback and develops the TAs’ own understanding of mathematics. TAs are supported by a link teacher in their school, often the maths lead or a senior member of staff. The link teacher also attends two half days of training. During implementation each school receives a support visit from a trainer.
As part of the Department for Education’s Accelerator Fund, the EEF is commissioning a number of trials of programmes that show promise for increasing pupil attainment.
There has been one previous EEF trial of 1stClass@Number 1. The result of that trial suggested that the children taking part in the intervention made two months’ additional progress in maths, on average, compared to other children. This trial will investigate more thoroughly the impact on children eligible for Free School Meals.
The programme will be evaluated by a team from the National Foundation of Educational Research (NFER) using a randomised controlled trial. The evaluation will be an effectiveness trial, meaning it will test a scalable model under everyday conditions in a large number of schools. The trial will measure the impact of 1stClass@Number 1, measuring mathematical outcomes via the Quantitative Reasoning Test. In addition, the impact evaluation will investigate pupil attitudes to mathematics as secondary outcomes.
The evaluation will also include an implementation and process evaluation, which will examine issues of fidelity and compliance, and the impact of the programme on the maths knowledge of and confidence of teaching assistants.
The evaluation report will be published in Spring 2025.